Cello playing is at the centre of Matthew Barley’s career, while his musical world has virtually no geographical, social or stylistic boundaries.

Matthew Barley’s passions include improvisation, education, multi-genre musicmaking, electronics, and pioneering community programmes. He is also a world renowned cellist, who has performed in over 50 countries, including concertos with the BBC Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, London Sinfonietta, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Royal Scottish National, Swedish Chamber, Vienna Radio Symphony, Kremerata Baltica, Czech Philharmonic, Melbourne and New Zealand Symphonies and the Metropole Jazz Orchestra. With Viktoria Mullova he recently premiered and toured At Swim-Two-Birds, a double concerto by Pascal Dusapin, with the Nederlands Radio, RAI Torino, Seattle Symphony, London Philharmonic, Paris National and Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestras.

Matthew’s collaborations include Matthias Goerne, the Labèque Sisters, Avi Avital, Manu Delago, Martin Frost, Shai Wosner, Calefax, Thomas Larcher, Amjad Ali Khan, Julian Joseph, Nitin Sawhney, and Jon Lord (Deep Purple), appearing in venues ranging from Ronnie Scott’s and the WOMAD festivals to London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Zürich’s Tonhalle. Matthew’s new music group, Between The Notes, has undertaken over 60 creative community projects with young people and orchestral players around the world.

Matthew has given premieres by Pascal Dusapin, Roxana Panufnik, James MacMillan, Thomas Larcher, Detlev Glanert, Dai Fujikura and recently a concerto by Misha Mullov-Abbado with a cello part that is more-than-half improvised at the London Jazz Festival for the BBC.

He has recorded for Signum Classics and Black Box, and in 2011 he released a CD for Onyx Classics with Viktoria Mullova on which he was cellist, arranger, composer and producer, The Peasant Girl, which has gained rave reviews worldwide, and is now also available on DVD. In 2013 Matthew undertook a 100-event UK tour celebrating Benjamin Britten – the tour was accompanied by a CD release, Around Britten, described by Sinfini as “a defining statement in modern cello playing”. Venues included concert halls, galleries, a prison, a lighthouse, a swimming pool and an ancient yew forest. His most recent recording, Tavener’s The Protecting Veil with the Riga Sinfonietta, was described by the Gramophone as “(A) Magnificent performance…Even if you have other recordings of The Protecting Veil, I recommend this utterly beautiful
and originally framed version unreservedly.”

Future projects include a concerto/recital tour in New Zealand, creative music projects with orchestras in Finland and Sweden, and two CD recordings: the first an album for cello and electronics, and on the second, Matthew will place multi-tracked works of his own using looping techniques and effects, alongside classical works by Tavener, Mozart, Bach and others.

Copyright to Matthew Barley

“… his virtuoso control at all dynamic levels just has to be heard to be believed…"

“I wish more people would think about music the way Matthew Barley does”

To find out more about Matthew, click here

Performed in:


When: 14 November 2023

Where: Stratford Play House

Performed:  Piazzolla, Mendez, Antônio Carlos Jobim and Philip Glass, curated and directed by Matthew Barley

Matthew Barley performing with Orchestra of the Swan (Photo: Cliff Armstrong)