Colin Matthews was born in London in 1946. He studied at the universities of Nottingham and Sussex, and subsequently worked as assistant to Benjamin Britten, and with Imogen Holst. He collaborated with Deryck Cooke for many years on the performing version of Mahler's Tenth Symphony. Since the early 1970s, his music has ranged from solo piano music through five string quartets and many ensemble and orchestral works.

From 1992-9, Matthews was Associate Composer with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), a fruitful partnership that led to many substantial works, including a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich. Later, he was Composer-in-Association with the Hallé Orchestra (2001-10) and is now its Composer Emeritus. International commissions include Berceuse for Dresden (2005) for the New York Philharmonic, Grand Barcarolle (2011) for the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Turning Point for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (2006). Recent pieces include a second piano trio – Hidden Agenda – for the London Bridge Trio, a setting of Edward Thomas’s It Rains for Roderick Williams and the Nash Ensemble, and an orchestration of Debussy’s Images Book 1, premiered by the Luxembourg Philharmonic in 2018.

Matthews is Founder and Executive Producer of NMC Recordings, Executive Administrator of the Holst Foundation and Music Advisor and Joint President of Britten Pears Arts. He founded the Aldeburgh Composition Course with Oliver Knussen in 1992 and has been composition director of the LSO’s Panufnik Scheme since 2005. He holds honorary posts with several universities and is Prince Consort Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music.