tenor and program curator
"Stellar." - Chicago Tribune
“Setting the tone” (Pittsburgh Music Alliance) with “affecting line” (Boston Classical Review), tenor and countertenor Matthew Dean is a sought-after soloist, collaborator, and storyteller in ensembles and oratorios around the country. As artist in residence at Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel since 2005, the Tribune’s John von Rhein has praised his “firm vocalism and beautiful timbre.” As Evangelist in the Bach Passions and Christmas Oratorio, he has been called “stirring, always attuned to the narrative content” (Chicago Classical Review) in concerts featuring the Haymarket Opera Orchestra.
A medievalist and folklorist possessing “ringing sound, cantorial fluency, and elegance” (Chicago On the Aisle), he has collected songs in Spain and Siberia, and appears and records with The Newberry Consort, The Rose Ensemble, Bella Voce, His Majesty's Men, Third Coast Baroque, and Schola Antiqua. A “stellar” new music collaborator (Alan Artner), Matt has originated roles in works by James Kallembach and Sven-David Sandström, and collaborated with eighth blackbird, Giordano Dance, and Patrice Michaels' Notorious RBG in Song project. As a concert and visual arts curator, he has designed vocal programs for the Art Institute of Chicago and The Met Cloisters, welcomed Native American and interreligious art exhibitions at Rockefeller Chapel, and led the Sounds of Faith initiative for Harran Productions Foundation.
Welcome and calendar
Wishes of health and hope in 2023-24 to all, and especially to friends and collaborators of ORD Camp and UChicago's Taking the Next Step. In my public thinking cap my themes are religious architecture, gaming, and food, on which any musical supporters are also welcome to engage me anytime! Read more about 2020 for me in the Tribune here.
A special welcome to new friends. You can hear me on radio and podcasts here singing live, here speaking on earworms and manuscripts at the Newberry Library, and here meditating on medieval Jerusalem. At Rockefeller Chapel, I collaborated with climate scientists on some important measurements. A concert I developed made The New Yorker here. Our global interfaith concert initiative is chronicled at The Harran Foundation.
Some art installations I've curated or welcomed include Ultra High Resolution, Dancing For My Tribe, Neurotheology, Cosmic Consciousness, Columns of Thought, and The Bridge. I designed the Concrete Happenings Arts Lobby for UChicago Arts in 2016. As a singer, a retrospective bio on the encyclopedic Bach Cantatas website is here.
In 2023, I will be singing August 12 with His Majesty's Men, featuring three newly composed works, and on August 21 with King Solomon's Singers. Throughout the 2023-24 season I am honored to be performing with The Newberry Consort under the direction of Liza Malamut. In October, November, January, and March 2024 I will perform with the Schola Antiqua. 2023 solo appearances with the Rockefeller Chapel Choir will include Handel's Messiah on December 3.
Liturgically, it is an honor to sing High Holidays at Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Hyde Park, and for regular Sundays October - May at Rockefeller Chapel (11 AM). You can also find me at St. Josaphat in Lincoln Park on Saturday nights during Advent, Lent, and Pentecost, and for other feasts at Ascension Episcopal in Chicago's Gold Coast.
Highlights from earlier in 2023 included performing at the Allstate Arena in Andrea Bocelli's chorus for a crowd of over 12,000, and singing music from the 30 Years' War era for VIP guest Jürgen Krauss of the Great British Baking Show.
Previous 2022-23 appearances
In 2022, I will be singing August 13 with His Majesty's Men, including new arrangements by the King's Singers' Philip Lawson. Throughout the 2022-23 season I am honored to be performing with The Newberry Consort under the direction of Liza Malamut; hear us in Chicago in October, December, March, and May. On November 18-20 and December 3-4 I'll be with the Schola Antiqua. 2023 solo appearances with the Rockefeller Chapel Choir will include Bach's Easter Oratorio on April 27.
March 3 and May 12 and 21 at Rockefeller Chapel for Rheinberger Mass, Mozart Requiem, and Spring Choral Festival
February 18-20 with The Newberry Consort and guest Catalina Vicens, organetto, in Music Fit for the Medicis
December 24 at Rockefeller Chapel
December 18 with the Callipygian Players
December 11-12 at Sing We Joyous with the Oriana Singers in Oak Park
December 4-7 in A Mexican Christmas with The Newberry Consort, including a new CD and DVD release based on our 2019 performance of this wonderful show.
November 20-21 in Handel's Messiah with Bella Voce
November 14 in a program on Dante with The Schola Antiqua
November 4 as a soloist in the Howells Requiem at Rockefeller Chapel
On January 27, hear me on the radio (WFMT 98.7 in Chicago) with The Oriana Singers.
On February 1 and 2, The Oriana Singers perform Baltic choral wonders live in Oak Park, including Tormis' Curse Upon Iron, a favorite solo.
February 21-23 I was tour with Schola Antiqua of Chicago in Cleveland and South Bend with music from Renaissance Prague curated by Erika Supria Honisch.
In March 2020 I was rehearsing with Bella Voce, Chicago A Cappella, and the Rockefeller Chapel Choir at the time of the first pandemic shutdown.
"Dean's firm vocalism, beautiful timbre and close attention to word meanings made the tenor's "Benedictus" a stirring declaration of belief."
- John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
"Tenor Matthew Dean delivered a stirring performance of the [Bernstein Hashkiveinu] solo."
- Chicago Classical Review
"Tenor Matthew Dean sang an affecting line, which Douglas and Kammen echoed and embellished with their strings."
- Boston Classical Review
"Matthew Dean is an ideal Evangelist, with a light high effortless voice"
- Herbert Burtis
"Matthew Dean sang beautifully, providing a robust low end and tastefully restrained vibrato as a firm foundation for the trio."
- Mark Nowakowski
"his soli rang through with clarity and soul"
- Chicago Classical Music
See & Hear
In Rama sonat gemitus (conductus)
Byron Colby Barn | Grayslake, IL
Ave Maria - Josquin
St. John Cantius | Chicago, IL
with Kuang-Hao Huang and David Patterson
Unity Temple | Oak Park, IL