Harpsichordist, organist, director, conductor.
British harpsichordist, early organist, and director Matthew Brown is in demand as a continuo player, recitalist, repetiteur, vocal coach and conductor across London and beyond. A graduate of the University of Bristol and currently on track to graduate with an Artist Masters in Performance (MPerf) from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in summer 2023, Matthew has studied under various leading harpsichordists such as Carole Cerasi, James Johnstone, and Colin Booth, and was generously funded by the Tobacco Pipe Makers’ Company Scholarship in his Masters studies.
Matthew’s continuo playing forms the basis of his varied performing career, and he has appeared across the UK, Canada and Europe as a collaborative harpsichordist and organist. His concert appearances and continuo work have seen him collaborate with groups such as the Academy of Ancient Music, Baroquestock, Istante Collective, Ensemble Il Groviglio, Victoria Baroque Players, and Southern Sinfonia, under a variety of conductors including David Hill MBE, Eamonn Dougan, Julian Perkins, and Simon Chalk. His orchestral playing experience includes most major concert works, and a variety of lesser-known pieces and new commissions. Matthew’s concert work has included a number of major venues and festivals, such as Milton Court Concert Hall, the Barbican Centre, the London International Festival of Early Music, the Deal Festival, and performances on the Cobbe Collection of Keyboard Instruments at Hatchlands Park. He is a current Young Associate of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with a number of engagements with the orchestra over the course of 2023.
Matthew is particularly at home as a continuo player in chamber music, with experience accompanying and collaborating with a wide variety of instruments and groups. He is a regular harpsichordist for Bellot Ensemble, a dynamic young chamber ensemble which performs a varied repertoire from early Italian virtuoso violin music to Haydn symphonies, and appears with them in concert and on recording. He enjoys ongoing duo and chamber relationships with many musicians, such as violinist Melanie Gruwez, with whom he performs violin/harpsichord duo repertoire, and lutenist Kristiina Watt, with whom he is embarking on a major project to perform and record the continuo-accompanied theorbo toccatas of G. G. Kapsberger. His chamber repertoire includes a wide variety of music from the early 17th century to the high baroque, including major composers such as Corelli, Telemann, Bach, Handel, Marini, Merula, and more.
Fostering a special interest in vocal repertoire and opera, Matthew frequently works as a vocal coach, repetiteur and opera continuo player. His work in opera has seen him collaborate with the Cambridge Handel Opera Company, Ryedale Festival Opera, Baroquestock/Istante Collective, and Guildhall Opera, covering a variety of Baroque opera repertoire from Monteverdi to Handel. He has coached and prepared singers in collaboration with Chris Hopkins, Julian Perkins, and Eamonn Dougan, and acted as rehearsal accompanist and continuo player on a variety of productions. He also enjoys an ongoing collaboration with stage director and renowned Handel academic Dionysios Kyropoulos, with whom he has worked on Dionysios’ research into historical stagecraft and acting, with a focus on pedagogy for modern singers. In 2024, Matthew and Dionysios will teach together at Benslow Music, with a course intended for singers to explore acting techniques in historical repertoire.
Matthew’s interest in vocal repertoire led him in January 2022 to create The Queenes Chappell, a historically informed solo-voice consort of which he is Artistic Director. Engaged as Artist-in-Residence at St Mary le Strand Church in central London, the group presents concerts of Renaissance and Baroque repertoire, with members drawn from the very best of London’s young solo and consort singers, who are otherwise found with organisations such as the Monteverdi Choir, Gabrieli Consort, Amsterdam Baroque Choir, and Tenebrae. Their inaugural season has been a considerable success, and the group is planning for several upcoming performances, recordings and engagements. More information about The Queenes Chappell can be found at our website here.
As a solo harpsichordist, Matthew has received acclaim for his sensitive and engaging playing. In 2023, Matthew was the First Prize winner at the Lewis Memorial Prize competition, held at the Royal Academy of Music, with a concert of keyboard works from Musica Britannica editions. He has appeared across the UK and in Canada as a recitalist on the harpsichord and the organ, and holds a particular interest in the early English virginalist repertoire. He is currently preparing a solo programme entitled “mr w birde of the chapell”, a celebration of William Byrd in his 400th anniversary year, with recitals to be given in late 2023.
Matthew serves as Organist and Director of Music at St Mary’s Stoke D’Abernon, where he presides over the specialist baroque organ built by Danish company Frobenius in 1975, and a flourishing music department which focuses on Renaissance and Baroque liturgical repertoire. He has also worked as an editor of early music, collaborating with the English publishing company Soundboard to publish an edition of Johann Mattheson’s Die Wohlklingende Fingersprache, released in January 2021 to a warm reception. A 70 page volume of keyboard music, comprising 12 fugues and assorted dance music with a scholarly preface in English and German, this effort replaces an outdated earlier edition by Breitkopf and Härtel, and represents a formidable tool for players, researchers and academics. The edition is available for purchase here.
I own a fine harpsichord built in 2004 by the English harpsichord maker Colin Booth, which is available for concert hire. It is a beautiful single-strung Italian harpsichord after Italian models of the 16th and early 17th century, built in cedar of Lebanon and spruce wood and strung in brass. The compass is GG/BB - d’, and transposes between A415-A440. The instrument produces a warm and resonant, but nevertheless brilliant and striking tone.The instrument is best suited for chamber music and solo music of appropriate repertoire, given its small size, but would certainly also be useful in larger ensembles as a second harpsichord or part of a large continuo section.Hiring the instrument generally includes delivery, pre-rehearsal and pre-concert tuning, but this can be adjusted as necessary for individual requirements.Please get in contact to discuss your individual hiring needs.
Please do get in contact with inquiries about performing, collaboration, instrument hire or tuning.I can be contacted by email: [email protected], and at the links below.