"It was earth-shattering . . . literally. the entire space of Wallenberg reverberated with the waves of noise. It was bombarding yet remarkable; the loudness thrilled me, and I felt like I was in a cocoon of surrounding force."
-Daniel Reine, Augustana Observer

“completely new sound patterns and sonic ideas suggesting an entirely revised organization of tones unlike anything in our musical past.”
- Mark Greenfest, New York New Music Connoisseur

“He works with sustains, overtones, difference tones, resonances, repetitive structures, and feedback. The music is as monolithic as an ice field and as rich as a complex urban environment.”
-Mark Alburger, 21st Century Music

The work of composer and sound artist, Matthew Burtner explores environmental systems (ecoacoustics), technological embodiment, and extended polyrhythmic and noise-based musical systems. His instrumental and computer music is performed widely and he tours regularly with the metasaxophone, an augmented computer instrument of his own creation.

















2011 IDEA Award Winner
for Auksalaq, a telematic multimedia opera
co-created by Matthew Burtner and Scott Deal

The IDEA Awards are given for "innovative advanced network applications with the most positive impact and potential." Previous winners worked in areas such as high-energy physics, cancer research, internet security, software design, and supercomputing. "Auksalaq" is one of the rare recognitions in the arts.

The IDEA Committee wrote: "Auksalaq was selected based on your developing an innovative “telematic toolkit” of advanced network technologies and resources for new artistic expression via networked multi-site telematic art integrating computer interactivity with aesthetic expression while synthesizing traditional mediums of music, dance, drama, art and literature."

Joel Chadabe, Director of the Electronic Music Foundation (EMF) wrote: "Auksalaq is the single best and most important realization of meaningful opera for today's world that I have heard in decades of producing events in New York and elsewhere. It is a pioneering work that pushes the boundaries of networked, media-enriched performance. It weaves together multiple narratives relating to global climate change into a powerful, evocative, and multi-faceted story, presenting different perspectives in the ways in which we view the world through a variety of media, including projections, documentary material, live music, verbal narrative, and electronic sound. It is interactive in that it enlists action by members of the audience through their laptop computers. And its telematic presence addresses a global audience. In its relevance to today's world, in its theatrical multiple-media presentation, in the ways in which it brings humanity together with technology, it is a remarkable work and an example of how opera may and should evolve today."

new article in Organized Sound: Volume 16 - Issue 03 (Sound, Listening and Place I) Cambridge University Press

“EcoSono: Adventures in interactive ecoacoustics in the world”

“Matthew Burtner regards the topic of environmental sound through an ecocritical lens, here via an eloquent description of several site-based environmental art projects, and uses this practice-based research to theorise a philosophy of ecoacoustic sound art. He stresses ‘in-person’ engagement with the world, extending from an acknowledged influence of the work of Schafer and the World Soundscape Project's original work.”
Katharine Norman, guest editor

More on EcoSono

“Dynamic Elements” a new Summit Records CD by Mark Hetzler includes a beautiful recording of Burtner's “Aes/Aer” (brass/atmosphere) for trombone, engineered by Bob Katz, in album with music by Rowe, Fulkerson, Udell & Hetzler

Six Ecoacoustic Quintets
for percussion quintet
available here now

"These are my Pleiades, my Constructions."

These works express elemental human relationships with the environment through music as well as the environmental, physical, mental, and spiritual complexities of human-nature dialectics. As humans affect and control the natural environment, the changes we create reflect back onto our species' behavior, psyche, and imagination. The "Six Quintets" set up elemental systems of tension that point to this abstraction: "Water" (ice), "Wood" (pitch), "Stone" (sand), "Metal" (noise), "Air" (breath), and "Skin" (bones). These movements progress from the outward material effects of our behavior (melting ice) to our body and breath as material.

