Friday, September 17th, 2010

Roots and Reeds » Matthew Welch

Matthew Welch, bagpipes (New York)
Original Compositions and Improvisations for Solo Bagpipe

The music of Matthew Welch (b.1976) stems from a remarkably multi-faceted foundation. Matthew holds two university degrees in Experimental Music Composition, a BFA from Simon Fraser University (1999), and an MA form Wesleyan University (2001), studying with noted composers such as Barry Truax, Rodney Sharman, Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton. His compositions range from traditional-like bagpipe tunes to electronic pieces, improvisation strategies and fully notated works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles and orchestra. He has also taken part in a number of compositional collaborations with Indonesian Gamelan composer-performers in Bali and Java, performed in free improvisation contexts with numerable New York City improvisors, and played with art rockers in the Brooklyn underground. Since 2002, Mr. Welch has been running and composing for his own eclectic ensemble, Blarvuster, whose repertoire the New York Times has claimed as "border-busting music; original and catchy." Mr. Welch has recorded for labels such as Tzadik, Mode, and Cantaloupe.

Matthew Welch

As a virtuoso of the Highland Bagpipe, Matthew Welch studied traditional music with Gold Medalist masters such as Colin MacLellan, Jack Lee, Angus MacLellan and Andrew Wright. Matthew also was a member of the four - time World Champion Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, winning with them in 1999 and 2001. As an ambassador for the instrument, Matthew has premiered a number of new compositions written for bagpipes by contemporary composers. This involvement with a more diverse musical context has led him into an expansion of his instrumental array to include alternative bagpipe configurations, accordion and various saxophones. Indonesian Gamelan percussion music, both Javanese and more recently, Balinese, have been another focus of Matthew’s, which he has pursued throughout his academic career, with the New York Indonesian Consulate gamelans, and in Bali. Matthew appears on Anthony Braxton’s 10 [Solo Bagpipe] Compositions, 2000, and two compact discs of his own music, Ceol Nua (Leo 336, 2002) highlighting orchestral and chamber works and Hag at the Churn (Newsonic 33, 2003), a collection of electronic concoctions. The eclectic breadth of his interests in Celtic music, gamelan, minimalism, improvisation and rock also converge in compositional amalgams for his New York based ensemble, Blarvuster. A recording of his most recent compositions, “Dream Tigers,” was released on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records’ Composer Series in March of 2005.

"A composer possessed of both rich imagination and the skill to bring his fancies to life" Time Out New York