Matthew Aucoin is a composer, conductor, writer and pianist who has been recognized as one of the most promising young talents in the operatic and musical world. He is Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera, and has already worked as a composer and conductor with the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Salzburg Landestheater and Music Academy of the West, among others. He is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and Genius Award recipient as well as the Festival Curator for the San Diego Symphony's "Hearing the Future" Festival in January 2019
Mr. Aucoin is currently Artist-In-Residence at Los Angeles Opera, a specially created position which fuses his work as composer and conductor and culminates in the world premiere of a newly-commissioned opera. Mr. Aucoin’s opera Crossing premiered at the American Repertory Theater in May 2015, directed by Diane Paulus. His Second Nature, an opera for young people, was commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago and premiered in August 2015. Mr. Aucoin wrote the libretti and conducted the premieres of both operas and is currently at work on a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater’s New Works program.
Recent works include the orchestral work Evidence, commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Soft Power for the Brentano Quartet premiered in April 2018 and a song cycle Merrill Songs (set to texts by James Merrill) premiered by tenor Paul Appleby at Carnegie Hall – with Mr. Aucoin as pianist – which was co-commissioned by the Wigmore Hall. Violinist Jennifer Koh commissioned and debuted Aucoin’s new solo violin work, resolve, for the New York Philharmonic Biennale and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In early 2017, Aucoin’s dramatic cantata The Orphic Moment received its European premiere at the Salzburg Landestheater, with the composer conducting.
Mr. Aucoin is a 2012 graduate of Harvard College, where he studied with the poet Jorie Graham before studying composition at The Juilliard School. Shortly before he graduated from Harvard, Mr. Aucoin was hired as the youngest Assistant Conductor in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, where he worked with Thomas Adès, James Levine and Valery Gergiev. From 2013 to 2015, Mr. Aucoin was the Solti Conducting Apprentice at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he studied with Riccardo Muti and, in 2014, made his CSO debut substituting for an indisposed Pierre Boulez.
Mr. Aucoin went on to make orchestral conducting debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; the Rome Opera Orchestra; the Civic Orchestra of Chicago; opera productions have included Music Academy of the West (The Bartered Bride, as well as his own chamber opera, Second Nature); Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy (Le nozze di Figaro) and Juilliard Opera (Eugene Onegin). Future conducting engagements include Verdi’s Rigoletto and his own Crossing with LA Opera, Doctor Atomic at Santa Fe Opera and a special program with the San Diego Symphony.
Performers of Mr. Aucoin’s works also include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, Chanticleer, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Boston’s A Far Cry, Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, violinists Jennifer Koh and Keir GoGwilt, members of the Chicago Symphony, the Spoleto Festival (Italy) and the Peabody Essex Museum where he was the museum’s Composer–in–Residence from 2013-17. His orchestral work Evidence received its New York premiere in June 2018 with the Orchestra of St Luke's conducted by Ludovic Morlot at the Caramoor Festival.
Mr. Aucoin remains an active pianist: with his regular collaborator, violinist Keir GoGwilt, he has recently given recitals in New York, Boston, Edinburgh, Spoleto (Italy) and Toronto. Mr. Aucoin regularly performs with many notable opera singers, including Renée Fleming, Paulo Szot, Rod Gilfry and Anthony Roth Costanzo. Mr. Aucoin has also performed as a pianist in several Chicago Symphony Orchestra chamber concerts.
An accomplished writer, Mr. Aucoin’s essays and poetry have appeared in the Yale Review, the Colorado Review, the Boston Globe and the Harvard Advocate. He has served as guest lecturer for the New York Shakespeare Society and a guest host for New York’s WQXR. Mr. Aucoin has been the subject of major profiles in the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune. His music has been featured on radio programs including This American Life, From the Top and Studio 360.
In 2017 Matthew Aucoin founded AMOC (American Modern Opera Company), whose performers include instrumentalists, singers, dancers, choreographers and composers with Aucoin as co-Artistic Director alongside stage director Zack Winokur. Projects take the form of collaborations between its core members, ranging from operatic stage works to smaller-scale chamber works. In its inaugural 2017-18 season, AMOC launched a new Run AMOC! Festival at the American Repertory Theater, held its first major teaching and performance residency at Harvard University, and was Artist-in-Residence at New York’s Park Avenue Armory.