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.


Several Center-funded projects have received extensive international, national, and regional media coverage in recent weeks.

Grants & Grantees

Mick Moloney is a musician and folklorist, and a 2000 Pew Fellow in folk and traditional arts.

Grants & Grantees

FringeArts presented Australian dance company Chunky Move’s Mortal Engine, a dance piece that incorporates video, music, and laser performance with sound-initiated projections.

Swarthmore College presents Chopin Without Piano at FringeArts, featuring an interpretive theatrical and musical piece that will reveal new insights into Fryderyk Chopin as both a historical figure and a masterful composer.

Grants & Grantees

As a presenting arts organization, the Painted Bride offers a wide range of work in music, dance, spoken word, and theater.

Dedicated to supporting and promoting Latin American culture, Raices Culturales LatinoAmericanas produces a variety of community programs and cultural showcases.

WXPN is a public radio station operated by the University of Pennsylvania, best known for its World Cafe music program, distributed by National Public Radio.

Taking Harbison’s Songs American Loves to Sing as inspiration, Philadelphia composers layer jazz and classical traditions to create works that tell America’s story with today’s voices.

Composer Vijay Iyer on the musical lineage that influences his artistic practice.

Grants & Grantees

Stacy Levy is a sculptor and a 1992 Pew Fellow.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Carlos Basualdo is the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Grants & Grantees

Tina Davidson is a composer and a 1992 Pew Fellow.