The British vocal ensemble Carice Singers has nominated the Canadian-Finnish composer Matthew Whittall as their Associate Composer. Whittall is pleased with this nomination: “I’m thrilled to begin this relationship with the Carice Singers. Their fresh, pure, youthful sound is hugely inspiring for a composer, and their varied and sensitive programming takes listeners on journeys that forge poetic links across nations and centuries. To get to write a large-scale piece for such a front rank ensemble in the English choral tradition is a dream come true!”
The Carice Singers is a British vocal ensemble of young professional singers conducted by George Parris. Named after Edward Elgar’s daughter, the ensemble is known for bringing a pure sound and an imaginative approach to a wide spectrum of choral music, with a preference for performing British choral music with deep commitment and insight.
The Québec-born composer Matthew Whittall studied in Montreal and the University of Massachusetts and Stony Brook University before settling in Finland in 2001. There he studied at the Sibelius Academy, receiving his Doctor of Music degree with distinction in 2013. His principal teachers include Robert Jones, Salvatore Macchia, Perry Goldstein, Eero Hämeenniemi and Veli-Matti Puumala. His works have been widely performed in Finland, Canada and Japan as well as on international festivals such as Nordic Music Days, Musica nova Helsinki, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and Ottawa Chamberfest.
Whittall has been deeply involved in Finland’s choral scene since his earliest days in the country. He has created a large and varied body of choral works for some of Finland’s top amateur and professional vocal ensembles, including the cycle “Shiki” (Four Seasons) and “ad puram annihilationem meam”. Lately his eclectic output has focused on symphonic music, with several major works commissioned by Finland’s leading orchestras (viola concerto; cantata “Dulcissima, clara, sonans”; “The Return of Light” for chamber choir and sinfonietta; piano concerto “Nameless Seas”).
Whittall’s music is marked by an attempt to fuse its various disparate influences – Old and New World, Western and non-Western, sacred and secular, classical, folk and popular – into a single, variegated expressive language, and by a use of extramusical imagery ranging from natural phenomena to poetry and landscape art.