Philip Matthias

Born in Sydney, Philip graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) from the University of Sydney and undertook postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London, studying organ and conducting. He gained his Fellowship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists, winning also that College’s prize for its Choir Training Diploma.

As conductor and organist he has performed in many of the world’s great venues, including Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, the Vatican, the Lincoln Centre, New York, National Millennium Monument, Beijing, and Victoria Hall, Geneva.

In 1984 he was appointed to Newcastle Conservatorium, and from 1983 – 2006 he held the position of Organist and Master of the Choristers at Newcastle Cathedral.

Philip is currently Senior Lecturer and Convenor of the B Mus degree at Newcastle University. He is Artistic Director of the University’s Chamber Choir, Echology. Under his direction the Choir has toured internationally nine times, including performances in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Geneva Hall, Geneva, Lincoln Centre NY, Seoul Theological University and the National Millennium Monument, Beijing. The Choir has also undertaken twelve live broadcasts for BBC Radio. Under his direction the Choir has won numerous prizes and awards, including Channel 7’s Battle of the Choirs, ABC Adult Choir of the Year, first places at the National Choral Eisteddfod and Sydney Eisteddfod, and internationally, two first places at the World Choir Games in Shaoxing (People’s Republic of China) and Silver Medals and the same competition in New York (2012).

Philip’s discography as both organist and conductor includes sixteen compact disc releases. He is renowned as an adjudicator and composer, and is published in the New Australian Hymn Book Together in Song. In 2008 Philip was awarded a Citation from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council for ‘developing a vibrant and creative culture of choral and organ music that inspires and motivates students to perform professionally at international levels’.

Philip has been recognised by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council for his excellence in teaching, namely, the Australian Award for University Teaching which recognises significant contributions to enhancing the quality of learning and teaching in higher education. He has also been awarded a Citation from the ALTC for ‘developing a vibrant and creative culture of choral and organ music that inspires and motivates students to perform professionally at international levels’.

At the 2008 Convocation Annual Awards, Philip was the recipient of the prestigious Newton-John Award. Philip was awarded the University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in the Faculty of Education and the Arts and the Vice- Chancellor’s Award for Teaching and Learning Support in 2009, the latter being presented to ‘the most outstanding candidate’ from across the University.

Philip has particular interest in Australian choral music, including that of the Torres Strait Islands. In 2015 Philip presented a paper in Oxford- Torres Strait Islander postcolonial Christian song: ‘It’s our identity, who we are’, and a special presentation at the United Nations Youth Assembly in New York – The Arts and global development. In 2016 he returned to the UN with Newcastle University students where they presented performances in the UN General Assembly Hall at the closing of the Youth Assembly, and at Columbia University.  In 2018 Philip will travel to Canada with Echology and UON Indigenous students for 12 days of performances at the International Choral Kathaumixw held at Powell River and Vancouver Island.

Philip Matthias in the 2018 Newcastle Music Festival