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Tamara Matthews (Soprano)

Born: December 31, 1969 (?) - USA

The American soprano, Tamara Matthews, earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Houston (Music Education), and her Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas (Vocal Studies). She had Post-Graduate Studies at the University of North Texas (Early/Baroque Music).

Tamara Matthews performs a remarkably varied body of repertoire on opera and concert stages around the world. She has rapidly risen to international status with performances in France, Spain, Israel, as well as major venues in the USA, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Regarded as one of the finest singers of her generation, her voice has been described as 'worthy of the angels'. Possessing “ a glorious instrument, velvety and warm, glistening with light and dramatically forceful”, her singing resulted in her acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut in 1994 as first prize-winner of the Musica Sacra Bach Vocal Competition.

Tamara Matthews has appeared with the Los Angeles Master Chorale; the Accademia per La Musica Antica; and the Berkeley, Boston, Ravinia and Marlboro music festivals. She has collaborated with many prominent conductors, including Luis Biava, Joseph Flummerfelt, Greg Funfgeld, Vance George, Robert Page, Joshua Rifkin, Paul Salamunovich, Leonard Slatkin, Stanley Sperber, Richard Westenburg and Thomas Wikman.

In the 1998-1999 season Tamara Matthews was a featured soloist with the Marlboro Music Festival, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and the Philadelphia Orchestra (Francis Poulenc's Gloria). She also starred in the world premiere of the new opera The Black Swan conducted by Sara CaIdwell, and made her company debut with Opera Delaware as Donna Anna in a new production of W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni, and with Musica Angelica in Los Angeles. 1999-2000 season began with the Los Angeles Master Chorale (Johannes Brahms' German Requiem) and her Kennedy Center debut (J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor, BWV 232). She appeared as special guest soloist with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra in Israel under the baton of Stanley Sperber (opera arias and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4) to open their gala 50th season.

Other engagements in the late 1990's included debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra, at their Blossom Music Festival, as soprano soloist in a "Beethoven Marathon" under the direction of Leonard Slatkin, the Philadelphia Orchestra (George Frideric Handel's Messiah), J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245) with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's Stabat Mater with Chicago's Music of the Baroque. Operatic debuts in New York, Chicago (in Cavalli's La Calisto) and San Francisco have garnered high praise for her portrayals of a wide range of roles including Micaela, the Marschallin, Vanessa, W.A. Mozart's Countess, Pamina and Ilia, and a variety of bravura Baroque characters. She was also featured in the world premiere of Alessandro Scarlatti's re-discovered opera L'Aldimiro, presented by Cal Performances. The Wall Street Journal lauded Tamara Matthews' performance as "operatically grand!" She also appeared as guest soloist in L.v. Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony and the W.A. Mozart Mass in C minor in San Francisco, Handel arias in New York, and Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah in Philadelphia.

Debuts in 2002-2003 season included Royal Albert Hall (Proms) and the Edinburgh Festival with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem in the summer of 2003; a world premiere by Boston-based composer Charles Fussill with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia in October; chamber music concerts on the Bach Festival of Philadelphia Series in November 2002; and December engagements with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and with the National Symphony in Kennedy Center in December of 2003. International debuts in 2004-2005 season included the Orchestre Philharmonique du Strasbourg (Strauss' Vier Letzte Lieder, Wagner's Liebestod/Jan Latham Koenig conducting); Violetta in La Traviata with the Festival Lyrique-Belle Ile en Mer; and a concert tour and recording with the Orchestra of New Spain (Madrid) of classic works by Courcelle, Nebra and Soler. In 2005-2006 season Tamara Matthews was slated to sign G. Mahler’s Resurrection with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and L.v. Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with Philadelphia’s Singing City, with which she recently performed the J. Brahms' Requiem. Other recent American concert performances include appearances in Carnegie Hall (J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244); Alice Tully Hall (Messiah); with the Cleveland Orchestra (L.v. Beethoven's Mass in C); Houston Symphony Orchestra (Messiah); and Knoxville Symphony (J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor, BWV 232). She performed several times at the Baldwin-Wallace College Bach Festival in Ohio (2005-2009).

With some 15 recordings to her credit, Tamara Matthews discography continues to grow in size and diversity. An impressive J.S. Bach collection includes recordings as soprano soloist in Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) and Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) (Bach Choir of Bethlehem - Dorian); St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) (American Bach Soloists - Koch International Classics) and a live performance of St. John Passion (BWV 245) (Pro Gloria Musicae). Her latest recording - the J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243) and Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria with the Boston Baroque - was released by Telarc in 2005. She is featured on recordings of all periods of music, including L.v. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony; Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass (Koch International Classics); a collection of works by Johann Joseph Fux, Johann David Heinichen and Antonio Lotti (Pro Gloria Musicae); Dietrich Buxtehude’s sacred solo cantatas; and consort music of William Byrd with thNew York Consort of Viols (Lyrichord). She has also recorded for Angel/EMI and the Musical Heritage Society.

In addition to a busy performing career, Tamara Matthews teaches and conducts master-classes regularly at festivals and seminars. She has participated on the faculties of both Swarthmore College and Westminster Choir College (Princeton, New Jersey) as a professor of voice, and has a growing private voice studio in Paris. In 2003 she accepted a position at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Source: Liner notes to the album 'J.S. Bach: Christmas Oratorio', conducted by GregFunfgeld (Dorian Recordings, 1999); Tamara Matthews Website (1998); Phildelphia Classical Guitar Society Website (2001); Furman Music Website (2003)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2001, April 2010)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Greg Funfgeld


BWV 232, BWV 248

Eric J. Milnes


BWV 245

Blanche Moyse


BWV 93, BWV 115 [2nd, 1998], BWV 151; Arias from BWV 78, BWV 210

Dwight Oltman


BWV 32 [2nd], BWV 78 [3rd], BWV 147 [2nd]
BWV 232 [8th], BWV 232 [9th], BWV 245 [8th], BWV 248 [8th]

Jeffrey Thomas


BWV 244

Jeffrey Thomas


Member of American Bach Soloists:
V-2 (1996):
BWV 244

Martin Pearlman


BWV 243

Links to other Sites

Tamara Matthews, Soprano (Novo Artists)
Tamara Matthews (Astral Classical Series)

Tamara Matthews, Soprano (Bethlehem)
Tamara Matthews (Furman Music)
Allen Krantz & Tamara Matthews Biography (Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society) [2001]

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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 10:49