Matthew Riley is an award-winning composer and arranger based in Minneapolis, MN. His wide body of work includes original compositions for radio and TV commercials, charts and orchestrations for TV shows (including NBC’s The Voice), scores for multiple documentary films, and hundreds of arrangements and orchestrations of songs for churches and recording artists. Among his accomplishments are several pieces featured on JW Pepper’s Editor’s Choice list, as well as various festival lists. In 2019 he won the SMP Press Composition Competition in two categories.
His pop-classical arrangements and compositions see thousands of performances per year by orchestras on six continents, and have been enjoyed in theaters, churches, and schools. Riley’s music was featured at Madison Square Garden for two concerts in Andrea Bocelli’s 2019 Christmas tour. Other notable performances have been by Italy’s RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Imperial Philharmonics, US Marine Band, Canadian Royal 22nd Regiment Band and the Colorado Symphony.
Matt’s philosophy for music: “I want to move and inspire audiences and musicians alike with my music. My mission in life is to share things that I find beautiful, sad, awe-inspiring, euphoric, and sublime with the world. I am not a particularly eloquent person, so I choose to do this through the language of music. My hope is that every performance of my music is a memorable, powerful, and emotionally connective experience between the performers and listeners.
Some of my pieces may be difficult to master but I believe that when musicians love what they are playing, they will rise to the challenge. For conductors, one of the most important things about leading an ensemble is that you engage with your musicians about playing music that they love. Once you start engaging students in this way, they start practicing more and they start playing their instruments more musically. The difficulty level of a piece of music doesn’t matter as much when they love the music that they are learning.
My goal for every piece I write is that it would be a challenging yet rewarding experience marked with growth on their instrument ultimately culminating in a performance that connects with the audience on a deep level."