Matthew Halls is the Artistic Director of Retrospect Ensemble, one of the UK's most exciting young conductors and an acclaimed keyboard player.
The word “versatile” is often applied to musicians; in the case of the British conductor Matthew Halls, it is particularly well deserved. With his probing and vibrant interpretations of music of all periods, he is known for his dynamic and intelligent work with major symphony orchestras, choirs and opera companies.
Artistic Director of the Oregon Bach Festival from 2013-2017, he has led performances of repertoire ranging from Monteverdi’s Vespers to Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. Halls opened the 2016 festival with one of Bach’s most celebrated works, the Mass in B minor, performed for the first time in the festival’s history on period instruments. Alongside works by Schubert, Brahms and Mendelssohn, the season also saw Halls conduct the world premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s A European Requiem.
Halls is regularly welcomed to orchestras across Europe. This season sees him debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony and the NDR Radiophilharmonie, whilst he returns once again to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Halls has led performances with the Bergen Philharmonic, Concentus Musicus Wien, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Royal Scottish National, RTE National Symphony, and the Tonkünstler Orchestra NÖ. He makes regular appearances in Austria and on tour with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra with whom he made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2015, and in November 2016 he leads them on a tour of the US.
Increasingly in demand by North American orchestras Halls has received invitations from the Cleveland Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Seattle and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. North American appearances this season include his New York debut at the Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival in a performance with Joshua Bell; he debuts with the Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, and returns to Cleveland, Indianapolis and Calgary. Further afield, Halls has featured in Australia with the Adelaide, Melbourne and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, in Russia with Musica Viva Moscow and last season with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. With a re-invitation from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Halls spends a period in Australia again in 2017, also conducting the Auckland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.
In the opera house, Halls has worked with companies such as the Bayerische Staatsoper, Central City Opera Colorado, Handelfestspiele Halle, Salzburg Landestheater and the Netherlands Opera in repertoire such as Britten’s Peter Grimes and Bellini’s Norma. Spring 2014 saw him lead Handel’s Ariodante at the Aalto-Musiktheater Essen, resulting in a re-invitation to conduct performances of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in the 2015/16 season.
Halls is represented on disc with Handel’s Parnasso in Festa, winner of the Stanley Sadie Handel Recording Prize, released by Hyperion. His recordings on Linn Records are highlighted by a set of four Bach Harpsichord Concertos conducted from the keyboard, and award-winning discs of Purcell’s Sonatas in Three and Four Parts. Matthew Halls was educated at Oxford University and subsequently taught at the University for five years. Committed to education and working with young musicians, he has taught regularly at summer schools and courses.