Canadian conductor Matthew Otto is an innovative leader, educator, and collaborator. With unparalleled dedication to choral music, Matthew strives to develop artistic excellence, vocal integrity, and empowerment in singers of all ages.
Matthew is a lecturer and Ph.D. candidate in Music Education at the University of Toronto where he teaches choral methods and has conducted the Soprano-Alto Chamber Choir. His doctoral dissertation, entitled Towards a Reimagined Choral Pedagogy: A Phenomenological Case Study of Chorister Experience at the Toronto Children’s Chorus, traces the impact of high-level choral singing on youth.
Currently, Matthew is the Director of Education & Associate Artistic Director of the renowned Toronto Children’s Chorus (TCC) where he conducts the Toronto Youth Choir and co-conducts Chamber, Chorealis & Cantare. Over the past 12 years at the TCC, Matthew has co-conducted the TCC’s Chamber Choir on tour to Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, USA, Bahamas, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well as at the 2017 World Choral Symposium in Barcelona. The TCC has also premiered his treble arrangements and compositions. Throughout the 2020-21 season, he was a major architect of TCC’s virtual choir performances, and during the 2021-22 season served as Interim Artistic Director.
In 2013, Matthew co-founded the Toronto Youth Choir (TYC) with Elise Bradley. The ensemble offers a space for innovation, inclusion, and musical excellence to youth and young working professionals ages 14 to 30. The TYC has performed with The King’s Singers, Irish Youth Choir, West Liberty University Singers, Choir of Trinity College Melbourne, Elmer Iseler Singers, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In April 2018, Matthew led the Toronto Youth Choir on its first international tour, travelling to New York City to sing in Carnegie Hall. In June 2019, the TYC made its debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, performing Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana alongside the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir & TCC. The TYC is a founding member of Bridge Choral Collective, a consortium of Canadian youth choirs that offers innovative virtual programming by internationally renowned artists. Throughout the 2020-21 season the TYC participated in workshops with Jacob Collier, Rajaton, Moira Smiley, Sherryl Sewepagaham, Anúna, Lone Larsen and VoNo, The University of Pretoria Youth Choir, and The Philippine Madrigal Singers.
Matthew is founder/artistic director of Incontra Vocal Ensemble, a project-based, professional-level chamber choir. Now in its eighth season, Incontra provides high-calibre performance opportunities for emerging singers and conductors. Equally at home in the symphonic chorus realm, he has prepared choruses for appearances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and conductors Peter Oundjian, Nicholas McGegan, Bramwell Tovey, Donald Runnicles, Tania Miller, and the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.
As a strong advocate for the choral arts in Canada, Matthew has been the President of Choirs Ontario, a board member of Choral Canada, and is a founding member of the Bridge Choral Collective. He has actively contributed to many choral communities in the Toronto area, including Pax Christi Chorale (Assistant Conductor), Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Associate Conductor), and several Toronto churches, most recently Christ Church Deer Park. He has served as an adjudicator at several festivals including the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival and the Kiwanis Guelph Music Festival, and has guest conducted the Elora Festival Singers, Toronto Cantata Chorus and University of Auckland Chamber Choir.
Twice-recipient of the Elmer Iseler Fellowship in Choral Conducting, and finalist in both the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting (2014) and Sir Ernest MacMillan Foundation Fellowship Award in Orchestral Conducting (2010), Matthew holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition (2007) and a Master of Music in Conducting (2009). His conducting mentors include Doreen Rao, Raffi Armenian, David Briskin, Elise Bradley and Karen Grylls, and he has participated in masterclasses with numerous conductors including Helmuth Rilling, Maria Guinand and Simon Carrington. He has presented papers at the International Symposium on Singing and Song, and at Podium 2018.
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