Matthew Aucoin (b. 1990) is a young American composer, conductor, poet, and pianist. His first opera to receive a professional production is Crossing, which was commissioned by Boston's American Repertory Theater and will be debuted in June 2015 in a production starring Rod Gilfry and directed by Diane Paulus. The Lyric Opera of Chicago will produce Second Nature, an opera for young people, later that summer. Aucoin is also at work on a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera, commissioned as part of its 'New Works' initiative.
Aucoin is currently composer-in-residence for Boston's Peabody Essex Museum, where he founded the Encounters Ensemble to explore both new scores and contemporary programming. His first major orchestral piece, This Same Light, was premiered there in May 2013; Zürich's Tonhalle Orchestra will give that piece's European premiere later this month. Other new works scheduled for debut in 2014-15 include a piano trio for Boston's Gramercy Trio; solo piano pieces for pianists Benjamin Hochman and George Fu which will debut respectively at Columbia University in New York and at Curtis Institute for Music in Philadelphia, and an orchestral overture entitled Not a Test for the San Antonio Symphony. Among future projects is a song cycle commissioned jointly by New York's Carnegie Hall and London's Wigmore Hall for tenor Paul Appleby.
As a conductor Aucoin was the winner of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's 2013 Solti Conducting Apprenticeship; he conducted works by Ravel and Stravinsky on a CSO subscription concert last season and this year returns to lead CSO players in a chamber music program including his own Celan Songs. Last winter, Aucoin conducted the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the CSO’s training ensemble for emerging professional musicians, in a public rehearsal of Strauss's Don Quixote, featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma; he will return to Civic in March 2015 to conduct a program of Stravinsky and Adès. In 2012 he began a relationship with the Metropolitan Opera when he auditioned for their studio program and was asked instead to join the professional staff as an assistant conductor, working with Thomas Ades on the Met debut of his The Tempest, with Valery Gergiev on a new production of Shostakovich's The Nose, and this season with music director James Levine on Le nozze di Figaro. His professional conducting debut was in a concert by the orchestra of the Rome Opera; his professional opera debut was Eugene Onegin for Juilliard Opera.
With a degree from Harvard University, Matthew Aucoin is also an accomplished poet, critic, and essayist. His senior thesis, a collection of poems entitled Aftermusic, won all of Harvard’s major poetry prizes. Fluent in French, German, and Italian, he is in demand as a lecturer on music and literature, and he has spoken and written about Verdi and Shakespeare. His music has been featured on popular American public radio shows including This American Life and From the Top.