Matthew White

Matthew (James Philson) White. Countertenor, b Ottawa 22 Mar 1973; BA (McGill) 1998. Matthew White began his training with the St. Matthew's Men and Boys' Choir in Ottawa, singing treble under director Richard Dacey from age 8.

Matthew White

Matthew (James Philson) White. Countertenor, b Ottawa 22 Mar 1973; BA (McGill) 1998. Matthew White began his training with the St. Matthew's Men and Boys' Choir in Ottawa, singing treble under director Richard Dacey from age 8. During his formative years, White also sang with the Ottawa Central Choir and the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir under Barbara Clark; the Ontario Youth Choir under Wayne Strongman, Jon Washburn, and Lydia Adams; and the Cantata Singers of Ottawa under Laurence Ewashko.

In 1992 White joined the opera program at McGill University and studied with William Neill. Although he made his professional debut about that time with the Ottawa choir Musica Divina (Wayne Riddell, conductor), White was growing unsure of his musical path. After his first year in the opera program, he transferred to English literature. Juggling his new degree and participating in music productions on the side, White ran into vocal difficulties while preparing for Giulio Cesare. He reached out to voice teacher Jan Simons and in him found a guide and mentor who would help him prepare for an international music career.

Operatic and Concert Work

In concert, Matthew White has performed with Canadian collaborators such as La Nef, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Toronto Consort, Vancouver Early Music Festival, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy and most of the major symphony orchestras. In the US, he has worked regularly with the Carmel Bach Festival, Four Nations Ensemble, New York Collegium, and Oregon Bach Festival, as well as with the Portland Baroque Orchestra. International appearances have included early music festivals in Ambronay, Bruges, Lamèque, Regensburg, Stift Melk, and Utrecht, as well as with the Bach Collegium Japan and The Netherlands Bach Society.

White's operatic repertoire has included roles in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea and L'Orfeo; as well as in Handel's Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda. Past engagements have been with Cleveland Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Atelier and Pacific Opera Victoria.

Recordings and Other Activities

Both a Grammy and Juno award nominee, White has participated in more than 30 recordings, mostly sacred in nature, with a variety of labels. His collaboration with Tafelmusik, Italian Oratorios, was nominated for a Juno for classical album of the year in 2005, and his recording of Conradi's Ariadne with the Boston Early Music Festival received a Grammy nomination in 2006. With the ensemble Les Voix Baroques (co-founded by White in 1999) he received both an Opus Prize and a Juno nomination in 2008 for the album Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri.

In 2011 Matthew White was made executive director of the Seattle-based production company Pacific Musicworks.

Selected Discography

Bach: Christmas Cantatas. 2000. Aradia Ensemble, Kevin Mallon. Naxos 8 554825

Purcell - Dido and Aeneas. 2001. Le Concert Spirituel, Hervé Niquet. Glossa GCD 921601

Buxtehude: Sacred Cantatas. 2004. Aradia Ensemble. Naxos 8 557041

Italian Oratorios: Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Caldara, Zelenka. 2004. Tafelmusik. Analekta 29813

Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri. 2007. Les Voix Baroques. Atma Classique ACD22563

Elegeia. 2007. Les Voix Baroques. Analekta 2 9902

Gloria in excelsis deo. 2007. Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir. CBC Records SMCD 5244

Johann Sebastian Bach: Christus, der ist mein Leben/Cantatas. 2008. Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe cond. Harmonia Mundi HMC 901969

Johann Sebastian Bach: Jesu, deine Passion/Cantatas. 2009. Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe cond. Harmonia Mundi HMC 901998

Johannes - Passion: Cantatas BWV 22, 23, 127, 159. 2010. Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe cond. Harmonia Mundi HML5908351 53


Further Reading

  • Eatock, Colin. "On stage: Matthew White," Opera Canada, Winter 2001

    Barker, John W. "Collections: Elegeia," American Record Guide, vol 66, no 4, Jul-Aug 2003

    Catalano, Peter. "Opera everywhere: Boston Early Music - Conradi Ariadne," American Record Guide vol 66, no 6, Nov-Dec 2003

    "For the Record: One to watch - Matthew White, countertenor," Gramophone, Jun 2003

    Freeman-Attwood, Jonathan. "Elegeia review," Gramophone, Jun 2003

    Crawford, Ardella. "Collections: Baroque delights; Italian oratorios," American Record Guide, vol 67, no 4, Jul-Aug 2004

    Darlington, Jonathan. "On stage: Celebrating Canadian artists at home and abroad," Opera Canada, Spring 2005