Matthew Atherton is an organist and composer, and is presently teaching at Pembroke School. He received tuition in organ from Christa Rumsey and Dr. David Swale, and in composition and arranging from Tristram Cary. Atherton was the first Organ Scholar at St Peters Cathedral, Adelaide, in 1988, and was organist at St Francis Xaviers Cathedral from 1989 – 2010.
His professional career has featured many solo and ensemble performances, including engagements with the Adelaide Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, most of Adelaide’s major choirs, along with many performances for the Adelaide Town Hall’s annual organ recital series. He has also performed on numerous cathedral organs around the United Kingdom, Paris, and in Uppsala Cathedral, Sweden. As an organist, he maintains a keen interest in 20th Century and contemporary repertoire, in particular the work of Jehan Alain.
In 1998 he was a participant in workshops at the Calgary International Organ Festival (Canada) with the acclaimed Dr. Marie-Claire Alain (with whom he was also granted a private interview to speak about her brother Jehan). Atherton has also participated in masterclasses and similar events (locally and overseas), with distinguished organists including Dame Gillian Weir, Daniel Roth, and Thomas Trotter. In 2011, Atherton was a guest of the Jehan Alain Association in Romainmôtier, Switzerland, performing on the restored Albert Alain organ.
As composer, Atherton has written in numerous genres for video documentaries, solo organ works, electronic works, vocal, choral, theatre works, orchestral works, and small ensemble pieces. The Graduate Singers and Lumina Vocal Ensemble have premiered a number of his choral works, including the substantial “Requiem To The Unknown”, “In Riddles Disappearing”, “Around Us” and “Crossing Parallels”. In 1999, one of Adelaide’s foremost trios, the Cameo Trio, premiered his compositions “From Life” and the following year, “La Vie est Belle?” Atherton is currently working on an independent film score.
Atherton is a student of Buddhism and member of the Buddha House FPMT community in Adelaide.
In maintaining his sincere affection for Progressive Rock, Jazz, Electronic and Ambient music, Atherton has enjoyed a parallel occupation as a keyboard player in various original and cover bands throughout the years. From the 1990s, he was involved in Genesis Touch (Adelaide’s only Genesis tribute band, with Mark Trueack), Sound (with Mark Franco and Joe Toscano), Glass Onion (a Beatles cover band with Matt Goodluck and Mark Franco), and The William Campbell Conspiracy (also with Mark Franco).