Matthew Lau

Matthew LauMatthew is an accomplished pianist having been awarded 1st place at the Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Piano competition to become the first winner of the competition from the Junior Royal Northern College of Music and reaching the final of the prestigious RNCM Gold Medal Competition. He has enjoyed playing in various concerts series and recitals across the UK, such as Chester Wesley Church, Chester Music Society, Wigan Music Society, Manchester St Ann’s Church, Nantwich, Ealing St Barnabas Church and the Leigh Music Society.

With the supervision of Dr. Adam Swayne and Dr. Nico de Villiers, Matthew will be investigating and recording the complete piano works of Charles Griffes (1884-1920).

Having studied in Germany, Griffes’ compositional roots started in the Austro-German tradition, but his style began to diversify. In 1911, he entered his Impressionist period with works such as The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan and the Roman Sketches. These compositions displayed an evocative imagining of the orient and ultimately cemented Griffes’ legacy. He was often labelled as an ‘American Impressionist’ out of convenience. However, there is much more to be discovered in his later works. Griffes continued to push his own boundaries and adopted a forward-looking neo-classical and modernist approach.

Griffes only gained recognition in the final years of his life and unfortunately passed away before he could witness his success. Despite this, there has been a substantial amount of research on the composer, but only a handful of artists have recorded some of the piano works. Various scholars have investigated Griffes’ life and music, but their angle remained on the side of musicology. Conversely, none of the artists who recorded Griffes’ piano music recognised the lack of accessibility to the unpublished scores. Hence, Matthew will combine both angles by editing and recording the complete catalogue of Griffes’ piano music. This will be the first time anyone has recorded the complete piano works and include world premieres of unrecorded pieces.