Matthew Heap, born in 1981, is an internationally-performed composer whose music has been featured in several American and English cities and on WQED and WCLV radio. He is also very involved in the theater community as an actor, director, and writer. Matthew received his B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University, M.M. from the Royal College of Music in London, and  Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He has studied with Leonardo Balada, Eric Moe,  Nancy Galbraith, Mathew Rosenblum, Amy Williams, and Timothy Salter.

His compositions range dramatically from completely atonal concert music to musical theater. He believes in using the techniques and materials that best express the idea that he is hoping to represent, whether they be microtones, multiphonics, 12-tone practices, or triadic harmony. He has been a finalist and participant in the Iron Composer Competition and fellow at the June in  Buffalo festival, where Allan Kozinn of The New York Times called his music “engagingly  noisy…[and] rhythmically sharp-edged.” He has written major works for the Talea Ensemble  (NYC), Duo Scordatura (TX), Contemporary Enclave (Thailand), TEMPO (LA), Trillium (PA), and Khasma Piano Duo. He has recently finished a new opera with Darren Canady about the intersection of gender and politics (Helen Martin: An American Moment) which was premiered in a filmed performance by Steel City Opera; it is available on YouTube and was a finalist for the American Prize in Composition. Matthew is currently working on projects with Nina  Assimakopoulos and Lauretta Werner, and is in the process of releasing an album of his oratorio Dillinger: An American Oratorio. He is an Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at West Virginia University.



Release Date: June 23, 2023
Catalog Number: NV6525
21st Century
Vocal Music
Large Ensemble
DILLINGER: AN AMERICAN ORATORIO from composer Matthew Heap in collaboration with librettist Darren Canady dramatizes the life of notorious Great Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger. Seen alternately as both an enemy of the state and a folk hero, Dillinger’s story is a fitting backdrop to Heap’s nuanced exploration of class warfare and the American Dream. The oratorio focuses on Dillinger’s final days and is presented in a quasi-oratorio setting, much like the opera-oratorio form that Stravinsky used in Oedipus Rex. Despite its historical source material, the music is more relevant than ever, bringing to life the struggles of Americans feeling caught between social strictures and larger economic forces.