American conductor Matthew Kasper currently serves as Resident Conductor of The Phoenix Symphony and was recently appointed Artistic and General Director of the Phoenix Youth Symphony. Matthew is also a recipient of the prestigious 2020 Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award. Past posts have included Music Director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Chicago Composers Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and he served on the faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music.
In his fifth season with The Phoenix Symphony, Matthew has proven a wide-range of ability leading Classics, Pops, Education, Chamber and other programs during his tenure. This success led to his promotion from Assistant to Resident Conductor in the 2018-19 season. Past seasons have included successful performances of symphonies by Ives, Schumann, Dvorak, Beethoven, Haydn as well as Handel’s Messiah, Tchaikovksy’s Nutcracker with the Phoenix Ballet and a performance of Mozart opera arias with artists from the Arizona Opera’s Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio.
In demand as a guest conductor, Matthew has
conducted extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia. Recent seasons included successful debuts with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Tucson Symphony and the Evergreen (Taiwan) Symphonies. Matthew has also appeared with the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy, Opera National de Lorraine, Queens Symphony Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony and the Salt River Ballet. Matthew has served as cover conductor for The Cleveland Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, The Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Musicfest and the Queens Symphony.
Equally at home in symphonic and operatic repertoire, Matthew recently made his European debut with the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy and was invited 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. He was immediately re-engaged for productions of Bernstein’s Candide and Britten's Owen Wingrave. While on faculty at the Aaron Copland School of Music Matthew led productions of Bruce Saylor’s The Image Maker, Puccini’s Sour Angelica and Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites. 2013 marked Matthew’s debut with the Queens Symphony Orchestra, which subsequently let to him being named Interim Music Director in 2015.
An avid music educator, Matthew served as an adjunct faculty member of conducting staff at the Aaron Copland School of Music from 2011-2014, where taught conducting classes and conducted the orchestra in performances of symphonic, musical theater and opera performances. As Resident Conductor of The Phoenix Symphony, Matthew conducts the orchestra’s educational and family concerts, reaching over 15,000 children annually.
As Artistic and General Director of the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras, Matthew has worked hard to form meaningful collaborations for the benefit of the organization’s young musicians. This includes a conducting fellowship with Arizona State University, chamber music masterclasses and coaching in conjunction with the Phoenix Chamber Music Society and ballet productions with the Ballet Arizona School. Matthew believes music should be widely available to any and all children and is working hard to forge relationships to help make that a reality in Phoenix.
Trained as a violinist, Matthew is a former member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra where he performed under illustrious conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Mark Elder, James Gaffigan 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. Matthew holds a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from Queens College where he was a student of Maurice Peress. He received additional training at 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, son Theodore and daughters Fiona and Magnolia.