Alumni Profile: Matthew Hindson

“Thanks @wollconmusic – you saved my teenaged years, I tell you that! Such an invigorating musical environment. It set me up for my entire musical future.”

Prof. Matthew Hindson AM

Deputy Head of School and Deputy Dean, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

We don’t think you can get a better testimonial than that. Professor Hindson is one of Australia’s great modern-day composers currently based near Geelong, Victoria where he composes musical masterpieces in his home studio that are performed world-wide.

He has composed music for all the symphony orchestras in Australia and many ballet companies across the world and is currently working on a ballet that is premiering in the U.S in March 2022.

“I’ve worked really hard to get where I am and I love what I’m doing. I’ve got music in my head,” he says.

How it began at WollCon

Matthew started learning violin at the age of 5 from Hiroko Primrose, behind the Wesley Church in Crown St. Wollongong – when the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music first began.

During his time at WollCon three people stood out for Matthew. First, there was Mrs Powell, who took theory and musicianship classes.

“How she managed to teach so many for so long is beyond me. She was a very nice person and very thorough, as well. I still have the handwritten report from one of my Music Theory exams from that time.”

There was also Mr John Stender, who conducted the Wollongong Conservatorium String Orchestra.

“We did a lot of challenging repertoire with him and being in the orchestra engendered a real sense of community. I also did Chamber Music classes with him. Again, I don’t know where he got the patience for all of it from.”

And finally Mr Powell, who was the CEO of the Wollongong Conservatorium when Matthew was deciding what to do with his future in music.

“He was my first composition teacher and I still remember his lessons. It just goes to show that as a teacher, one never knows the future impact you might have on students.”

For Matthew his future was in music composition.

It was clear that Matthew loved playing music and being creative, but didn’t enjoy solo performing. He explains. “When I was in high school I also wrote computer games – computer programming is very similar to composing as it is about problem-solving.”

For Matthew the Conservatorium provided a nurturing place that was full of people as interested in music as he was. In addition to a very solid musical foundation, it provided a great social network that he found very stimulating.

“It’s not just the teachers, but the other students as well that make a difference. My advice to music students today is to take as many opportunities to interact with others as you possibly can, including being part of ensembles and performances. You will learn so much and have fun at the same time.”

Hindson returning to WollCon

Matthew Hindson will be returning to WollCon for a 50th birthday concert with the BlueScope Youth Orchestra, playing a new commission he’s been working on.

It will be not only a celebration of the group’s long standing partnership with the steel-making company, but also a celebration for one of its blast furnaces also turning 50th in 2022.

“My first string quartet, “Industrial Night Music”, was directly inspired by the steelworks at Port Kembla and Whyalla. So it can definitely be a source of inspiration in all manner of ways.”

Matthew has a particular interest in death metal and techno in his compositions and often brings these aspects into the classical world – which not many people do.

“In my musical ideas for this new commission, I will have the clanking and clunking of machinery in different patterns, but all working in sync.”

Matthew was the perfect alumni to be asked to commission a piece for WollCon’s 50th birthday given when he finished high school he started as a computer programmer at BHP in Port Kembla.

“I also worked in the actual Blast Furnace at the steelworks at Whyalla, so I know what the blast furnace is all about!”

“The other thing about steelmaking is that it is a monument to human achievement and endeavour. I mean, it’s a massive thing in itself, dedicated to turning iron ore from the ground into an incredibly important part of our civilisation – steel. We couldn’t do without it. So I will be trying to reflect that in the composition. A sense of majesty, of grandeur and great power.” Said Matthew.