Norman Mathews’s art songs were featured, along with the works of John Kander and Charles Strouse, at the Kennedy Center in a program of classical music written by theatre composers.
Mathews began his career as a Broadway and film dancer-singer-actor. After a back injury, he returned to school and earned a B.A. Degree in music from Hunter College and an M.A. Degree in music from New York University. His composition and orchestration teachers have included Richard Danielpour, Richard Hundley, and Charles Turner.
Songs of the Poet, a cycle composed to Walt Whitman poetry, was premiered in Germany by Gregory Wiest, an American tenor with the Munich Opera. Wiest recorded the work for Capstone Records (CPS 8646). His song, The Last Invocation, received the Recognition of Excellence award at the Fifth Diana Barnhart American Art Song Competition. Selections from Songs of the Poet were performed as part of a program entitled Whitman and Music, presented by The American Composers Orchestra. His string quartet was recently performed by ACM in Chicago. Next year, Mathews will be composer-in-residence at Shorter College. Mathews’ works are published by Graphite Publishing.
His theatre works have been performed by Broadway luminaries Karen Mason (Outer Critics Circle Award), Michele Pawk (2003 Tony Award), Liz Callaway (Tony nominee), John Dossett (Tony nominee), and Debbie Gravitte (Tony Award). Mathews’ one-woman musical play about Dorothy Parker, You Might as Well Live, was performed at the Harris Theatre of Music and Dance as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival with Broadway star Karen Mason. The play, in which Mrs. Parker’s verses are set to music, has also been seen at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, The New York Musical Theatre Festival, and The York Theatre (starring Michele Pawk).