Sophie Mathieu is a composer and cellist based in Austin, TX. She seeks to create immersive works dealing with vast, expansive, and timeless places in the natural world. Her music has won her numerous awards, including her orchestral work, moons, which recently received an ASCAP Morton Gould award. Sophie has collaborated with ensembles across the US, including Alarm Will Sound, yMusic, and Eighth Blackbird.
As a performer, Sophie eagerly engages with anything that is hands-on and fun, which most frequently means new music, early music, performance art, and playing in bands. She is passionate about the local new music scene in Austin and appears regularly with ensembles Less Than Ten and Density512. During her time pursuing a masters in composition at the University of Texas, she served as the principal cellist of UT New Music Ensemble and the director of the CLUTCH concert series, a series of performances showcasing works composed by students.
Sophie also plays in the Austin-based queer folk band Middle Sattre and the indie-alternative band Maru. She loves early music and studied baroque cello and viola da gamba during her undergraduate studies, receiving the Colburn Scholarship in Early Music Performance for her work with USC’s Baroque Sinfonia. Sophie also enjoys performing theatrical and non-traditional musical works, having recently performed Mayke Nas and Wouter Snoei’s I Delayed People’s Flights by Walking Slowly in Narrow Hallways.
In addition to her recently completed masters in composition at UT Austin’s Butler School of Music, Sophie completed her undergraduate studies in composition at the University of Southern California. Her primary teachers include Ted Hearne, Andrew Norman, Alyssa Weinberg, Omar Thomas, and Donald Crockett.
Sophie is passionate about teaching and is currently the Youth Director at Golden Hornet. Outside of music, Sophie enjoys cooking plant-based food, playing Sid Meier's Civilization V, and watching psychological horror films in her free time.
Sophie pronounces her last name as "matt-YUH"
I am a composer influenced by large-scale natural phenomena; were I a visual artist, I’d probably be doing landscapes. My works draw on vastness, places that are uninhabitable by humans (in particular, the ocean and outer space), and the intersection between beauty and danger in the natural world.
My works come from an interest in using acoustic ensembles with or without fixed media. Within the last few years, I’ve been learning about ways to incorporate elements of live processing into my works and have also become interested in the acousmatic medium. I write non-programmatic music, and I love layering extended techniques into gradually shifting, multi-dimensional textural layers. I’m interested in exploring musical language that directly creates a feeling in the listener, without reference or representation. My work draws on my experience as a cellist and collaborator across artistic disciplines.
Another recent interest of mine has been dialoguing directly with science in my composition process. I recently finished Infinity Songs, a song cycle which uses text written by astrophysicist Haochen Wang, and I hope to continue to collaborate with the scientific community in future works.
I hope that my work will inspire people to appreciate nature, learn more about it from a scientific perspective, and, ultimately, support research and conservation efforts.