Matthew-John Knights

Composer

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about.

Matthew-John Knights is a composer and pianist who lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His music has been described as "Varèse on cocaine" (Mark Takeshi McGregor, 2022).

 

He graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2017 with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, during which he studied with Andrew Tunis. In 2020 he graduated from the University of Ottawa with a masters in composition, working under supervision of Kelly-Marie Murphy. Matthew-John is currently enrolled in the DMA program at the University of British Columbia, where he is studying with Dorothy Chang and Jocelyn Morlock. 

 

While still in the early stages of his career, Matthew-John has already begun to make a name for himself, winning several important prizes. His piece, “Blessed by Beauty and Rage,” won the Thirteen Strings Call for Scores in 2019, and was premiered in June of that year under the baton of Kevin Mallon. With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Matthew-John created “Adherent; Unyielding” for violin and piano, which was premiered in July of 2019 by its dedicatee, Gregory Lewis, collaborating with pianist Frédéric Lacroix. In January of 2020, Matthew-John's orchestral debut took place with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, at the Winnipeg New Music Festival, under the baton of Julian Pellicano. In 2020, Matthew-John received a SOCAN chamber music award for his piece “Distorted Reality, Imaginatively Amended,” written in 2019 while he studied at Orford Music Academy with Véronique Lacroix and Dorothy Chang. Further studies at Orford included working with Ana Sokolović, Jean Lesage, Nicolas Gilbert.

 

In 2019, Matthew-John worked with Standing Wave Ensemble under the tutelage of Jocelyn Morlock, Edward Top, and Rodney Sharman. This project culminated in a new piece, which premiered in October of 2019. Standing Wave again performed this work, “Chromatic Aberrations,” in January 2020 at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival.

 

Recent commissions include “Out of the Darkness, Into the Soundscape,” for flutist Mark Takeshi McGregor, director of the Queer Arts Festival in Vancouver, premiered in February 2022. Upcoming commissions include “Phoenix Rising,” a double percussion concerto to be premiered in June 2022, and a work for bass clarinetist AK Coupe, written as part of Turning Point Ensemble’s 1+1+1 project entitled “Abstraction". For a June 2023 performance, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has commissioned a new orchestral work from him.

 

Matthew-John has a special interest in creating theatrical works, that is, music that involves physical movement/staging. His piece, “Shadow Figures,” for two oboes was played in March 2022 at the Sonic Boom Festival in Vancouver, and features movement of the oboists to tell a more immersive story. “Abstraction” for solo bass clarinet will also feature staging in an upcoming music video project with Turning Point Ensemble. His thesis, a part of his DMA program at the University of British Columbia, will also heavily feature movement and staging in a work for mezzo-soprano, flute/alto flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano and mixed percussion. Stay tuned!

works.

11 Opposing Points of View on a Highly Political Topic (2018)

Clarinet in B Flat, Violin, Cello, Piano and Vibraphone

for Orford Musique

approx. 5min 30sec

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A Brilliant Vibration (2019)

Bass-Baritone and Piano

approx. 4min 30sec

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AB S T   R    A     C      T       I        O        N (2022)

Solo Bass Clarinet and Staging

Commissioned by Turning Point Ensemble for AK Coupe

approx. 5min

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Adherent; Unyielding (2019)

Violin and Piano

Funded by the Canada Council for the Arts for Gregory Lewis

approx. 11min

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Ageyev (2018, revised 2020)

Versions for unaccompanied violin, viola, and cello

approx. 6min 30sec

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Blessed by Beauty and Rage (2018)

String Orchestra

Winner of Thirteen Strings Orchestra Call for Scores

approx. 6min

---

Boys Don't Cry (2021)

Solo Piano

Commissioned by Liam Gibb

approx. 10min

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Chromatic Aberrations (2019)

Alto Flute/Flute

Clarinet in B Flat/Bass Clarinet in B Flat

Violin

Cello

Percussion (Marimba, cymbal, vibraphone)

Piano

Performed in Vancouver Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival 2020

approx. 10min

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Distorted Reality/Imaginatively Amended (2019)

Alto Saxophone

Harp

Percussion (Marimba, Chimes, and Bass Drum)

Winner of SOCAN Chamber Music Award

For Orford Musique

approx. 9min

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Energy Always (2019)

Solo Cello

approx. 4min

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Hearing Voices (2020)

Saxophone Quartet

approx. 15min

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I, Psychosis (2021)

Song Cycle for Soprano and Piano

approx. 15min

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Metamorphosis (2021)

Violin and Piano

Commissioned by Liam Gibb

approx. 5min

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Out of the Darkness, Into the Soundscape (2022)

Unaccompanied Alto Flute

Commissioned by Mark Takeshi McGregor and the Queer Arts Festival

approx. 8min

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Phoenix Rising (2022)

Double Percussion Concerto (Full Orchestra)

Commissioned by Langley Fine Arts School

approx. 8min 30sec

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Reflections (2020)

Solo viola

approx. 7min

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Queen of Darkness (2018)

Staged Song Cycle for Mezzo-Soprano, Viola, and Piano
1 - Winter is the Coldest Season (approx. 4min)
2 - So Down I Swam… (approx. 5min 45sec)
3 - When I Began (approx. 4min 30sec)
4 - The Meeting (approx. 3min 30sec)
5 - Maybe this Time (approx. 7min 45sec)
6 - Spend/Uncork/Drink (approx. 6min 15sec)

approx. 35min

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A Quiver and a Roar (2021)

Wind Quintet + Piano

Commissioned by Ensemble Phoenix

approx. 15min

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The Scandal (2021)

Piano Trio

approx. 5min

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Serenade for Winds (2021)

Wind Quintet

approx. 5min 45sec

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Shadow Figures (2021)

Two Oboes + Staging

Performed in Sonic Boom 2022 by Gerónimo Mendoza and Emma Ringrose 

approx. 6min

---

Shadows/Whispers (2020)

String Quartet

approx. 10min

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The Soundscape (1) (2021)

Soprano + Piano

With text by R. Murray Schafer

approx. 4min

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The Soundscape (2) (2021)

Soprano + Piano

With text by R. Murray Schafer

approx. 3min

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"There's Someone In My Head, But Its Not Me"  (2021)

Solo Piano

approx. 21min

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Threnody for the Damned (2021)

Orchestra (2222, 4231, Timpani + 2 perc. Violin 1 and 2, Viola, Cello, Double Bass)

approx. 8min

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Two Lines (Converging) (2021)

Orchestra (2222, 4230, Timp + 1 perc, Violin 1 and 2, Viola, Cello, Double Bass)

approx. 10min

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Vibrant/Beige (2017)

Solo Piano

approx. 13min

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Voici les larmes avec lesquelles je pleure pour toi (2019)

Orchestra (2222, 4221, Timpani + 1 perc. Violins 1 and 2, Viola, Cello, Double Bass)

Performed by Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Winnipeg New Music Festival

approx. 5min 30sec

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Water States: Ebb/Flow (2020)

Piano and Percussion (crotales and marimba)

Commissioned by SHHH!! Ensemble

approx. 17min
 

 

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