Matthew Aucoin (b. 1990) is an American composer, conductor, writer, and pianist.
In the 2014-15 season, Aucoin conducted the premieres of two of his operas: Crossing, at Boston’s American Repertory Theater (directed by Diane Paulus); and Second Nature, a chamber opera for the young, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Aucoin wrote the libretti for both works. He is currently at work on a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater’s New Works program.
In the coming season, Aucoin will conduct the premiere of his new orchestral work, commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. His new song cycle, set to texts by James Merrill and co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, New York, and Wigmore Hall, London, will be premiered by tenor Paul Appleby and pianist Ken Noda at recitals in New York, Boston, Chicago, Notre Dame, and Miami. Violinist Jennifer Koh will premiere Aucoin’s new solo violin work at the New York Philharmonic Biennale and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Aucoin is also at work on a piano concerto commissioned by The Gilmore for pianist Charlie Albright.
This season, Aucoin makes conducting debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Music Academy of the West (Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, as well as his own chamber opera Second Nature); the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy (Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro); and he returns to the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In recent seasons, he has appeared as a conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Rome Opera Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago (a special event featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma) and Juilliard Opera (Eugene Onegin).
Aucoin’s orchestral, instrumental, and vocal music has recently been performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and bassist Alexander Hanna; Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra; members of the Chicago Symphony; Boston’s A Far Cry; countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo; violinist Keir GoGwilt; the Gramercy Trio; and San Antonio’s SOLI Chamber Ensemble. His music has been heard at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival; the Curtis Institute of Music (the Three Études, commissioned for pianist George Fu); the conservatories of Tianjin and Shenyang, China (recitals by violinist Rachel Lee Priday); New York’s MATA Festival at SubCulture (Ms. Priday and pianist David Kaplan); the Sarasota Opera House; Italy’s Spoleto Festival; the Canadian Opera Company’s Bradshaw Amphitheatre; and the Peabody Essex Museum, where he is Composer-in-Residence.
Aucoin is a 2012 graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude), where he studied with the poet Jorie Graham; and a 2013 recipient of a graduate diploma in composition from The Juilliard School, where he studied with composer Robert Beaser. Shortly before he graduated from Harvard, Aucoin was hired as the youngest Assistant Conductor in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, where he worked with Thomas Adès, James Levine, and Valery Gergiev. From 2013 to 2015, Aucoin was the Solti Conducting Apprentice at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he studied with Riccardo Muti and, in 2014, made his CSO debut subbing for an indisposed Pierre Boulez.
Aucoin remains an active pianist: with his regular collaborator, violinist Keir GoGwilt, he has recently given recitals in New York, Boston, Edinburgh, Spoleto (Italy) and Toronto. Aucoin regularly performs with many of the world’s leading opera singers, including Paulo Szot, Rod Gilfry, Jennifer Rowley, and Anthony Roth Costanzo. Aucoin has also performed as a pianist in several Chicago Symphony Orchestra chamber concerts.
An accomplished writer, Aucoin’s essays and poetry have appeared in The Yale Review, The Colorado Review, The Boston Globe, and The Harvard Advocate. He has served as guest lecturer for the New York Shakespeare Society and a guest host for New York’s WQXR. Aucoin has been the subject of major profiles in The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune. His music has been featured on radio programs including This American Life, From the Top, and Studio 360.
photo credit: Social Palates