American Conductor Matthew Kasper is one of the most sought after conductors of his generation, as is evidenced by his recent appointment as Resident Conductor of The Phoenix Symphony. An innovative and diverse artist, Matthew is comfortable in classical, modern, film and pops repertoire. He was the founding music director of the Chicago Composers Orchestra, an orchestra devoted completely to the music of living composers. In 2015 Matthew was appointed Assistant Conductor of The Phoenix Symphony and Music Director of the Phoenix Youth Symphony.
Prior to that appointment, Matthew served as Associate Conductor and then Interim Music Director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the Opera National de Lorraine and was on the conducting faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. In addition to his duties in Phoenix, Matthew will make his debut with the Rochester Philharmonic in 2018.
During his tenure with the Phoenix Symphony Matthew has been tapped to conduct subscription, chamber, pops, education and special performances. In addition, Matthew has conducted orchestras on three continents including the Phoenix, Queens, Tucson, and Evergreen (Taipei) Symphonies, the Orchestre
Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy, The Chicago Composers Orchestra and the SaltCreek Ballet. From 2010-2014, Matthew served as an adjunct faculty member of conducting at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College where he taught conducting classes and conducted the orchestra in performances of symphonic, musical theater and opera performances including a recent production of Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, a world premiere production of Bruce Saylor’s The Image Maker and Puccini’s Suor Angelica. Other highlights from previous seasons include performances of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, and Brahms Second Symphony. In 2013, Matthew made his European debut with the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy and also served as an assistant conductor for the Opera National de Lorraine where he prepared the internationally acclaimed staged premiere of Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest where he was immediately re-engaged in the same capacity for productions of Bernstein’s Candide and Britten's Owen Wingrave, as well as for several concerts with the orchestra including successful performances of Beethoven Symphony No. 1. 2013 also marked Matthew’s debut with the Queens Symphony Orchestra conducting Peter and the Wolf, which subsequently led to him being named Interim Music Director for the 2015 season. The 2014-15 season marked Matthew’s debut with The Phoenix Symphony in performances of their Halloween at Hogwarts and Cirque de la Symphonie concerts. In 2017 Matthew was invited to conduct Dreamworks in concert with the Evergreen Symphony in Taipei and a gala concert with the Tucson Symphony to help raise money for their education programs.
This season will include over thirty performances with The Phoenix Symphony including subscription, chamber, symphony for the schools, and pops concerts. He will also serve as the conductor for the finals of the Bösendorfer Piano Competition. In addition, Matthew will conduct five programs with the Phoenix Youth Symphony including Shostakovich's powerful Fifth Symphony and a side-by-side concert with The Phoenix Symphony.
Trained as a violinist, Matthew is a former member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra where he performed under illustrious conductors such as Bernard Haitink and Esa-Pekka Salonen. He holds degrees in violin performance from Queens College and the Chicago College of Performing Arts where his principal teachers were Burton Kaplan and Shmuel Ashkenasi. He also studied chamber music with Daniel Phillips, Marcy Rosen and Robert Chen. An accomplished arts administrator, Matthew served as an artistic intern for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and as Artistic Operations Manager of the Grant Park Music Festival. He received a degree in Orchestral Conducting from Queens College where he was a student of Maurice Peress. For several summers, he attended the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Conductors as a Quimby Family Foundation Fellow where he studied with Michael Jinbo.
Originally from Madison Wisconsin, Matthew currently resides in Phoenix with his wife, Rebecca and children, Theodore and Fiona.