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 pianist. He is both Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera and co-artistic director of the newly-formed American Modern Opera Company.
Aucoin is currently at work on a new opera, Eurydice, which is a collaboration with the playright Sarah Ruhl. Eurydice has been co-commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and the Los Angeles Opera.
The role of Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera, created for Aucoin, fuses his work as composer and conductor. Aucoin has conducted LA Opera mainstage productions ranging from Verdi’s Rigoletto to Philip Glass’s Akhnaten; he has also conducted his own works, including the opera Crossing, and founded a new late-night concert series, AfterHours. In addition, Aucoin coaches the singers in LA Opera’s Young Artist program, and advises the company on new music.
The American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) is Aucoin’s newest project: an ensemble of some of the rising generation’s most exciting singers, instrumentalists, and dancers. In Aucoin’s words, AMOC is "an opera company, a new-music ensemble, a rock band, and a touring theater troupe, rolled into one." The ensemble has an annual festival at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theater, and has been in residence at the Park Avenue Armory and Harvard University. Aucoin and AMOC are at work on commissions from the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and San Francisco’s ODC Theater.
Aucoin’s orchestral and chamber music has been commissioned and performed by such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, Salzburg’s Mozarteum Orchestra, the Brentano Quartet, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, tenor Paul Appleby, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Chanticleer. Aucoin’s operas include Crossing (2015), commissioned by the American Repertory Theater; and Second Nature (2015), a chamber opera for the young, commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Crossing has gone on to productions at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Los Angeles Opera; Second Nature has been performed all over the continent, including productions at the Canadian Opera Company and the Music Academy of the West.
In addition to his work in Los Angeles, Aucoin regularly guest-conducts nationally and internationally. This past summer, Aucoin made his Santa Fe Opera conducting debut leading John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, in a new production by Peter Sellars. He has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Rome Opera Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West, and Juilliard Opera, among others. This season, Aucoin conducts and curates the San Diego Symphony’s annual festival, entitled Hearing the Future.
Aucoin is a 2012 graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude), where he studied with the poet Jorie Graham, and a 2014 recipient of Juilliard’s Graduate Diploma in Composition. 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.

— October 2018
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