The music of Brooklyn-based composer Matt Frey creates intimately sentimental sonic worlds inflected with churning rhythms, minimalist-like textures, and extended moments of restless tension.

Frey’s vocal works—comprising song cycles, music-theater works, and opera—explore the interplay of text, drama, and music to make a palpable, instantaneous connection with an audience. Recent and in-progress works include the musical Mary, written with playwright Melisa Tien and based on the life of controversial schoolteacher Mary Kay Letourneau; the chamber opera The Fox and the Pomegranate, a parable-like tale of love and infidelity which won the 2014 Pellicciotti Opera Prize; and the co-written oratorio Moby Dick: Extracts on Death and Other Curiosities, commissioned by Contemporaneous. Frey’s vocal music has been performed and workshopped across the United States and in Canada at festivals and programs including Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers, the Crane School of Music, Opera From Scratch, the New Dramatists Composer-Librettist and PlayTime Development Studios, the John Duffy Composers Institute, and the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop.

His instrumental music explores a more abstract approach to narrative, focusing on the concept of tension and release.  Often using harmonic or melodic inspiration from popular or electronic music to infuse his compositions, Frey’s music has been commissioned and presented by ensembles such as the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, PUBLIQuartet (in collaboration with BODYART Dance Company), Synergy Percussion, the JACK String Quartet, the West Point Woodwind Quintet, the NYU Symphony Orchestra, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Echo Chamber, andPlay, and the Manhattan Wind Ensemble.

Frey is also known as a curator and event producer; additional musical interests include performing (clarinet and piano), conducting, and arts management.  He holds degrees in Music Composition from New York University (M.M.) and Brooklyn College (B.M.) and has studied with composers including Jason Eckardt, Douglas Geers, Joan La Barbara, Tania León, Robert Maggio, and Julia Wolfe.


One-Eleven Heavy

Release Date: May 24, 2019
Catalog Number: NV6226
21st Century
Large Ensemble
On September 2, 1998, 229 passengers and crew members lost their lives when Swissair Flight 111 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Nova Scotia. Composer Matt Frey, who identified with the Swissair tragedy due to his own brush with a plane malfunction, explores the human relationship to air travel while also commemorating the lives lost in the chamber opera ONE-ELEVEN HEAVY.