Nicholas Mathew was born in Norwich, in Norfolk, England, and took his first degree at Oxford University, studying the piano concurrently at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He holds a PhD from Cornell University, where he also studied period pianos with Malcolm Bilson. Before joining Berkeley, he returned to Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow in Music at Jesus College. For three years he was co-editor of the journal Eighteenth-Century Music, and he remains on its editorial board, as well as the advisory board of Eighteenth-Century Studies.
His published work has mainly focused on the relationships between music and politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: the place of music in political institutions, the role of music in public life, and the ways in which music constructs collective identity – as well as issues of political appropriation, subversion, musical trashiness, and political kitsch.
In his book, Political Beethoven (2013), he re-examines the politically charged rhetoric of Beethoven’s music and its later reception, teasing out relationships between his canonical music and the political schlock of the Napoleonic era, including his own alleged potboilers. The essays in the volume The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini (edited with Benjamin Walton in 2013) revisit the history of the fraught opposition between the two eponymous composers, and the artistic and philosophical traditions they have come to represent.
Music 27 (Introduction to Western Music), Music 150C (Piano Performance), Music 150H (Early Music Performance), Music 128 (Beethoven), Music 128 (Mozart and Haydn), Music 128 (Vienna 1900), Music 179 (Music, Aesthetics, Politics), Music 179 (Mozart and the Musical Languages of the Enlightenment), Music 220 (Music in Political Life from Handel to Wagner), Music 220 (Aesthetics and Political Economy, 1700-1850), Music 220 (New Histories of Eighteenth-Century Music), Music 220 (Muisc, Money, Materialism), Music 220 (Late Beethoven).
- Political Beethoven (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
- (Ed. with Benjamin Walton) The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini: Historiography, Criticism, Analysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
- “History under Erasure: Wellingtons Sieg, the Congress of Vienna, and the Ruination of Beethoven’s Heroic Style,” The Musical Quarterly 89/1 (2006).
- “Beethoven and His Others: Criticism, Difference, and the Composer’s Many Voices,” Beethoven Forum 13/2 (Fall 2006).
- “Heroic Haydn, the Occasional Work, and ‘Modern Political Music’,” Eighteenth-Century Music 4/1 (2007).
- “Beethoven’s Political Music, the Handelian Sublime, and the Aesthetics of Prostration,” Nineteenth-Century Music 33/2 (2009) – rpr. in Music and Ideology, ed. Mark Carroll (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2012).
- “Darmstadt Pianism, ‘Historically Informed’ Webern, and Modernism’s Vanishing Performer,” Keyboard Perspectives III (November 2010).
- “Introduction: Pleasure in History,” in The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini: Criticism, Historiography, Analysis, ed. Nicholas Mathew and Benjamin Walton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). (With B. Walton).
- “On Being There in 1824,” in The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini: Criticism, Historiography, Analysis, ed. Nicholas Mathew and Benjamin Walton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
- “’Achieved is the Glorious Work’: The Creation and the Choral Work Concept,” in Engaging Haydn: Context, Culture, and Criticism, ed. Mary Hunter and Richard Will (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
- “The Tangled Woof,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 134/1 (2009), 133–147.
Book Reviews, Encyclopedia Entries, Conference Reports, Short Articles, etc.
- Stephen Rumph, Beethoven After Napoleon: Political Romanticism in the Late Works (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), Current Musicology (Spring 2004).
- ASECS 2004, Eighteenth-Century Music 1/2 (2004).
- Various entries in The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopaedia, ed. Cliff Eisen and Simon Keefe (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2006).
- SMA 2007, Eighteenth-Century Music 4/2 (2007).
- James Currie, Music and the Politics of Negation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012), Journal of the American Musicological Society 68/1 (2015).
- Christoph Wolff, Mozart at the Gateway to His Fortune (New York: W. W. Norton, 2012), Eighteenth-Century Music 12/1 (2015).