Martin Matalon studied at the Juilliard School in New York where he obtained his Master of Composition. In 1989, he founded Music Mobile, a New York-based ensemble devoted to contemporary repertoire and became its director until 1996. He receives prices from the JS Guggenheim New York Foundation, the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Grand Prix des Lycéens ...

In 1993, IRCAM ordered a new score for the restored version of Fritz Lang's film, Metropolis. Then, Martin Matalon immerses himself in the world of Luis Buñuel by writing musical composition for Un Chien andalou (1927), L’Age d’or (1931) and Las Hurdes (earth without bread) (1932).

Its catalog includes a large number of chamber and orchestral works and covers a wide spectrum of different genres: musical theater, mixed music, musical tales, film-concerts, vocal music, installations, music and poetry, choreographic works, opera ...

At the same time he is a conductor. He has directed the Ensemble Modern, MusikFabrik, Barcelona 216, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Auvergne orchestra, Court-circuit, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Montpellier National Orchestra, the orchestral ensemble of Reims, the Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra ...

Martin Matalon taught composition at CRR Aubervilliers, He was a visiting professor at McGill University, UC Berkeley, IRCAM, Acanthes Center, in many summer academies: CompoLab, Injuve, Institut Français - Barcelona New Modern Project ... Since 2017 he is a professor at CNSM Lyon.

He has been composer-in-residence at the Arsenal of Metz and the National Orchestra of Lorraine (2003-2004), at La Muse en Circuit (2005-2010), at the Stavanger Festival in Norway in 2011, guest composer of the Festival les Arcs for the 2014 edition ...

His Opera l’Ombre de Venceslao on a libretto and directed by Jorge Lavelli after the piece of Copi, was created at the Opera de Rennes in October 2016 and is the subject of a tour in France and South America in 11 opera houses. l’Ombre de Venceslao has been nominated for the Victoires de la Musique 2017.


" Rugged "

For orchestra with horn obligato


Line and space were two important issues in this piece. These two parameters will evolve and be reinterpreted throughout the five linked movements making up this work.
The orchestra is divided into two groups, separated by a third, consisting essentially of the horn section, which is arranged at the centre of the stage and between the two other groups. At certain times in the work, the horns will play the role of protagonist.

The spatial treatment will also be structured by the work on acoustic properties (tessitura and register) intrinsic to the individual instruments of the orchestra. The dialectic of space created between the exploded orchestral line and the compact, massive use of the orchestra will be at the heart of the work’s formal construction. Rugged opens with a pulverised, fragile line (if it can be called thus), which is deployed over the whole orchestral register and of which the sole linking element is a regular, pulsed temporal articulation. This line is going to undergo avatars and various transformations of densification and crystallisation to end up in a dynamic section of orchestral tutti which, at the end, will suddenly turn into a reinterpretation of the opening line. But even sparser, more fragile, and more rarefied than the previous, this line will be deployed over a suspended sound plane…

Each new section in Rugged chases the previous one without ever going back… Three types of temporal articulations were at the heart of my preoccupations: the sound flow, a sort of turbulent mass, often chaotic, irregular and constant; the pulverised beat: a regular articulation but of which the timbre, register and instrumentation change at every moment; and then a suspended time in which the evolution of timbre and the quality of the sound grain are the principal components…

Martin Matalon (Trad. John Tyler Tuttle)

" Trame X "

For solo accordion and flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trompette, 2 percussions, harp, violin and viloncello

Gérard Billaudot


W O R L D  P R E M I E R E
January 12th  2012 - Ensemble 2e2m – CRR de Paris - Max Bonney, accordéon - dir. Pierre Rouiller.

Trame X for Accordion and ensemble continuos a cycle of concertos initiated in 1997. My interest in reinterpreting the concertante form lays in the complex relations that could be established between a writing that valorizes all the instruments and the
soloist. The generic name of trame is borrowed from Jorge Luis Borges homonym poem. In this poem Borges reveals us the synchronicity that exists between all the elements that constitute the “Universal history”. Less ambitious and more circumspect my trames refers simply to the plot weaving, the fil d’Arianne, apparent or hidden, proper to each composition.

This work is constituted by 4 linked sections with almost no transition, each movement being the affluent of the preceding one.

As such the first movement develops in a sonorous field where events interact with velocity.

The compositional process, by contrast, is circular and therefore static. Two distinct layers make up this section: a background were a pulsation dispatched within the ensemble is stablished and a foreground layer made of objects or small forms embedded in this moving fabric of sound.

The second section - more harmonic in nature - four distinct layers are superimposed on one other : the first - an harmonic progression generated by the vibraphone (and sometimes the accordion) extended by winds instruments who transform these harmonies into acoustical interpretations of electronics treatments such as granulations,   filters,   ring   modulations,   spectral   delays...   The   second   layer, articulated by the accordion and corroborated by other low instruments that mime the  soloist,  form  nebulous  and  undefined  objects  in  the  lower  regions  of  the spectrum. The third layer is taken care by the violin who does a long and slow glissando that go across the whole movement, modifying thus the stability of all the other layers described hereupon. The fourth layer, much more simple in nature is an irregular punctuation of the movement articulated by pizz. of the cello.

The third section is made up of two different layers: a kind of phantom pulsation done by breath (fl, cl) and extended techniques that result in a similar sonority (cello sul pont...) and forms and objects mainly articulated by the soloist and enriched by the rest of the ensemble.

The fourth movement, in suspension, is formed by a single layer taken care by the accordion, the rest of the ensemble plays the role of a “caisse de resonance” and a sophisticated extension of the timber of the soloist.

From a temporal point of view I tried to use a large part of the spectrum: from a clearly  defined pulsation [1st  movement] passing through a  phantom pulsation [third movement], a suspended time without pulsation [4th section] and a subtle combination of temporalities described above [2nd movement].
It is therefore in the becoming and the transformation of each section as well as the dialectic between the various movements that the trame of the work is woven.
Martin Matalon