KMFA ANNOUNCES SOPHIE MATHIEU AS THE 2024 DRAYLEN MASON COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCE
KMFA Classical 89.5 has announced local Austin-based female composer and cellist Sophie Mathieu as the 2024 Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence. Mathieu was unveiled as the 2024 composer live at KMFA Draylen Mason Studio where she performed two original chamber pieces for a private audience.
Launched in 2022, the Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence program honors the memory of Draylen Mason, a promising young Austin musician killed in 2018 by the Austin package bomber. In its infancy, the program has already successfully produced four new works for classical radio, first by Quinn Mason in 2022, followed by Clarice Assad in 2023. Both Mason and Assad spent an intensive one-week residency at KMFA. Austin-based Mathieu, the 2024 chosen composer, will have the opportunity to spend time in residency with KMFA over the course of the year participating in numerous events, education-related workshops and collaborations creating new, original work.
“I am honored to be the first local Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence! Austin boasts an incredibly vibrant contemporary classical scene, and I am thrilled to collaborate with KMFA to further elevate our city's rich musical tapestry,” said composer Mathieu. “I also can’t wait to collaborate on a new work with Austin Unconducted. Having grown up immersed in the string orchestra world, this project feels like a homecoming and an opportunity to express my gratitude to an ensemble type that played a pivotal role in shaping my musical identity.”
Following a few months of creative exploration, Mathieu will compose a String Chamber Ensemble work to be premiered this Fall. Details and ticketing information to be announced at a later date.
“For the 2024 residency, we focused on Central Texas, and found the perfect fit with Sophie Mathieu who first came to my attention while researching young Texas-based composers a couple of years ago,” said KMFA Director of Broadcasting & Content Anthony McSpadden, who conceived the program. “Her story is compelling! She found success as a cellist at Round Rock ISD’s Westwood High School and has won the Austin Symphony’s Sarah and Ernest Butler Texas Young Composer’s competition four times. A recent master's grad from the Butler School of Music, Sophie is already well-known among many of the ensembles and performers that partner with KMFA. Also, having a local composer provides a unique opportunity to create outreach and education events throughout the year without the time constraints of a shorter-term intensive residency.”
Sophie Mathieu will spend the next few months in residence with KMFA beginning late January, where supporters will get to hear some of her music, she will mentor Central Texas students including at Akins High School, Anderson High School, and others through various workshops and Q&A sessions about her piece Infinity Songs – a song cycle which uses text written by astrophysicist Haochen Wang that draws from her interest in dialoguing directly with science in her composition process, as well as activities involving composition and improv activities.
Throughout her residency, Mathieu will perform at KMFA’s annual Allegro Donor Brunch, co-curate and participate in SXSW Day Party at KMFA with composer Nathan Felix, in addition to other various KMFA events and series.
ABOUT SOPHIE MATHIEU:
Sophie Mathieu is a composer and cellist based in Austin, TX. She specializes in creating ambient, ethereal, and immersive works about vast, expansive places in the natural world. Her music has won her numerous awards, including her orchestral work, moons, which recently received an ASCAP Morton Gould award. Sophie has collaborated with ensembles across the US, including Alarm Will Sound, yMusic, and Eighth Blackbird.
As a performer, Sophie eagerly engages with any type of music making that is hands-on and fun. She is passionate about the (small but mighty) local new music scene in Austin and appears regularly with ensembles Less Than Ten and Density512. During her time pursuing a master’s in composition at the University of Texas, she served as the principal cellist of UT New Music Ensemble and the director of the CLUTCH concert series, a series of performances showcasing works composed by students.
Sophie plays in the Austin-based queer folk band Middle Sattre and the indie-alternative band Maru. She also loves early music and studied baroque cello and viola da gamba during her undergraduate studies, receiving the Colburn Scholarship in Early Music Performance for her work with USC’s Baroque Sinfonia. After UT Austin’s Early Music Ensemble "Austinato" was suspended temporarily during the Covid-19 pandemic, she enthusiastically took part when the program restarted during the 2022-2023 school year. Sophie also enjoys performing theatrical and non-traditional musical works, having recently performed Mayke Nas and Wouter Snoei’s I Delayed People’s Flights by Walking Slowly in Narrow Hallways.
In addition to her recently completed master’s in composition at UT Austin’s Butler School of Music, Sophie completed her undergraduate studies in composition at the University of Southern California. Her primary teachers include Ted Hearne, Andrew Norman, Alyssa Weinberg, Omar Thomas, and Donald Crockett. Sophie is passionate about teaching and is currently the Youth Director at Golden Hornet.
Outside of music, Sophie enjoys cooking plant-based food, playing Sid Meier's Civilization, and watching psychological horror films in her free time.
ABOUT KMFA COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCE:
The Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence program was created in response to national call for greater diversity in classical music. With classical music historically dominated by white (mostly male) composers, performers, and managers, the program focuses on works by composers of color and other overlooked and underrepresented communities, not only on concert stages, but also on record labels and on classical radio stations, which rely on recorded music for their daily playlists.