Director of Music
Matthew Blaiden enjoys a busy and varied schedule as both an academic researcher and a musician. Matthew is currently pursuing doctoral research in the School of English at the University of Leeds, working particularly on the literature and culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Alongside this, he is active across the UK as an organist, conductor, and baritone, and he is Director of Music at St Stephen's, Rochester Row in the parish of St Stephen with St John, Westminster, where he is responsible for all music at St Stephen's and playing the organ for parish services in the world-famous St John's, Smith Square.
Matthew was educated at King’s College School, Wimbledon, where he sang in the school Chamber Choir under Daniel Phillips in many prestigious venues in the UK and on international tours across Ireland and Italy, and recorded a CD of Christmas music on which he was a soloist. Whilst at school, Matthew studied the piano with Muriel Levin and the organ and improvisation with Ronny Krippner. Matthew took a 1st Class Honours B.A. in English Language & Literature at King’s College London, and an M.Phil. in Medieval and Renaissance Literature from Gonville & Caius College at the University of Cambridge. Whilst studying in London he was awarded an organ scholarship at St Peter's Church, Petersham, and while at Cambridge he was appointed Assistant Organist at Little St Mary's Church, Cambridge. After Cambridge, Matthew returned to London and combined a busy freelance schedule with being the Director of Music at St Mary Magdalene, Richmond (Surrey) until September 2016. In October 2016, Matthew began his doctoral research at the University of Leeds, alongside which he sang with the Choir of Leeds Minster as a choral scholar under Paul Dewhurst. Matthew returned to London to complete his PhD and become Director of Music at St Stephen's, Rochester Row in September 2019. Continuing his organ studies throughout this time, Matthew has participated in masterclasses given by, amongst others, Jacques van Oortmerssen, Ashley Grote, William Whitehead, Tom Bell, and Graham Barber, and engaged in private study with Dame Gillian Weir and Nicolas Kynaston.
Matthew has been an increasingly busy organ recitalist across the UK, drawing on a varied repertoire spanning almost 700 years of music from the earliest known keyboard writing to contemporary music, including new pieces written for him by Will Barry and Ian de Massini. He has performed at King’s College London and in College chapels in Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham; at Portsmouth, Bradford, Sheffield, Chester, Blackburn, Newcastle, Hereford, and Westminster Cathedrals and both cathedrals in Southwark; at Leeds, Doncaster, Preston, and Stoke Minsters; as well as in many other churches and in the Reid Concert Hall in Edinburgh. While based in Leeds, Matthew also became more active in a freelance capacity as both a choral and solo singer. He has sung with such ensembles as The Meanwood Ensemble and The Swan Consort, and appeared as baritone soloist in such works as Fauré's Requiem, Howard Goodall's Eternal Light, and Stanford's Songs of the Fleet. Matthew is also active as piano accompanist, working especially with singers on both eclectic programmes and more focused projects such as a recent performance of Schumann's Frauenliebe und -leben.