is internationally known as cellist, improviser, arranger, music animateur, and Artistic Director of Between The Notes. His musical world is focused on projects that connect people in different ways, blurring the boundaries that never really existed between genres and people.
As a soloist and chamber musician he has performed in over 50 countries, including appearances with the BBC Scottish (Volkov) and Philharmonic (Hazlewood), the Melbourne Symphony (Tortelier), New Zealand Symphony (Tan Dun), Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Kremerata Baltica, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic,Royal Scottish National (Alsop), and London Chamber Orchestra. He has performed at festivals in Lucerne, Schleswig-Holstein, Bonn-Beethovenfest, Hong Kong, Lanaudiere, Abu Dhabi, Krakow, City of London and in recent seasons has performed at some of the world’s great concert halls: London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Kumho Hall in Korea, Pablo Casals Hall in Tokyo, The Rudolfinium In Prague, and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. A key aspect of his recitals is mixing repertoire in unusual ways, pairing Bach suites with jazz and improvisation. He is particularly interested in music with electronics, having commissioned works from many composers including Dai Fujikura, DJ Bee, John Metcalfe and Jan Bang.
In 2005 he toured Brett Dean’s ballet score One of the Kind (for solo-on-stage-cello and electronics) with the Netherlands Dans Theatre; in 2010 with the Basel Ballet and in 2012 with Lyon Ballet. Collaboration – whether chamber music or with different styles of music – is an enduring passion, and, amongst others, Matthew has worked with Matthias Goerne, The Labeque Sisters, Martin Frost, Viviane Hagner, Thomas Larcher, Kit Armstrong, Amjad Ali Khan, Julian Joseph, Django Bates, Ross Daly, Talvin Singh, Jon Lord, Sultan Khan, Kathryn Tickell and Nitin Sawhney.
In 1997 Matthew Barley founded Between The Notes, a performance and education group that has appeared at the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Opera House (with the Royal Ballet) and the International Symposium of Contemporary Music in Hong Kong. In 2005 the group took the lead role in a devised work, Invisible Lines, which culminated in a live-television performance at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms, alongside players from the BBC Symphony Orchestra. More recently BTN took centre stage for the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Köln Philharmonie as soloists with the Gürzenich Orchestra under Markus Stenz.
A major project called The Peasant Girl with his wife, Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova has seen over 40 performances worldwide. The programme features Matthew’s arrangements of gypsy and jazz as well as Bartok and Kodaly and has been recorded for CD and DVD on Onyx Classics. 2007 saw Matthew’s debut on television as the Music Director of BBC 2’s widely acclaimed ‘Classical Star’.
His first CD on Black Box, The Silver Swan was a critical success, followed by Reminding, a disc of Soviet music. Constant Filter (music for cello and electronics by John Metcalfe) is Matthew’s second release for Signum Records, following the five-star success of The Dance of the Three Legged Elephants with jazz pianist Julian Joseph.
Future plans include performances at London’s Wigmore Hall, the BeethovenHaus in Bonn and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, projects with the Kremerata Baltica, Nederlands Radio Symphony, and Sinfonia Viva and a 100-event tour of the UK to celebrate Britten’s centenary. He will be guest artist at the 2013 Rio International Cello Encounter.