Matthew Harris lives and works in New York City. He studied at The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory and Harvard University. He has taught at Fordham University and Kingsborough College (CUNY) and in 1988 founded Harris Musiciology. He has had orchestral works performed by The Minnesota, Houston, Florida, Jacksonville, Chattanooga, Spokane and Modesto Symphony Orchestras; chamber works by the Lark Quartet, New York New Music Ensemble and League-ISCM; and vocal works by Sheryl Studer and Faith Esham.
New York City Opera presented scenes from his opera Tess on their American Composers Showcase series. Three Arias from Tess was premiered by The Lake George Opera Festival and Three Choruses from Tess was premiered at Carnegie Hall. His highly popular choral works have been commissioned or premiered by leading choruses such as the Dale Warland Singers, Phoenix Bach Choir, Los Angeles Chamber Singers, Western Wind, and Cantori New York, and sung by countless school & community choirs across America. A Child's Christmas in Wales was commissioned by Harmonium (NJ) and is performed throughout the US and the UK.
Other commissions have come from the Fromm Foundation/Aspen Music Festival (where he was a Composer-in-Residence), Verdehr Trio, Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Haydn-Mozart Orchestra, American Composers Forum, Schubert Club and US-Mexico Cultural Fund. The National Endowment for the Arts twice awarded him a Composer Fellowship. Other fellowships and grants have come from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Tanglewood, Meet The Composer, the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. He has won composition awards from the Chautauqua Chamber Singers, Georges Enesco Foundation, Society for New Music, National Association of Composers, Musicians Accord, Taubman Institute, ASCAP and BMI.
His newest opera, The Mark of Cain, with a libretto by Terry Quinn, will be premiered by
Chelsea Opera in November 2012 during their 2012-2013 season.
A Child's Christmas in Wales is a prose work by the Welsh writer Dylan Thomas. Originally emerging from a piece written for radio, the poem was recorded by Thomas in 1952. The story is an anecdotal retelling of a Christmas from the view of a young child and is a romanticised version of Christmases past, portraying a nostalgic and simpler time. It is one of Thomas' most popular works
A Child's Christmas in Wales - Press Release
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’ charming and ageless story, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, will be sung by the Chelsea Opera Ensemble in a four-part setting by NYC composer Matthew Harris with other holiday selections in the first Chelsea Opera presents concert of its 8th season.
The Chelsea Opera Ensemble is comprised of past principal and ensemble singers, led by chorus master Audrey Saint-Gil. Also on the program is the single vocal solo from Howard Blake’s orchestration of the popular animated story, The Snowman. Singing “Walking in the Air” will be Chelsea Opera’s 2009 Amahl, Benjamin Perry Wenzelberg who this summer was a featured singer in New York City's Shakespeare in the Park’s Measure for Measure. Only 11 years of age, Benjamin has already performed with The Met and NYCO’s children’s choruses, and attends Juilliard, where he is writing his first opera! This concert will also feature the Chelsea Opera Chamber Orchestra conducted by Maestro Carmine Aufiero.
One performance only will be given on December 16 at 8:00 pm at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church 120 West 69th Street, between Broadway and Columbus, Manhattan, New York. Tickets are $25 general admission and $20 students/seniors purchased in advance (or $30 and $25 at the door). Children under 10 will be admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets may be purchased on-line (link through www.ChelseaOpera.org) or by calling 1-866-811-4111. T his production is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the Friends of Chelsea Opera. For more information, visit www.ChelseaOpera.org or call 212-260-1796.
When Leonarda Priore and Lynne Hayden-Findlay first heard the opening measures of composer Matthew Harris’ cantata, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, their eyes flooded with tears. Although written with a modern tonality, there is a lush and opulent color to the four-part (and sometimes 7-part) writing, reminiscent of the best SATB writing for English (or Welsh) hymns. Based on the Dylan Thomas story, the seven movements are a fond remembrance of family, food, snowfalls, presents – both useful and useless, wild and crazy relatives and even a house on fire! Each movement has its own color, musically interprets the text perfectly, and promises to melt your heart.