Matthew Mitchell

30 Nov 2016


Matthew Mitchell, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

"I aim to think compositionally when improvising and think improvisationally when composing—trying to expand what is possible in both scenarios."

Matthew Mitchell's (b. 1975) compositions address intersections and cross-pollination among various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. Much of his current work addresses the unique challenge of composing musical scores for improvisers, where he must frame his material in a way that allows for a musician's strengths to shine. "I'm interested in exploring several dualities," says Mitchell. "These include but are not limited to: linearity versus nonlinearity, the intentional versus the accidental, and consonance versus dissonance."

Based in Philadelphia, Mitchell performs throughout the United States and serves on the faculty of the Brooklyn-based Center for Improvisational Music. His sextet, Central Chain, consists of several of New York City's foremost improvisers, including Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega, Mary Halvorson, John Hebert, and Tomas Fujiwara. He also leads the quintet Normal Remarkable Persons; with this ensemble, he aspires to perform an hour-long composition that allows for radically different versions, several of which Mitchell hopes to capture and document as a single recording. He was voted as the first runner-up in the Best New Artist category in the JazzTimes 2012 Expanded Critics Poll. In 2013 he released his debut recording, Fiction, with drummer Ches Smith.