Polyphony Arts is delighted to welcome award-winning composer Matthew Rooke. Born in England, of Scottish and Gabonese descent, Matthew Rooke’s works span an eclectic and diverse range of forms and creative partners, crossing the worlds of opera, classical music, contemporary jazz, rock and traditional music.
Matthew Rooke’s path through music followed two parallel worlds. In classical music, Matthew began as a double-bassist. At the same time, he began playing electric bass and guitar in rock and jazz bands. At the age of 17, he won a Cleo Laine Award which enabled him to study contemporary jazz with many of the leading practitioners on the scene, later winning the Abe Laboriel Bass Scholarship and a Professional Music Award at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
As a composer, Matthew’s wide-ranging catalogue of works includes two operas, orchestral and chamber music, and has produced new performing editions for reduced forces — from Debussy to Monteverdi. Beyond classical music, Matthew has produced scores for leading theatre companies in the UK, including the National Theatre; orchestrations for films, such as Outlaw King; and worked closely with acclaimed Scottish film composer Jim Sutherland on several projects as an orchestrator and musical collaborator. Throughout his busy career, Matthew has also joined the Arts Council (UK) as lead officer for establishing the African and Caribbean and Asian music circuits.
Matthew is an active opera producer, winner of five-star reviews in the national press, as well as a theatre director and play-writer. The past decade has seen a particular focus on his operatic works and classical music.
It’s a pleasure to have you with us, Matthew!