Matthew Burtner

Director of Graduate Studies, Professor, Eleanor Shea Professor of Music (Composition & Computer Technologies)


Matthew Burtner is an Alaskan-born composer and sound artist specializing in concert music, environmental sound art and interactive media. His work explores ecology, embodiment, and extended polymetric and noise-based systems. He composes systems of human-computer-environment interaction, finding an aesthetic between human expression and environmental system. Burtner currently splits his time between Alaska and Virginia where he is Professor of Composition and Computer Technologies (CCT) in the Department of Music at the University of Virginia. He is founder of the environmental arts non-profit organization, EcoSono (

            First Prize Winner of the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Czech Republic), an NEA Art Works Grant Winner, an IDEA Award Winner, and a recipient of the Howard Brown Foundation Fellowship, Burtner has also received honors and awards from Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany) and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. His music has been performed in major festivals and venues throughout the world, and commissioned by ensembles such as Integrales (Germany), NOISE (USA), Trio Ascolto (Germany), Peak FreQuency (USA), MiN (Norway), Musikene (Spain), Spiza (Greece), CrossSound (Alaska), and others.

            Burtner studied composition, computer music and philosophy at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Iannis Xenakis’ UPIC Center in Paris, Tulane University in New Orleans and St. Johns College in Santa Fe. He received a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stanford University where he worked closely with Jonathan Harvey, Max Mathews and Brian Ferneyhough. He has also conducted major professional residencies at UWM's Center for 21st Century Studies (USA), Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), Pompeu Fabra Universidad (Spain), Musikene (Spain), Cite des Arts (France), IRCAM/Centre Pompidou (France), and The University of Missouri Kansas City (USA).

            Among published recordings for Summit (US), DACO (Germany), The WIRE (UK), MIT Press (US), Innova (US), ICMA (US), Centaur (US), EcoSono (US) and Euridice (Norway), Burtner has released six solo albums including the recently published “Auksalaq” (EcoSono), “That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies” (Centaur), and “NOISE plays BURTNER” (Innova). Jean Ferraca of Public Radio’s “Here on Earth’ says “It is music that draws from both beauty and horror of nature... He calls his music “ecoacoustics”. I say it’s the world song.” 

            Matthew Burtner is the Eleanor Shea Professor of Music at the University of Virginia.


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176