Matthew Burtner: biography

… surrounded by screens, cables and computers, the composer and child of the Arctic shore wore an aura of calm and composure, yet radiated a contained enthusiasm that portends great and greater things to come from this young musical genius of interpretation.

-National Geographic Newswatch, Michael McBride

MatthewHeadShot1_smMatthew Burtner is an Alaskan-born composer and sound artist specializing in concert chamber music and interactive new media. His work explores ecoacoustics, embodiment, and extended polymetric and noise-based systems. First Prize Winner of the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Czech Republic), a 2011 IDEA Award Winner, and a recipient of the Howard Brown Foundation Fellowship, Burtner’s music has also received honors and awards from Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany) and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. He is Professor of Composition and Computer Technologies (CCT) in the Department of Music at the University of Virginia.

completely new sound patterns and sonic ideas suggesting an entirely revised organization of tones unlike anything in our musical past.

- New York New Music Connoisseur, Mark Greenfest

Burtner’s music has been performed in major festivals and venues throughout the world, and commissioned by ensembles such as Integrales (Germany), NOISE (USA), Trio Ascolto (Germany), MiN (Norway), Musikene (Spain), Spiza (Greece), CrossSound (Alaska), and others. He has also had the opportunity to work closely with virtuosic soloists such as Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Dimitris Marinos, Morris Palter, Haleh Abghari, Lukas Ligeti, Glen Whitehead, Madeleine Shapiro and Wu Wei.

It was earth-shattering . . . literally. the entire space of Wallenberg reverberated with the waves of noise. It was bombarding yet remarkable; the loudness thrilled me, and I felt like I was in a cocoon of surrounding force.
- Augustana Observer, Daniel Reine

He is the composer of three evening-length multimedia opera/theater works — Ukiuq Tulugaq (Winter Raven), Kuik, and Auksalaq. A 2010/2011 Provost Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies at UWM, Burtner has also conducted long-term residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), Phonos Foundation/Pompeu Fabra Universidad (Spain), Musikene (Spain), Cite des Arts (France), IRCAM/Centre Pompidou (France), and the University of Missouri Kansas City (USA). He studied composition, computer music, saxophone and philosophy at St. Johns College, Tulane University (BFA), Iannis Xenakis’s UPIC-Studios, the Peabody Institute/Johns Hopkins (MM), and Stanford University/CCRMA (DMA). Among published recordings for DACO (Germany), The WIRE (UK), Innova (US), Summit (US) Centaur (US), EcoSono (US) and Euridice (Norway), his music is available on several solo albums: That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies, NOISE plays BURTNER, Auksalaq Live at the Philips Collection, MICE World Tour, Signal Ruins, Metasaxophone Colossus and Portals of Distortion.

He works with sustains, overtones, difference tones, resonances, repetitive structures, and feedback. The music is as monolithic as an ice field and as rich as a complex urban environment.
-21st Century Music, Mark Alburger

As a technologist, Burtner develops systems for human-computer-environment interaction featured in his music. He invented the NOMADS telematic system, the MICE human-computer ensemble and orchestra, the Metasaxophone augmented instrument, and a number of ecoacoustic approaches.