The "Quintets" are scored for a percussion quartet plus one additional player who is not necessarily a percussionist. The fifth part is less difficult and more theatrical/ dramatic. The fifth part is designed to showcase the conceptual dimension of the work. The "Six Ecoacoustic Quintets" are available as a set in print form only. Each piece works well on its own in a recital or the entire set can be played together (duration c. 45')

Official Selection, PASIC 2010
Featured work, 2010 Intermedia Festival
Ear to the Earth, 2010
Ensemble 64.8, premiere ensemble
Morris Palter, premiere soloist

NOMADS is an innovative network system for large group human-computer interaction

Auksalaq in New York at the Ear to the Earth Festival

Ear to the Earth Festival / Electronic Music Foundation
October 31, 5pm
Frederick Lowe Theater, NYU

chamber music and multimedia from "Auksalaq"

performed by Joan LaBarbara, Shiau-uen Ding, Esther Lamneck's NYU New Music Ensemble, Jonathan Haas' NYU Percussion Ensemble, Margaret Lancaster, Yael Acher, Sean Phillip Arawjo, the IUPUI Telematics Ensemble, and NOMADS

featuring Matthew Burtner's compositions "Iceprints" for piano and sub-ice ecoacoustics, "Cloudprints" for mixed ensemble, "Windprints" for three solo flutes and mixed ensemble, "Water (ice) and "Air (breath) from the "Six Ecoacoustic Quintets" for percussion quintet, and "Auksalaq (aria)" and "Unganaqtuq Nuna" for voice. The concert also features live interactive video and production by "Auksalaq" co-creator Scott Deal, and with Jordan Munson, Miho Aoki and Maya Salganek. We ask concert attendees to bring their laptops and participate in the performance through NOMADS, a new interactive software system designed by Burtner, Dave Topper, and Steven Kemper of the Interactive Media Research Group (IMRG).

more info

Winter Raven (Ukiuq Tulugaq)
for instrumental ensemble, dance and theatre, video and computer sound
full multimedia production, December 7, 2010
University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
Greenhill Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30pm

“Fog, ice, snow, cold, sand, lava, wind. These are the elements out of which sound artist Matthew Burtner creates his eerily effective electroacoustic soundscapes. It is music that draws from both beauty and horror of nature… He calls his music “ecoacoustics”. I say it’s the world song.” Jean Ferraca, Here on Earth, Wisconsin Public Radio

Oceans/Elements: Interactive Ecoacoustics in the World
a solo lecture/recital by Matthew Burtner

"Oceans/Elements: Interactive Ecoacoustics in the World" was created for the UWGB Common Theme, Realizing Our Sustainable Future, for the University of Wisconsin Green Bay where it premiered in March. In this concert I perform natural materials such as water, wind and sand along with acoustic instruments. The performance features interactive ecoacoustic compositions structured around the five classical elements common to Japanese, Greek, Indian, Medieval and Tibetan philosophies: earth, water, fire, air and ether. It draws on my experiences last year traveling 30,000 miles by water around the world.

October 8, Milwaukee, Unruly Music Festival
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30pm, $12/$10
more info

October 20, Kansas City, University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC)
UMKC Performing Arts Center, 8pm, free
more info

March 24, Green Bay, University of Wisconsin (UWGB)
Weidner Center, Fort Howard Hall, 7:30pm, free
more info

recent awards

Howard Foundation Fellowship, Brown University (2009)

Buckner W. Clay Endowment for the Humanities Award, University of Virginia (2010)

2010/2011 Center for 21st Century Studies Provost's Fellowship University of Wisconsin (2010)

IDEA Award
Internet2 (2011)


Nief Norf Festival, Furman University, Greenville, SC, June, 2012
more info

CMMAS, Mexico City, Mexico, February, 2012
more info

SoundON Festival, La Jolla, CA, June, 2011
more info

UWM University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Provost Fellow, 2010/2011
more info

UMKC Conservatory, Kansas City, Composer-in-Residence, 2010/2011
more info

UW Whitewater University of Wisconsin, December 6-8, 2010
more info

Brooklyn College, Colloquium Series, October 27, 2010
more info

UWGB University of Wisconsin Green Bay, March 24-26, 2010
more info

Scores, recordings and performance media now available through the online store

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© Matthew Burtner, 1994-2012