“I wish more people would think about music the way Matthew Barley does” The Times (London)
Cello playing is at the centre of Matthew Barley’s career, while his musical world has virtually no geographical, social or stylistic boundaries.
He has created a unique international career full of improvisation, new music, cutting-edge computer technology, collaboration with jazz and Indian musicians, education, and arranging – but always with cello playing at the heart.
He has played with some of the finest orchestras (Frankfurt Radio Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, BBC Concert Orchestras, Czech Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus), in some of the greatest concert halls in over 50 countries worldwide. He has given premieres by major composers (MacMillan, Dusapin, Larcher, Panufnik) and appeared on TV and radio worldwide.
A recent premiere was a new concerto by his step-son Misha Mullov-Abbado, fusing jazz and improvisation with the BBC Concert Orchestra. He records for Signum Classics in the UK, his latest disc being Tavener’s The Protecting Veil. A new multi-track cello album is also in the works, using Matthew’s new-found technical expertise.
A collaboration with Tenebrae choir in 2021/22 will include solo works for cello and electronics by composers such as Joby Talbot, Gabriel Prokofiev and Jonathan Harvey, works by Gesualdo and Victoria for choir and a new commission for cello and choir by Tansy Davies.
Matthew is also a keen improviser and has brought this skill to orchestras in the form of creative workshops for orchestral musicians in the UK, Sweden, Germany and Finland.
Matthew studied at the London Guildhall School and the Moscow Conservatoire. He counts himself blessed to be able to dream up unusual projects and (usually) make them happen, and also pursue his own personal dreams of spending lots of time with family and in nature, especially in the mountains of North Wales. He lives in London with his wife, violinist Viktoria Mullova.