tenor and program curator
"Stellar." - Chicago Tribune
“Setting the tone” (Pittsburgh Music Alliance) with “affecting line” (Boston Classical Review), tenor 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. He co-founded The Rookery choir in 2011.
Welcome and calendar
Wishes of health and hope in 2021 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.
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.
February 21-23 I'll be on tour with Schola Antiqua of Chicago in Cleveland and South Bend with music from Renaissance Prague curated by Erika Supria Honisch.
On March 8 I get to sing Ruth Bader Ginsburg's pot roast recipe in Notorious RBG in Song.
Canceled: On March 14-15 I'll explore Lost Objects, a modern perspective on Baroque Oratorio, with Bella Voce in Evanston and Chicago.
Canceled: On April 23 I will be the tenor soloist for the Mozart Requiem at Rockefeller Chapel with members of the Haymarket Opera Orchestra.
Postponed to 2021: On the last two weekends of April I'll perform Swing with Chicago A Cappella.
Canceled: On May 16-17 Bella Voce will revisit some English and modern masterworks on the theme of Outcasts.
Moved online: On June 28 I'll be performing the Notorious RBG song cycle for the National Association of Teachers of Singing in Knoxville, TN.
Canceled: In July, the RBG crew will be in residence in Milwaukee at the Democratic National Convention!
Canceled: In August and September, our annual summer Renaissance performances with His Majesty's Men, The Rookery, and King Solomon's Singers will commence (watch each page for final dates).
Postponed to future seasons: Save the date for a full fall with The Newberry Consort in music from the Jewish diaspora and Mexican Baroque Christmas!
December 14-15 (2019): Sing We Joyous! at First United | Oak Park, IL
December 6-8 (2019): A Mexican Christmas with the Newberry Consort | Chicago, IL
November 24: Schola Antiqua at The Cloisters | New York City, NY
"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
November 17 (2019): Sounds of Faith at the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music | Kalamazoo, MI
October 19 and 22 (2019): Chicago Architecture Biennial with the Oriana Singers | Chicago, IL
September 21 (2019): Transept | Sioux Falls, SD
"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