Brooklyn-based composer James Matheson (b. 1970) has rapidly emerged as one of the most distinctive, vital, and creative musical voices of his generation. Among his commissions are works for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Chicago and Albany Symphony Orchestras, Carnegie Hall and the Borromeo String Quartet. The American Academy of Arts and Letters honored him in December, 2011, with the Charles Ives Living, an award of $100,000 a year for 2 years (2012-2014).
Current commissions include new works for the St. Lawrence String Quartet (to be premiered in February 2014), soprano Kiera Duffy and pianist Roger Vignoles (February 2013), the Los Angeles Philharmonic (spring 2015), Kyo-Shin-An Arts’ James Schlefer and the Orchestra of the Swan (fall 2014), pianist Nadia Shpachenko (March 2013), and Swarthmore College for its Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2014.
In September of 2009, James joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Director of the LAP’s innovative Composer Fellowship Program. Recent projects include Violin Concerto, co-commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, True South, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Four Fanfares (with Assorted Nightmares), commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Borromean Rings, commissioned by the Cheswatyr Foundation for the Borromeo String Quartet and pianist Judith Gordon. He is currently Artistic Director of Neightborhood Classics at P.S. 142, a concert series that raises money for one of New York’s most underserved schools through concerts aimed at promoting classical music in the local community.
In addition to the Ives Living, Matheson has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Bogliasco and Sage Foundations, ASCAP, and the Robbins Prize. From 2005-2007, Matheson was Executive Director of the MATA Festival of New Music in New York, which commissions and performs the work of young composers who are making their entry into professional musical life. Matheson has held residencies at Yaddo and the Liguria Study Center, and has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.