B i o g r a p h y
Matthew Kofi Waldren is a British conductor of Anglo-Ghanian heritage. Recognised as one the UK’s leading opera conductors of his generation, he has conducted at Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre, English National Opera (where he held the Mackerras Fellowship, 2016-2018), Scottish Opera, Opera North, West Green House Opera, G&S Opera Company, Tete a Tete, Grimeborn, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and debuts with Welsh National Opera in 2020. Matthew Kofi is closely connected with Opera Holland Park, has conducted a production in every season since 2013 and previously held the positions of Associate Conductor and Chorus Master.
Matthew Kofi is an acclaimed interpreter of the Italian repertoire. Recent and upcoming highlights include Rigoletto, Un ballo in maschera, La traviata, La rondine, Zanetto, Il barbiere di Siviglia (OHP), La bohème (Opera North, OHP), Gianni Schicchi (RCS, OHP), la cenerentola (WGHO), Don Giovanni (Opera North) and Le nozze di Figaro (ENO). Performances of French repertoire include Les mamelles de Tirésias (RCS), Pelléas et Mélisande (Scottish Opera), Lakmé and Les pêcheurs de perles (OHP). 20th and 21st century repertoire includes Paul Bunyan (ENO), Texting Heer (ROH R&D), Fantastic Mr Fox (OHP), and Strekosa y Muravej (Tete a Tete & Grimeborn). Matthew Kofi collaborates closely with composer Will Todd: He conducted Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (ROH Linbury, OHP, Wilderness, Signum Classics) and in 2020 he leads the world premiere of Todd's latest opera for a major UK company.
Matthew Kofi has been praised for his detailed, collaborative and text-led approach. As a BAME artist he advocates for extending opportunities for participating in, and for access to, classical music. He has taken orchestras including London Mozart Players and the Orchestra of ENO to new audiences at Wilton’s Music Hall, Camp Bestival and Wilderness and Harvest Festivals. He conducted the ROH Community Chorus at Watercity Festival and has conducted several QEH concerts with Chineke! With OHP he has conducted the UK’s first ‘relaxed’ opera performance, ‘minute maestro’ workshops, and over 80 performances of their family operas. Future work in opera includes working with majority BAME casts, a gospel choir, Bollywood performers, a First Nation singer, and an orchestra which incorporates sitar and tabla.
Matthew Kofi Waldren studied at RCM junior department, Cambridge University and GSMD. His mentors included Mark Wigglesworth, Martyn Brabbins, Manlio Benzi and John Owen Edwards. Matthew Kofi has since mentored young musicians at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, given masterclasses at Durham University and regularly conducts operas with the students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Alexander Gibson Opera School. Recent accolades include an Olivier nomination for ENO’s production of Paul Bunyan at Wilton’s Music Hall, and a ‘best newcomer’ nomination at the International Opera Awards.