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Paul Matthen (Bass-Baritone)

Born: May 5, 1914
Died: November 23, 2003 - Bloomington, Indiana, USA

The American bass-baritone, music scholar and music pedagogue, Paul Seymour Matthen, studied music and chemistry at Columbia University. He was a student of Friedrich Schorr for 8 years.

Paul Matthen had an international concert and operatic career and was a leading baritone at the Stuttgart State Opera for several years. He won wide acclaim as an interpreter of opera, early music, and German Lieder. From 1940 to 1965, he appeared with major symphony orchestras, including those of Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra (Washington). He regularly appeared in operas staged by Wieland Wagner. He was a leading soloist with many of New York's major choral groups in Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, and on major radio and television networks. His musical experience ranged from appearances as soloist for two years at Radio City Music Hall to the musical directorship of the American Bach Society of New York. Matthen was offered Metropolitan Opera contracts in 1943 and 1950, but declined in order to fulfill previous contracts and devote time to his family.

Over the years, Paul Matthen held faculty positions at Bennington College, the Longy School of Music, Wellesley College, Union Theological Seminary School of Music, Boston University, and Baptist Theological Seminary. He joined the Indiana University voice faculty in 1957. During his tenure at Indiana University, he performed regularly, in addition to chairing the doctoral dissertation committees of many of the School of Music's graduate voice students. From 1961 to 1984, he taught all of the doctoral seminars in solo vocal literature and opera. He was sponsor and advisor for more than 35 dissertations, many of which appeared in scholarly journals. On his retirement from Indiana University in 1984, he was offered a position at The Julliard School, which he declined because he wished to remain in the Bloomington area. He was Emeritus Professor at the Indiana University School of Music and Graduate School almost to his death. He died at his home on November 23, 2003 at the age of 89, leaving behind a legacy of performing and teaching accomplishments.

Source: Indiana University School of Music Website; Indiana University Jacob School of Music quarterly magazine: IU Music Spring/Summer 2004 - p. 27
Contributed by
Teddy Kaufman (October 2006); Neil Wilson (January 2013)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Fiora Contino


BWV 244 [1st]

Klaus Liepmann


BWV 4, BWV 34, BWV 104, BWV 245

Arthur Mendel


BWV 11, BWV 12, BWV 46, BWV 71, BWV 120, BWV 171

Daniel Pinkham


BWV 212

Robert Shaw


BWV 131, BWV 140, BWV 232 [1st], BWV 243 [1st], BWV 245

Links to other Sites

Indiana University School of Music: Fanfare


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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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