Matthew Greenbaum (New York City, February 12, 1950 -) is an American composer.  He studied privately with Stefan Wolpe, and with Mario Davidovsky at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has served as a professor of music composition at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance since 1988. Since 2000 Greenbaum has worked with computer animation to create hybrid chamber music/visual music. Greenbaum has also written on Debussy, Schoenberg and Varèse in relation to Wolpe’s dialectical and “cubist” approach to musical structure.


Greenbaum inherited from Wolpe the idea of “cubist polyphony,” where motivic units  fracture into  component parts and project into musical space, so that the events seem to contract and expand, hiding and revealing each other. Greenbaum’s most significant work is Nameless, a 25-minute wordless psalm for three sopranos and two chamber ensembles. It was composed for the Momenta Quartet and the Cygnus Ensemble, and bears a quotation from the Medieval Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides.

“The music of Matthew Greenbaum is distinguished by its depth of meaning and structural clarity, its refined and elegant voicings, its transparency and splendid aesthetic sensibility.”

Russki Musykal’nye Kadry


NEW YORK PREMIERE: The Jig is Up (2016) for oboe and string orchestra. Roni Gal-Ed, oboe: The Riverside Symphony
Alice Tully Hall
January 20, 2018

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