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.
Halls is regularly welcomed to orchestras across Europe. Following his recent debut performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony and the NDR Radiophilharmonie, this season sees him debut with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Warsaw Philharmonic. He continues to conduct a cycle of Beethoven piano concerti with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Paul Lewis, and returns once again to the Salzburg Mozarteumorchester to conduct Haydn’s Die Schöpfung. Halls has previously led performances with Concentus Musicus Wien, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Royal Scottish National and the Tonkünstler Orchestra NÖ.
Increasingly in demand by North American orchestras Halls has received invitations from the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and the Seattle and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. Artistic Director of the Oregon Bach Festival for four years, Halls is equally at home conducting baroque and contemporary repertoire; the 2016 festival saw him conduct Bach’s Mass in B minor, performed for the first time in the festival’s history on period instruments, as well as the world premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s A European Requiem. His North American appearances this season include a debut with the Saint Louis Orchestra and return visits to the Houston, Indianapolis and Toronto Symphonies. Further afield, Halls has appeared in Australia with the Adelaide, Melbourne, Tasmanian and West Australian Symphony Orchestras; in Russia with Musica Viva Moscow; and with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
In the opera house, Halls has worked with companies including 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. At the Aalto-Musiktheater Essen Halls has led performances of Handel’s Ariodante and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
Halls is represented on disc with Handel’s Parnasso in Festa, winner of the Stanley Sadie Handel Recording Prize, released on the Hyperion label. 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. Noted for his commitment to education he led the launch of Oregon’s Berwick Academy in 2015 and regularly teaches at courses and summer schools.