Matthew Kaner (born 1986) is a composer based in London whose works are performed and broadcast widely in the UK and abroad. His music has been described as “glittering… sparking electricity…” (Guardian 2022), “forlornly exquisite” (New Statesman 2016), and has received praise for its “orchestral imagination and poetic word-setting” (Bachtrack 2022), its “long and sinuous lines” (Telegraph 2013) and “darker and wilder energy, which seems to be entirely personal.” (HK Interlude 2016)
Matthew’s 2022 BBC Proms commission, Pearl, for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and baritone Roderick Williams, setting medieval poetry in modern translation by Simon Armitage, was described as “spine-tingling” (Guardian 4*) and “a fascinating response to this transcendental text.” (Bachtrack 4*) His debut solo album, comprising chamber works performed by Guy Johnston, Mark Simpson, Benjamin Baker, Daniel Lebhardt and the Goldfield Ensemble was released by Delphian Records in November 2022.
His 2018 collaboration with Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, a reworking of the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel for ensemble and narrator, was acclaimed as “an all too timely reminder of some children’s living, waking, starving nightmare” (Guardian 4*). In 2016, Matthew was the BBC Radio 3 Embedded Composer (in association with Sound and Music) for the duration of the station’s 70th anniversary celebrations, during which he wrote 14 works for repeated broadcasts, for performers including Guy Johnston, Mark Simpson, the BBC Singers, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Trio Isimsiz and many others.
Additional highlights include commissions from the London Symphony Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Philharmonia, Benjamin Baker and the Northern Chords Festival Orchestra, Siglo de Oro and King’s College London Chapel Choir. His music has been performed at various venues in the UK and abroad, including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican, Seiji Ozawa Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, the Purcell Room, LSO St. Luke’s and Snape Maltings. His work has featured in the BBC Proms, and Aldeburgh, Spitalfields, Norfolk & Norwich, Cheltenham, Lucerne, and Victoria International Music Festivals.
Matthew has been a Professor of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama since 2013. In 2015, he was the recipient of a Roche Young Composers’ commission for the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra. He was a winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize in 2013; he was the Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow in Composition at Tanglewood in 2012. He studied music at King’s College London and composition with Julian Anderson and Richard Baker at the Guildhall, and has been mentored by composers including Oliver Knussen, Wolfgang Rihm, Unsuk Chin, Colin Matthews and John Harbison.