Colin Matthews read Classics at the University of Nottingham, and then studied composition there with Arnold Whittall, and also with Nicholas Maw. In the 1970s he taught at the University of Sussex, where he obtained a doctorate for his work on Mahler, an offshoot of his long collaboration with Deryck Cooke on the performing version of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony. During this period he worked in Aldeburgh as Assistant to Benjamin Britten, and with Imogen Holst.
Matthews won the 2011 British Composer Award in the Vocal category for his piece No Man’s Land and was previously shortlisted in the Choral category in 2008 and the Orchestral category in 2010. In 1998 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Nottingham, where he holds the post of Special Professor. He was presented with the RPS/PRS Leslie Boosey Award in 2005, and was appointed OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to music.
He is currently Prince Consort Professor of Music and Fellow of the Royal College of Music, a Fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music, where he was a Governor from 2001-2008, and Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Composition at the University of Manchester.
String Quartet No.4 is written for string quartet and was commissioned by the Wigmore Hall, London. It had its premiere on the 15 November 2012 at Wigmore Hall, London and was performed by the Elias String Quartet.