Matthew Heap, born in 1981 in the United Kingdom, is an internationally performed composer whose music has been featured in several American and English cities and on WQED radio. He is also very involved in the theatre community as an actor, director, and writer. Matthew received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, MMus from the Royal College of Music in London, and was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in April, 2012. He has studied with Leonardo Balada, Eric Moe, Nancy Galbraith, Mathew Rosenblum, Amy Williams, and Timothy Salter. Matthew is also a member of Alia Musica Pittsburgh, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of new concert music from Pittsburgh composers.
His compositions range dramatically from completely atonal concert music to musical theatre. He believes in using the techniques and materials that best express the idea that he is hoping to represent, whether they be microtones, multiphonics, 12-tone practices, or traditional triadic harmony. His recent pieces include Dillinger: An American Oratorio, with lyrics by Darren Canady, and Songs of Ice and Fire. The former is a concert opera in one act for full choir, four soloists, and chamber group that is based on the last days of American Outlaw John Dillinger. Its musical language juxtaposes popular idioms of the period (such as jazz and gospel) with sometimes harsh atonal material. The latter is much more intimate: five short scenes that have a connection to the elements of ice or fire, played by flute, clarinet, and piano. One of his most recent works, Loki, for orchestra, was selected by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for a reading. He has been a finalist and participant in the Iron Composer Competition and fellow at the June in Buffalo festival, where Allan Kozinn of the New York Times called his music “engagingly noisy…[and] rhythmically sharp-edged.” He is currently working on a piece for flutist Nina Assimakopoulos. He teaches composition and theory at West Virginia University.