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Matthew Hough

Associate Professor (Teaching)

Matthew Hough is a composer, theorist and performer working on new and popular music.

His compositions have been described as “unnervingly exacting” (Time Out: New York), “mood music if you’re in a mental home” (Howard Stern) and “awful but also kind of brilliant” (Richard Danielpour) and performed and recorded by groups including the Wet Ink Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, Loadbang, the Locrian Chamber Players and Iktus Percussion.

Hough’s research on music theory and pedagogy has been published in Music Theory Online and presented in papers to the College Music Society (2019), Analytical Approaches to World Music (2016) and the Ann Arbor Symposium IV (2015).

As a singer and multi-instrumentalist, he co-founded avant-garde chamber groups Zs, Seductive Sprigs and Music=quals.

Hough’s current work includes concert, electronic and popular music composition and performance, as well as theory and analysis of popular song. He currently teaches composition and theory at the University of California, Berkeley.

Research Interests

composition, theory, performance

Selected Compositions

Three Takes for one or more musicians (2022)

High Rocks for glockenspiel and stereo playback (2021)

Mind Music for vibraphone (2021)

Traces for electric guitar and piano (2020)

Five Miniatures for flute, clarinet, violin and viola (2019)

Herzlich for organ (2018)

Three Voices for piano and stereo playback (2018)

Shadows ten songs (2017)

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 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)

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

Ear Training with Peer Performance Dictation. College Music Society National Conference, 2019.

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 Previous Teaching Experience

Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, 2014-15 (subject: ethnomusicology)

New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, 2013-15 (subjects: theory, ear training)

Wagner College, 2013-15 (subjects: composition, theory)

Columbia University, 2012-14 (subjects: theory, ear training)

Nyack College School of Music NYC, 2011-13 (subjects: composition, theory, ear training, improvisation)

SUNY Empire State College, 2011-12 (subjects: theory, musicology)


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

MMus (Composition), Manhattan School of Music, 2009.

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