- Matthew Leese
- Born: 1979
A proud New Zealand expat, Matthew Leese is in demand as a versatile baritone and director specializing in early music, art song and opera. Known for his ‘unaffected vocal timbre’ and ‘immaculately crafted vocal lines’ he has also founded three critically acclaimed ensembles, the Otago Camerata in Dunedin, The Bath Street Studio in Bloomington, Indiana
and most recently the a capella quartet Gravitacion in his current home of Champaign, Illinois.
Operatic performing experience includes lead roles in Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, l’Euridice by Jacopo Peri, Venus and Adonis by John Blow, and Cephale et Procris by Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre. Other opera roles include Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro by W. A. Mozart and Ben in The Telephone by Menotti.
Matthew created the roles of Frank in Outrageous Fortune by Gillian Whitehead and Man in The Trapeze Artists by Anthony Ritchie.
Matthew recently recorded New Zealand Poets in Song with sister Anna Leese and pianist Tom McGrath, a CD of songs by Anthony Ritchie. Ensemble experience includes two international tours and recordings for Trust Records with the Tower New Zealand Youth Choir, frequent appearances with the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana and with the professional Early Music ensembles Catacoustic Consort, The Concord Ensemble and Piffaro. Matthew frequently collaborates with fellow expatriate, conductor and pianist Andrew Crooks.
Distinguished conductors worked with include Karen Grylls, Michael Lloyd and John Poole. Coaches have included Hakan Hagegard, Anne Azema and David Harper.
Matthew holds a Masters in Music from Indiana University, Bloomington where he studied with NATS Master Teacher Robert Harrison. Matthew completed a Graduate Performance Diploma with Distinction from the Longy School of Music studying voice with acclaimed medievalist Laurie Monahan. Matthew obtained his Bachelors degree with honours from the University of Otago where he studied voice with Judy Bellingham, historical performance practice with Dr. Sue Court, and conducting with Jack Speirs, Peter Adams and Michael Joel.
Matthew is pursuing a Doctorate in Choral Conducting at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and serves as an Adjunct Professor of Music at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and at Millikin’s Baroque Summer Immersion programs in Urbania, Italy and St. Andrews, Canada.Source: Matthew Leese, January 2009