The College of Arts and Architecture

Matthew Shaw, countertenor

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Friday, April 7, 2017 - 3:30pm
110 Music Building I

Free admission

Operatic countertenor Matthew Shaw, a Penn State alumnus ('97 B.M.-voice) and winner of the College of Arts and Architecture's 2011 Alumni Award, returns to the University Campus to offer a voice masterclass during the weekly Voice Forum. During his 2-hour session, Shaw will work with Penn State voice students. His visit to campus is hosted by his former voice teacher at Penn State, Richard Kennedy.


American countertenor Matthew Shaw has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting talents of his generation, with performances of leading roles at internationally-acclaimed theaters including Vienna's Theater an der Wien, the Grand Théâtre de Matthew ShawGenève, the Dresden Semperoper, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, and the Hungarian State Opera.  His interpretations of both baroque and contemporary repertoire have gained world-wide attention.

Shaw's future seasons include several important house debuts. He will be a guest at the Theater Freiburg during the 2016-17 season, singing the role of Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare and performing in the world premiere of Ludger Vollmer's Crusades.  In the 2017-18 season, he will make his debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, creating a role in the world premiere of Aribert Reimann's highly-anticipated new opera L'Invisible.

Shaw's 2015-16 season included return engagements at several companies, as well as a significant debuts. He spent much of the season in Hungary, where he performed Ottone in L'Incoronazione di Poppea at the Müpa Budapest with the Orfeo Orchestra. He also made his debut with the Hungarian State Opera as Edgar in Aribert Reimann's Lear. Later in the season, he was seen at the Semperoper Dresden (his fourth engagement with the company) to reprise his portrayal of Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare.  Shaw returned the Nationaltheater Mannheim, again for a modern opera, Salvatore Sciarrino's Superflumina.

His busy 2014-15 season included several important guest engagements in Germany.  He made his debut at the Theater Erfurt, singing Ottone in L'Incoronazione di Poppea, and returned to the Semperoper Dresden to perform Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare. Shaw also debuted at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, where he sang the leading role in Achim Freyer's world premiere production of Lucia Ronchetti's Esame di mezzanotte to great critical acclaim. 

Mr. Shaw's 2013-14 season was highlighted with a return to the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden as Endimione in a new production of La Calisto.  The 2012-13 season featured his Scandinavian debut in the role of Edgar in Lear at the Malmö Opera in Sweden.

During the 2011-12 and 2010-11 seasons, Shaw made several important role and company debuts. At Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, he performed the role of Athamas in Robert Carsen’s production of Semele opposite Cecilia Bartoli and under the baton of William Christie. He also performed Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein and Ottone in new productions of L'Incoronazione di Poppea at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden and Semperoper Dresden.

The 2009-10 season found Shaw in Germany and Switzerland where he sang the title role in Giulio Cesare at Theater Dortmund and Oper Kiel, and performed Endimione in a new production of La Calisto at the Grand Théâtre de Genève.  

Prior to his swift and critically-acclaimed transition to countertenor as Endimione in La Calisto at the Landestheater Linz in 2008, Shaw achieved considerable success as a baritone on both the concert platform and operatic stage.

Highlights of his past performances as a baritone include the role of Jupiter in Lully’s Psyché at the Boston Early Music Festival (released on the CPO label), his Carnegie Hall debut singing Bach cantatas under the baton of Ton Koopman, Fauré’s Requiem with the New Jersey Symphony, Masetto in Don Giovanni with the National Philharmonic, his debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar at the Ojai and Ravinia Festivals under the baton of Robert Spano, a tour of Dido and Aeneas with the Aix-en-Provence Festival, his Ravinia Festival debut singing the world premiere of Lita Grier’s Songs From Spoon River, performing as a soloist in Handel’s Solomon with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and recitals at New York’s Austrian Cultural Forum. Shaw was also a finalist in the Chimay International Baroque Singing Competition and a Young Artist with the Pittsburgh Opera.

Shaw received his undergraduate degree in performance the Pennsylvania State University and his master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. In 2011, he received the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Award.

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