Matthew Aucoin

b. 1990



Matthew Aucoin, a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, is an American composer, conductor, pianist, and writer. His oeuvre as a composer extends from solo piano to chamber and orchestral music to opera. Beginning in the fall of 2016, Aucoin was named Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera, a specially created position to feature him as both a composer and conductor. Aucoin’s first opera, Crossing, premiered at the American Repertory Theater in May 2015 and had its New York premiere at BAM in October 2017. Second Nature, a one-act eco-opera for young people — commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago — soon followed with a premiere in August 2015. He is currently at work on a new opera, Eurydice, which is a collaboration with the playright Sarah Ruhl. Eurydice has been co-commissioned by Los Angeles Opera and the Metropolitan Opera and premieres February 1, 2020 in Los Angeles. 

2018 MacArthur Fellow Matthew Aucoin
Recent works include String Quartet (commissioned by Union College Concert Series, Carnegie Hall, La Jolla Music Society and Da Camera of Houston) and Soft Power (commissioned by Union College Concert Series) for the Brentano Quartet, Merrill Songs, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall and premiered by tenor Paul Appleby and the composer in March 2016; Dual for cello and bass, commissioned by Symphony Center Presents and premiered by Yo-Yo Ma and Alexander Hanna, principal bass of the Chicago Symphony, in May 2015; and The Orphic Moment, featuring countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and commissioned by the Peabody Essex Museum where Aucoin is composer-in-residence, which premiered in June 2014.
Critical Acclaim
"Extravagantly gifted...diverse elements merge into a personal voice, deployed with prodigious technical skills."
-Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times


Matthew Aucoin is an American composer, conductor, writer, and a 2018 MacArthur Fellow. He is a co-founder of the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), and was the Los Angeles Opera’s Artist in Residence from 2016 to 2020.

Eurydice, Aucoin’s most recent opera, had its premiere at the Los Angeles Opera in 2020 and went on to have a successful production at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2021. His previous operas, Crossing and Second Nature, have been produced at leading theaters across North America, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Canadian Opera Company, and the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.).

Aucoin’s orchestral and chamber music has been commissioned and performed by such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, pianist Kirill Gerstein, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Brentano Quartet. He has also received commissions from leading institutions including Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, The Gilmore Piano Festival, and the Ojai Music Festival.

As a conductor, Aucoin has appeared with the Los Angeles Opera, the Chicago Symphony, the Santa Fe Opera, the San Diego Symphony, Salzburg’s Mozarteum Orchestra, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Rome Opera Orchestra, and many other ensembles, in repertoire ranging from his own music to the operas of Verdi, Mozart, and John Adams.

Aucoin is the author of The Impossible Art: Adventures in Opera, a book of personal reflections on opera as an art form (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021). He is a regular contributor to leading publications such as The New York Review of Books and The Atlantic.

Aucoin is a 2012 graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude), where he studied with the poet Jorie Graham, and a 2014 recipient of a Graduate Diploma in composition from The Juilliard School, where he studied with the composer Robert Beaser. Between 2012 and 2014, he served both as an Assistant Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and as the Solti Conducting Apprentice at the Chicago Symphony, where he studied with Riccardo Muti.

--August 2022



1st July 2024

Aspen Opera Theater & Vocal Arts Students
Aspen Contemporary Ensemble
Timothy Weiss
Wheeler Opera House, Aspe, CO, United States of America


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