David Matthews was born in London in 1943 and started composing at the age of sixteen. He read Classics at the University of Nottingham where he is an Honorary Doctor of Music. He spent three years as an assistant to Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh in the late 1960's.
His musical language grew out of his English Background and his special concern for the music of Tippett, Britten and Maw; but it is also strongly connected to the central European tradition, back through Mahler and ultimately to Beethoven. Matthews has been much concerned with working in the great inherited forms of the past - symphony, string quartet, lately oratorio - and finding ways of renewing them.
To date he has written four symphonies, eight string quartets; also four symphonic poems - two of which, In the Dark Time and Chaconne, have recently been recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the NMC label. His numerous chamber works include commissions for the Schubert Ensemble, Nash Ensemble, Brodsky Quartet, Brindisi Quartet and many others.