Matthew Owens, whose diverse achievements have earned him acclaim from critics and colleagues alike, began his serious study of 'cello at the age of eighteen, in Berkeley, with renowned 'cello pedagogue Margaret Rowell. He studied on scholarship at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Julliard School, later studying with Irene Sharp and Bonnie Hampton. Soon after graduating, he became principal 'cellist of the Santa Rosa Symphony under maestro Corrick Brown, appearing frequently as concerto soloist and receiving critical praise for his "superb playing," "amazing skill" and "dramatic power." Concurrently he began a recital career that has taken him in ever-widening circles around the world. An early interest in contemporary music brought him into contact with the great American master Ernst Bacon, whose works he championed. Bacon chose Owens for radio broadcasts of his music, calling him "a superb artist and astonishing virtuoso."
In recent years Matthew Owens has been interested in re-establishing the role of the composer-performer in classical music by developing the art of improvisation as the link between composing and performing. His own series, in Berkeley, "Fables for A Golden Age" where he appeared as 'cellist, pianist, and storyteller, had an international following. And his improvisational concerts have been remarkably successful here and abroad. Following a recent concert in Birmingham, England, he was called "a virtuoso on the cutting-edge of 'cello," and Svetlana Gusarova of the Moscow magazine Four Seasons praised his work as "expressive, passionate, philosophic." Mr. Owens has also been invited to give lecture demonstrations of the art of improvisation in conservatories in England and Russia.
For over a decade Mr. Owens has been featured as soloist, composer, improviser, on the Distinguished Artist Series of Four Seasons Concerts in San Francisco and Oakland, and an Artist-In-Residence for their annual music festival in Oregon, where a recent Oregon Coast Magazine article on the festival called Mr. Owens a "favorite," citing his "amazing 'cello range." Commenting on Mr. Owens' musical contributions, the late Dr. Hazaiah Williams, director of Four Seasons Concerts said "He is a giant."
"A great creator."
"He is a great
artist and one of the finest minds I have known."
performed a varied program which clearly displayed his talent which seemed
to break the mold of 'cello-playing."
and your music are eloquent and evocative."
© Matthew Owens, 2004