Paula Matthusen is a composer who writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. In addition to composing for a variety of different ensembles, she also collaborates with choreographers and theater companies. She has written for diverse instrumentations, such as “run-on sentence of the pavement” for piano, ping-pong balls, and electronics, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker noted as being “entrancing”. Matthusen’s work often considers discrepancies in musical space—real, imagined, and remembered. Recent areas of creative inquiry include extensive field recording, which has led to compositions and sound projects in aqueducts, caves, and sites of historic infrastructure.
Matthusen’s music has been performed by Grossman Ensemble, Experiments in Opera, Dither, Mantra Percussion, the Bang On A Can All-Stars, Brooklyn Rider, Loadbang, New York New Music Ensemble, Splinter Reeds, the Scharoun Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), orchest de ereprijs, The Glass Farm Ensemble, the Estonian National Ballet, James Moore, Terri Hron, Dana Jessen, Kathryn Woodard, Todd Reynolds, Kathleen Supové, Margaret Lancaster and Jody Redhage. Her work has been performed at numerous venues and festivals in America and Europe, including the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the Caramoor Festival, the MusicNOW Series of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Ecstatic Music Festival, Other Minds, the MATA Festival, Merkin Concert Hall, the Aspen Music Festival, Bang on a Can Summer Institute of Music at MassMoCA, the Gaudeamus New Music Week, SEAMUS, International Computer Music Conference and Dither’s Invisible Dog Extravaganza.
Matthusen performs frequently on live-electronics as well, and has been a featured composer and performer at Experimental Intermedia Festival (NYC), 9 Evenings +50 at Fridman Gallery (NYC), SPLICE Festival (Kalamazoo), BEASt FEaST (Birmingham, UK), Ultrasons (Montreal), and Salon Bruit (Berlin). She also performs frequently with Object Collection, and is involved in interdisciplinary collaborations such as the project between systems and grounds with visual artist Olivia Valentine for live-textile generation and live-electronics, and Kite Choir with artist Firat Erdim.
Awards include the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fulbright Grant, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Awards, First Prize in the Young Composers’ Meeting Composition Competition, the MacCracken and Langley Ryan Fellowship, the “New Genre Prize” from the IAWM Search for New Music, and recently the 2014 Elliott Carter Rome Prize. Matthusen has also held residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Hambidge, ACRE, create@iEar at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, STEIM, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Matthusen is currently Professor of Music at Wesleyan University, and teaches experimental music, composition, and music technology. Matthusen’s work is available through Innova, Cantaloupe Music, New Amsterdam Records, AntiCausal Systems, Carrier Records, Quiet Design Records, and C.F. Peters.