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Meet Academy Alumnus Matthew Lipman

May 1, 2016

Matthew Lipman, viola  |  Academy graduating class of 2009

Where are they now?  In celebration of the Academy's 10th year, MIC took time to catch up with alumni of the program.


The recipient of a prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, American violist Matthew Lipman has been hailed by the New York Times for his “rich tone and elegant phrasing” and by the Chicago Tribune for his “splendid technique and musical sensitivity.” As one of the most promising young advocates of his instrument, his debut recording of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with violinist Rachel Barton Pine and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with Sir Neville Marriner was recently released on the Avie label and reached No. 2 on the Billboard classical charts. Next season, he will debut as soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra and Illinois Philharmonic, and he has performed concertos with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber, Juilliard, Ars Viva Symphony, and Montgomery Symphony orchestras and recitals at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., South Orange Performing Arts Center in New Jersey, and at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. The only violist featured on WFMT Chicago’s recent list of 30 Under 30 top classical musicians, he has been profiled by The Strad and BBC Music magazines and recently performed Penderecki’s Cadenza for solo viola live on WQXR New York with the composer in attendance. He has performed with the Chamber Music Society at Alice Tully Hall, Wigmore Hall, and at the Kissinger Sommer Festival in Germany as a member of CMS Two, and he was a top prizewinner of the Tertis, Primrose, Washington, and Stulberg International competitions. He is finishing his graduate studies as the recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at The Juilliard School, where he serves as a teaching assistant to Heidi Castleman, and he has also studied with Steven Tenenbom, Misha Amory, and Roland Vamos. Born in Chicago in 1992, he performs on a fine 1700 Matteo Goffriller viola loaned through the generous efforts of the RBP Foundation. matthew-lipman.com

What were some highlights during your time at the Academy?

The highlights that resound most in my mind are without a doubt the wonderful chamber music experiences I had at the Academy. I am still very close to many of the wonderful colleagues I met during my years at the Music Institute, and I know these relationships are going to last for many years to come. Participating in the Fischoff competition and playing on NPR’s From the Top are among my most favorite memories.

How do you think the Academy prepared you for conservatory training?

The Academy prepared me wonderfully for Juilliard. I was knowledgeable about theory and ear training by the time I entered and also felt secure enough on my instrument to really offer something at the school. The Academy trained and allowed me to be comfortable in my own musical skin, and I feel that is a huge benefit to have entering music school.

What are you currently working on and with whom?

I feel very grateful to be allowed the performing and teaching opportunities I currently have. I am of course thrilled to be performing Sinfonia Concertante with Rachel Barton Pine at the Music Institute this May and look forward to the possibility of playing it with her a few times next season, as well as with Erin Keefe and the Minnesota Orchestra. As a member of CMS2, I will tour around the U.S. and Canada this spring, Alaska and Germany this summer, and China and Korea in the fall. I am also giving several recitals in the near future and am really excited to be able to share all I’ve learned through my newest passion, teaching.

Do you have thoughts about where you see yourself in five years?

I would love to continue performing and would be completely enticed by working with many of the artists I deeply respect. I could see myself holding a part-time teaching position and would perhaps like to indulge my entrepreneurial spirit by founding a music festival or concert series. Basically, I love this art form and hope to be involved with in a deeply meaningful way for a very long time.


Read more Academy alumni profiles >>

Reverón Piano Trio

Friday, February 17 at 7:30 pm Venezuelan virtuosos return to Nichols Concert Hall to feature world and Chicago premiere performances not to be missed >>