Matthew Aucoin (b. 1990) is a composer, conductor, poet, and pianist. A 2012 graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude) and the youngest Assistant Conductor in the history of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Aucoin’s next opera has been commissioned by the new works program of the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater.
Aucoin is currently at work composing his third opera, commissioned by the American Repertory Theater, which will be premiered in Boston in the 2014-15 season, directed by Diane Paulus. Aucoin recently won the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Solti Conducting Apprenticeship; he will spend a substantial portion of the next two seasons working and studying with the CSO’s Music Director, Riccardo Muti. Aucoin’s newest orchestral work, This Same Light, was premiered this past May to rapturous reviews under Aucoin’s baton at the Peabody Essex Museum, where he is Composer-in-Residence and Music Director of the Encounters Ensemble.
In the 2013-14 season, Aucoin serves as cover conductor for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Shostakovich’s The Nose, makes his Rome Opera debut with a concert with the Rome Opera Orchestra, and makes his Juilliard Opera debut with Eugene Onegin. This past summer, he performed a ten-concert series at Italy’s Spoleto Festival (as pianist) with baritone Paulo Szot and violinist Keir GoGwilt. Upcoming commissions include, in addition to operas for the Met/LCT new works program and for the A.R.T., a piano trio for Boston’s Gramercy Trio, a series of songs for mezzo-soprano Tynan Davis and San Antonio’s SOLI Chamber Ensemble, and a setting of Seamus Heaney’s poetry, for Mr. Heaney’s memorial service in Cambridge, MA.
In the 2012-13 season, Aucoin served as Assistant Conductor for the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Tempest, conducted by the composer; Assistant Conductor for The Nose at the Rome Opera; and répétiteur for Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Berliner Staatsoper. He made his conducting debuts with Boston’s Longwood Symphony and the Encounters Ensemble, and conducted the premiere of Paul Frucht’s Dawn at The Juilliard School with members of The Juilliard Orchestra. He is a Masters of Composition student at Juilliard, working with Robert Beaser.
While an undergraduate at Harvard, Aucoin conducted the premieres of two of his own operas (From Sandover and Hart Crane) at the New York Composers’ Collaborative and the Loeb Drama Center, as well as orchestral and chamber works including his Suite from Strings with the Brattle Street Chamber Orchestra. Aucoin music-directed Harvard’s opera company, where he conducted productions including his his own English translation of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (co-authored with Stewart Kramer). He served for two summers as Assistant Conductor of Italy’s Spoleto Festival, where he was a featured piano soloist in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with Milan’s Orchestra Verdi.
An accomplished poet, critic, and essayist, Aucoin’s senior thesis, a collection of poems entitled Aftermusic (advised by Jorie Graham) won all of Harvard’s major poetry prizes. His poems and essays have appeared in The Boston Globe, The Harvard Advocate, The Colorado Review, and Plain China. He is in-demand as a lecturer on music and literature: this spring, he served as the New York Shakespeare Society’s Ruth Carpenter Lecturer, where he taught a course on Verdi and Shakespeare; Aucoin was also featured as a Verdi expert on New York classical station WQXR’s Verdi/Wagner bicentennial special.