Matthew Riley (b. 1982) 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, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka, US Marine Band, Canadian Royal 22nd Regiment Band, Colorado Symphony, Idaho Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and Detriot Symphony. His music was performed at the Canadian national funeral for Queen Elizabeth II in 2022.
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, moving, 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."
"I really love your arrangement and production and still can't get over what feels like a miracle in finding your website and having the opportunity to contribute a musical statement myself to your superb work. You also inspired me to look more into how I could learn how to create good music myself using the fine digital technologies available. Thank you!"
- E. Dixon., San Bruno, CA
"One of the greatest joys of being a music teacher is that I get to do new music every year (year 32). When I heard your music this summer, I got so excited to come back to school. Your music has so much passion, energy, and beauty in it. .... [I] was blown away when I heard your music. Like a kid in a candy store, I bought 5 pieces that night."
- Mark A., Pleasanton, CA
"Thanks for your creative genius and attention to discipline and detail!...Absolutely Amazing! I am overwhelmed and overjoyed! Your parts, and how they are expressed have such precision and feeling!...The string track is magnifico! From its beginning to its ending, you did an excellent job of creating meaningful movements within the song."
- Kenneth G., Minneapolis, MN
"There was hardly a dry eye in the house as the audience connected with the piece in a way I have rarely experienced in concert before. I had one concert-goer approached me afterward and said she was crying by the third chord! At the conclusion, the audience leaped to their feet and gave a thunderous round of applause. I believe that was as much for you and your inspiration as for our performers, and that is why I wished to share this with you. Bravo, Maestro! And God Bless!"
- Andrew P., Cleveland Ohio
"I came across your music through youtube and other sheet music websites. And I must say, I think your music, arrangements, and flexibility of instrumentation make you truly amazing. No one else does it like you!"
- Dale K., San Bruno, California
"I cannot thank you enough for your stunning arrangements. As soon as I heard it, it was a moment when I said to myself ‘I absolutely must have this, it’s incredible!’ and that does not happen very often. I realized I got completely lost in it for 2 hours!I am so gobsmacked I can only say thank you so much for your talent. I can’t wait to play this gorgeous music and I am looking forward to trying your other song arrangements and accompaniment music. I have become a huge fan."
- Lisa W., Brisbane, Australia
Thank you SOOOOO much for writing amazing violin solos!!! You are one of the only composers who writes nice sounding challenging violin solos that can be used for special music at church. Please keep writing Christian violin solos and I will buy all of them!!! Also I LOVE your epic Christmas collection. I have already played those violin solos in church. Keep writing more!!!!
- Lindsey M., Michigan