Matthew Mitchell

2012 Pew Fellow

Matthew Mitchell, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

“I aim to think compositionally when improvising and think improvisationally when composing—trying to expand what is possible in both scenarios.”

Matthew Mitchell’s (b. 1975) compositions address intersections and cross-pollination among various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. Much of his current work addresses the unique challenge of composing musical scores for improvisers, where he must frame his material in a way that allows for a musician’s strengths to shine. “I’m interested in exploring several dualities,” says Mitchell. “These include but are not limited to: linearity versus nonlinearity, the intentional versus the accidental, and consonance versus dissonance.”

Based in Philadelphia, Mitchell performs throughout the United States and serves on the faculty of the Brooklyn-based Center for Improvisational Music. His sextet, Central Chain, consists of several of New York City’s foremost improvisers, including Tim Berne, Oscar Noriega, Mary Halvorson, John Hebert, and Tomas Fujiwara. He also leads the quintet Normal Remarkable Persons; with this ensemble, he aspires to perform an hour-long composition that allows for radically different versions, several of which Mitchell hopes to capture and document as a single recording. He was voted as the first runner-up in the Best New Artist category in the JazzTimes 2012 Expanded Critics Poll. In 2013 he released his debut recording, Fiction, with drummer Ches Smith.


The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has awarded an Advancement grant of $500,000 to the Curtis Institute of Music to support the design and implementation of a new curriculum that provides graduates with the entrepreneurial and business skills necessary to forge effective careers within the rapidly changing classical music field.

Grants & Grantees

The Philadelphia Ceili Group is an educational organization with an interest in Irish culture, founded in 1958 to preserve traditional ceili and set dancing.

Grants & Grantees

Yane Calovski is a visual artist and a 2001 Pew Fellow.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center) today announced 53 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. The 2016 awards total more than $10 million and provide funding for 12 new Pew Fellowships, 36 Project grants, and 5 Advancement grants.

Grants & Grantees

Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra has distinguished itself as one of the world’s leading orchestras.

The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change will perform as part of the Liberian Independence Day Celebration in Trevose, Pennsylvania.

Grants & Grantees

Nicole Cousineau (Pew Fellow, 2007) makes multimedia dance theater based in strong, rigorous movement investigation.

Jennifer Higdon wins a International Opera Award for Cold Mountain, Geoff Sobelle’s one-man play The Object Lesson will be presented at New York Theatre Workshop, and a mid-career retrospective book of Bo Bartlett’s paintings is published.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Libbie Hawes is the preservation director at Cliveden of the National Trust in Historic Germantown.

Karen M’Closkey and Keith VanDerSys are 2013 Pew Fellows, founding partners of PEG office of landscape + architecture, and PennDesign faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

Grants & Grantees

In 2003 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 63 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

Grants & Grantees

Steven Donegan is a visual artist and a 1998 Pew Fellow.