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Matthew Schellhorn

Matthew Schellhorn


Selected as a ‘Talent to Watch’ by BBC Music Magazine, and described as ‘a rising star’ (BBC Radio 3) and ‘one of Britain’s most exciting young pianists’ (Classic FM), Matthew Schellhorn has a growing international career, which in recent seasons has seen recitals in Europe, Ireland and North America.

Born in Yorkshire in 1977, Matthew Schellhorn studied at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester and the University of Cambridge with David Hartigan, Maria Curcio, Ryszard Bakst and Peter Hill, and later in Paris with Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen. He has been guest soloist at several international festivals, including the Three Choirs Festival, the Windsor Festival, and the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts. He has given performances in many major venues throughout the UK, including Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre. He has performed live numerous times on BBC Radio 3, and in 2005 he was featured on Classic FM’s The Guest List. As a concerto soloist he has worked with numerous conductors, including Jane Glover, Peter Stark, Russell Keable, David Hill, Andrew Fardell, Stephen Cleobury and Baldur Brönnimann, performing with orchestras including the London Mozart Players at St John’s, Smith Square, London. 

Matthew Schellhorn is a prominent performer of new music, with several works written for, or dedicated to, him. He has given numerous world and territorial premieres. During 2008, he was a Park Lane Group Featured Young Artist, which led to performing in premieres of works by Peter Wiegold and Nicola LeFanu at the Southbank Centre. In 2009, to celebrate the Haydn bicentenary, he commissioned a set of six pieces from Tim Watts, Michael Zev Gordon, Cecilia McDowall, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Colin Riley, and Jeremy Thurlow; the set, called Homage to Haydn, received its world premiere in the 2009 Cambridge Music Festival and was published later in Muso magazine. 2012 has seen the UK premiere of The shadow of the blackbird by David Bruce in Bath. 

Matthew Schellhorn is also a successful collaborative artist. Recent collaborations include with the Ossian Ensemble (in the newly established Kew Music Festival and the Sounds New Festival in Canterbury) and with the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, bassist Malachy Robinson and saxophonist Cathal Roche. His new ensemble for ondes Martenot and piano, Wavetrain, toured the UK and Ireland in late 2011; in January 2012 they took part in the 9th ‘Semaine du son’ in Dunkerque. Matthew Schellhorn also features on Outside, debut album of UK-based Kazakh violinist Aisha Orazbayeva (Nonclassical NONCLSS013). 

Matthew Schellhorn’s performances of the music of Olivier Messiaen have been met with superlative critical approval. His acclaimed solo recital at London’s Southbank Centre in 2006 confirmed his status as the pre-eminent Messiaen interpreter of his generation in Britain. Following his performances at the age of twenty of Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus in Cambridge, he was invited in 2002 to perform at the Messiaen International Conference, where Christopher Dingle of BBC Music Magazine described one solo recital as ‘a cherished memory for those privileged enough to experience it’. The most significant endorsement comes from Messiaen’s wife and dedicatee, who has described Matthew as ‘an excellent pianist and an excellent exponent’, and has praised his playing as ‘in every way wonderful … accuracy, rhythm, sonority, technique, emotion … everything is played as Messiaen wished it.’ During the 2008 Messiaen centenary, Matthew Schellhorn was involved in numerous performances of Messiaen’s music. In the UK, he was guest soloist in performances of Trois petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine under Stephen Cleobury and Turangalîla-Symphonie under Baldur Brönnimann. He also took part in the ‘Festival Messiaen au Pays de la Meije’ in France. His new disc with the Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Messiaen: Chamber Works (Signum Classics SIGCD126) received positive reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, including an ‘AllMusic Classical Editors Favourite’ award.

Forthcoming plans include commissions from Gráinne Mulvey and Nicola LeFanu. Future CD releases include discs of chamber works by Patrick Nunn and of Stations by Irish composer Ian Wilson.

In 2012, Matthew Schellhorn was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


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'Searching intelligence and magnificent technique. His readings, always vivid and dramatic, were deeply compelling.'  Musical Opinion

'Schellhorn was in his element, letting the pedalled chords float and calibrating the interplay between darkness and light with fastidious care.'The Independent

'His keyboard performances fascinate and enliven the ear and mind.' Fanfare

'... not a nuance was left unexpressed, not a silence given less than its due importance, not an emotional pivot-point neglected.' MusicWeb International


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