Dr. Matthew W. Leese is a conductor, baritone, stage director and educator based in Keene, New Hampshire. A master of versatility, Leese received his Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Otago, Graduate Diploma in Historical Performance from the Longy School of Music, Masters in Early Music from Indiana University and Doctorate in Choral Conducting and Literature from the University of Illinois. Matthew’s reputation as an intelligent and thoughtful interpreter has led him to a path of successful appointments as a choral and opera conductor.
Recent noted projects have included co-founding and directing Zenith Ensemble, Northern New England's new professional choir, directing and conducting Hans Krasa’s Brundibar for the Redfern Arts Center Voices of Terezin series, Benjamin Britten’s The Little Sweep with Keene State Opera and the Colonial Theatre, Voices of the Bay in New Brunswick, period performances of Bach’s Johannespassion with Monadnock Chorus, and designing a Ewing Arts Award-winning season with the Chamber Singers of Keene. Additional regular conducting responsibilities include directing the Keene State College Vocal Consort and Concert Choir, the St Andrews Spring Sing in New Brunswick, and serving as artist in residence with the Boston City Singers.
As a baritone, Leese appears frequently as a concert soloist and professional chorister, performing with medieval ensemble LIBER, SPIRE (Kansas City) and TACTUS (Oklahoma City). Matthew has studied voice with Cynthia Haymon, Robert Harrison, Paul Elliott, Laurie Monahan and Judy Bellingham and conducting with Fred Stoltzfus, Chester Alwes, Jack Speirs and Michael Joel. He has performed in masterclass and coachings with Tony Thornton, Wayne Abercrombie, Joseph Flummerfelt, Simon Carrington, Håkan Hagegård, Nigel North, Dana Maiben, Frances Conover Fitch, and Karen Grylls.