May 10th concert features Matthew Barnson’s three violin sonatas
24 Apr 2012
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“His work is fresh and arises from a distinct personality.”
– San Francisco Classical Voice

The Yale School of Music presents a Doctor of Musical Arts recital featuring the music of Matthew Barnson on Thursday, May 10, 2012. This performance was rescheduled from January 26th. The program will feature Barnson’s three sonatas for violin and piano, as well as a work for solo piano.

The concert opens with Shattered Lines/Points of Horizon, composed in 2009. Barnson writes: “I began Shattered Lines/Points of Horizon as an abstract fantasy on French Baroque ornamentation, but the work evolved into what a listener might hear as a series of six or seven large-scale, highly elaborated ornaments.”

This piece will be performed by Taka Kigawa, whom the New York Times called a “formidable pianist [with] the technique and imagination to clarify the structure and musical syntax of difficult works.”

Barnson’s Violin Sonata No. 1, written in 2008, takes inspiration from the composers Berio and Britten. Listen to a recording of the sonata on Barnson’s website. It will be performed by the Orfeo Duo: Vita Wallace, violin, and Ishmael Wallace, piano.

“Fixity and motion were my two principal concerns in composing my second violin sonata,” writes Barnson of his two-movement piece from 2009. “If my piece were a city, it would have three subway lines that intersect in various places that allow the music to transfer and travel smoothly in various directions.” This piece will be performed by violinist Katie Hyun and Jessica Osborne, both graduate of the Yale School of Music. After Osborne’s debut with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Post praised her as a pianist “with a refreshing mellowness and poetic touch.”.

Jessica Osborne and violinist Arthur Moeller will perform Barnson’s third sonata, written last year, to conclude the concert.

The performance is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. For more information, call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158 or visit

About the Composer

The music of Matthew Barnson has been celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has been featured at the ISCM World New Music Days in Stuttgart and New York’s MATA and Sonic Festivals, and at the Aspen Music Festival, Centre Acanthes, Ostrava Days, and June in Buffalo. In 2002, he became the youngest recipient of a Barlow Commission, and he received a second in 2007. Other honors include awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Benjamin Franklin Fellowship (UPenn), and the Aaron Copland Prize. He has studied at the Eastman School of Music, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Yale School of Music. Barnson’s vocal works have been performed by Erin Morley, Ian Howell, and Nicole Cabell, and by Seraphic Fire and the New York Virtuoso Singers. Peter Erös, Sarah Hicks and Jacque Mercier have conducted his instrumental music; the Arditti and JACK Quartets play his three string quartets; and Third Coast Percussion commissioned his percussion quartet. Barnson is the chair of the theory and composition department at the Third Street Music School Settlement and is on the faculty of Rocky Ridge Music Center.

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