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From State College to the Global Stage, SCASD Alum Matthew Shaw Has Found International Fame in the Operatic WorldMatthew Shaw, a 1993 State High grad, has established himself as one of the most exciting countertenors of his generation, performing in leading roles at internationally-acclaimed theatres. But long before he found global fame, the renowned opera singer was simply a young man who had a love for music. “I was interested in music as long as I can remember!” Shaw exclaims. But it wasn’t until the fourth grade where Matthew really began to take it seriously. “I started to take trumpet lessons, then switched to trombone in junior high. I continued my trombone studies through Park Forest Junior High and SCAHS, adding in piano lessons in tenth grade and singing lessons in eleventh grade.”

With the support of SCASD faculty, Matthew felt tremendous backing in his musical efforts. “There were so many important music teachers at SCASD!” he says. “Roger Munnell started it all in seventh-grade band, John Kovalchik was a huge force in my life from seventh through twelfth grade, and from my high school years, Richard Victor was always present, shaping me as a musician and supporting my emerging interest in music as a career. On the vocal side, I have Jessica Bowman to thank for getting me interested in singing and Samuel Rocco for his amazing support and encouragement when I was competing in choral competitions and auditioning for colleges.”

In high school, Matthew began focusing on singing. “Opera certainly was a big interest for me, especially during my senior year when I got serious about singing. I listened to as many recordings as possible, and to the weekly broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera,” he recalls. After graduation, Matthew pursued singing as a career, enrolling at Penn State University and receiving a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance.

It was there that Matthew discovered a treasured mentor. “Professor Kennedy was huge influence on my career. In the studio, I discovered true joy in singing and he set me up with a healthy vocal technique, something that serves me to his very day.” After PSU, Matthew went on to receive a Master’s Degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

Matthew began his career as a baritone, achieving success on both concert and operatic stages. In 2008, he switched to countertenor, debuting at the Landestheatre Linz. Since this debut, Matthew’s career has soared, including performing opposite Cecilia Bartoli in Handel’s Semele in Vienna; performing at Semperoper in Dresden, Germany; singing the lead role in the World Premier of Luca Ronchetti’s Esame Di Mezzanotte; and his roles in La Calisto, Giulio Cesare, Lear, among many others. Additionally, in 2011, Matthew was honored as the recipient of the PSU College of Arts & Architecture Alumni Award.

Looking ahead, Matthew has big plans for himself, including new roles, new opera houses and new continents. “I set my expectations high and am constantly striving to improve my craft. I would love to sing in the USA more, so hopefully soon I will be performing a little closer to home.”

For more information on Matthew’s career and to listen to audio excerpts, please visit his website at www.matthewshawcountertenor.com.