Matthew Lipman

"Mr. Lipman demonstrated a rich tone and elegant phrasing in the slow opening movement, with its elegiac, wandering melodies, and a fleet-fingered technique in the vivacious second movement." - The New York Times
a brown-haired white man in his late 20s smiles as he hugs his viola

American violist Matthew Lipman has been praised by the New York Times for his “rich tone and elegant phrasing,” and by the Chicago Tribune for a “splendid technique and musical sensitivity.” Lipman has become one of the most sought-after instrumentalists of his generation, frequently appearing as both a soloist and chamber musician.   

Lipman recently debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe at the Rheingau Music Festival, and the American Symphony Orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center, with additional appearances including the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Brevard Sinfonia, and Ensemble Resonanz.

He has collaborated with leading conductors including the late Sir Neville Marriner, Edward Gardner, Osmo Vänskä, Nicholas McGegan, Leon Botstein, Josep Caballé-Domenech, and Yue Bao. Additionally, he has performed solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Zürich Tonhalle, among others, and has been a featured soloist at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Wigmore Hall in London, Seoul’s Kumho Art Hall, and at Michael Tilson Thomas’s Viola Visions Festival at the New World Symphony in Miami. 

In 2023, Lipman performed chamber music by André Previn with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter at Carnegie Hall, and on tour at the Berlin Philharmonie, Frankfurt Alte Oper, and the Vienna Musikverein, the latter of which was recorded and released on Deutsche Grammophon and DG STAGE+. With pianist Jeremy Denk, he produced Nightwanderer, an interactive viola and piano recital based on the poetry of Joseph von Eichendorff and Alfred de Musset, which was filmed and released by Dreamstage LIVE. He performed Clarice Assad’s Metamorfose (a piece composed for him in 2018) in a live WQXR broadcast celebrating pride hosted by drag queen Thorgy Thor, and, together with violinist Stella Chen, curated a boundary-breaking solo/duo concert experience that was presented on the Violin Channel’s Vanguard Concerts Series II. Additionally, Lipman appeared on Season 48 of PBS' Great Performances, where he performed and discussed Schubert’s “Arpeggione” Sonata on the show Now Hear This

In 2019, Lipman released the world premiere recording of the newly discovered Shostakovich Impromptu for viola and piano, which was a feature of his debut solo album, Ascent, with pianist Henry Kramer. The album was celebrated as “most impressive” by The Strad Magazine and was released by Cedille Records. In 2022, he recorded The Dvoƙák Album, an album released by Sony Classical and performed by musicians from the Moritzburg Festival, and in 2015, when he was 22 years old, he was featured as soloist on a Billboard Classical chart-topping recording of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with violinist Rachel Barton Pine and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner and released by Avie Records. 

As a proponent of performing the music of living composers, Lipman has premiered works by Clarice Assad, Helen Grime, Malika Kishino, and David Ludwig, and has worked closely with Andreia Pinto Correia, Brett Dean, Gabriela Lena Frank, the late Kaija Saariaho, and Richard Wernick. In the 2024/25 season, he will premiere a piece by Joel Thompson for mezzo soprano, viola, and piano with singer Jamie Barton and pianist Tamara Sanikidze at Boston’s Celebrity Series, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and others, as commissioned by the Music Accord consortium.

The maiden recipient of the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Artists Chair, Lipman performs regularly in New York and on tour with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and regularly collaborates with violinists Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, and Benjamin Beilman; violists Tabea Zimmermann, Antoine Tamestit, and Timothy Ridout; cellists David Finckel and Jan Vogler; pianists Jeremy Denk, Igor Levit, Sir András Schiff, Mitsuko Uchida, and Wu Han; and the Calidore and Dover String Quartets. Additionally, Lipman is a frequent guest artist at the Bridgehampton, Bad Kissingen, Kronberg, La Jolla, Marlboro, Menlo, Ravinia, Reno, Rheingau, Saratoga, Seattle, and Wolf Trap music festivals. 

In 2023, together with the acclaimed violinist Stella Chen and cellist Brannon Cho, Lipman formed a string trio that performed for the first time at the Casals Forum in Kronberg, Germany, and has since debuted in New York, Boston, Toronto, and Chicago (Ravinia). 

Lipman has been featured as Artist-in-Residence for the American Viola Society, on the Violin Channel as a “VC Artist”, and on WFMT Chicago’s list, “30 Under 30”, of the world’s top classical musicians. He has been a published contributor to The Strad, Strings and BBC Music magazines, and has been a guest on the MusicianCentric, Together with Classical, and Mind Over Finger podcasts.

Lipman is the recipient of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, has won top prizes in the Primrose, Tertis, Washington, Johansen, and Stulberg International competitions, and is an alumni of the Bowers Program. He attended the Juilliard School as the recipient of the inaugural Kovner Fellowship, where he studied with viola pedagogue Heidi Castleman, and was further mentored by renowned violist Tabea Zimmermann at the Kronberg Academy in Germany. 

A native of Chicago, Matthew Lipman is on faculty at Stony Brook University in New York, where he teaches viola to graduate students. When he’s not practicing or performing on the viola made for him in 2021 in Brooklyn by Samuel Zygmuntowicz, he’s probably eating donuts, drawing floor plans, or watching tennis matches.