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Matthew Hough

Director of Musicianship

Matthew Hough (b. 1981) is a composer, performer and music scholar based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He relocated to Berkeley, California in 2015 after sixteen years of working in New York City’s eclectic music scene as a composer, performer, teacher and writer. Recent projects include concert music collaborations with pianists Anne Rainwater (Three Voices, 2018) and Dahveed Behroozi (New York Song, 2015); Hough’s debut pop record, When Summer Ends, was released on Brooklyn, NY label Original Abstractions in 2016.

Hough has received composition commissions from Iktus Percussion, Yarn/Wire, Loadbang, Red Light New Music and the Freeport, New York school district. He has received awards and grants from New Music USA, the Sally Mead Hands Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York University and the Manhattan School of Music. He has been a composer in residence at the Omi Arts Center (NY), Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild (NY), Atlantic Center for the Arts (FL), Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences (GA), Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Osage Arts Community (MO) and the Willapa Bay AiR Program (WA).

Hough’s work as a guitarist includes Music from the Notebook of Anna Magdalena Bach, a collection of plectrum guitar duets (sheet music and recorded album release) designed for teachers of intermediate students. He has performed with the Wet Ink Ensemble, Dither Guitar Quartet and Argento Chamber Ensemble.

Hough has authored articles published in the Society for Music Theory’s electronic journal Music Theory Online, Oxford University Press’ Grove Music Online and the journal Guitar Review.

Hough has lectured at institutions and conferences around the world on a variety of topics, including his own music, music theory, career development for musicians and music pedagogy.

His music can be heard on Original Abstractions and is published by Hough House.

Research Interests

Composition, Popular Music, Music Pedagogy, Theory, Musicianship

Selected Publications

“Elements of Style in Three Demo Recordings by Stevie Nicks.”  Music Theory Online 21, no. 1 (March 2015).

“Billone, Pierluigi.”  Grove Music Online.  Oxford University Press, January 13, 2015.

“Ligeti, Lukas.”  Grove Music Online.  Oxford University Press, January 13, 2015.

Selected Talks

Modular Loops: Toward an Integrated Theory Pedagogy for Cycle-Based Popular Music. Pedagogy Into Practice: Teaching Music Theory in the Twenty-First Century, Lee University (TN), 2017.

Learning Oliver Mtukudzi’s “Tuku Music” Through Modular Loops. Analytical Approaches to World Music International Conference, The New School (NY), 2016.

Jamaican Popular Music in the College Aural Skills Classroom. Ann Arbor Symposium IV: Teaching and Learning Popular Music, University of Michigan, 2015.

Ear Training Wizard: An Interactive Web-Based Application for Musicianship Skills Acquisition. Innovation Celebration Teaching Symposium, Wagner College, 2014.

Selected Compositions

Herzlich for organ (2018)

Three Voices for piano and stereo playback (2018)

Dark Space(s) for electric guitar, electronic keyboard and piano (2016)

When Summer Ends ten songs (2015)

Eleven Cells for any number of woodwind instruments and live electronics (2013)

Remembered States for female voice, flute, bassoon, trumpet, saxophone [t+s], violin, piano, electric guitar and percussion (2011)

pppppppppppppppp for four or more musicians (2010)

Step Into the Fun Zone for alto flute, clarinet, trumpet, tenor saxophone, electric guitar, piano, percussion, violin, viola and cello (2008)

Since We Don’t Understand… for electric guitar and piano (2007)

Woodworking for two tenor saxophones, two electric guitars and two percussionists (2005)

Previous Teaching Experience

Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, 2014-15

New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, 2013-15

Wagner College, 2013-15

Columbia University, 2012-14

Nyack College School of Music NYC, 2011-13

SUNY Empire State College, 2011-12


DMA (Composition), Manhattan School of Music, 2012.

BMus (Composition), Manhattan School of Music, 2004.