Thomas Matthews

Thomas Matthews

Thomas Matthews

Composer

Thomas Matthews was born at Utica, NY, April 1, 1915 and, at the age of 8, sang under Norman Coke-Jephcott recently arrived from Coventry Cathedral. At 17 he assisted Coke-Jephcott at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City where he continued to be influenced by the leading church musicians of the time – David McK. Williams, T. Tertius Noble, Ernest Mitchell, Channing Lefevre and Lynwood Franam. In 1936 he accepted the post of Organist/Choirmaster at St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Chestnut Hill) in Philadelphia where he met and married Mary Newberry in 1943. During WWII Dr. Matthews conducted the famous Blue Jacket Choir and after the war assumed the music position at St. Luke’s, Evanston, Illinois. He also served on the Northwestern University School of Music faculty and was director of music for Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. It was during this time in Chicago that his children Sarah and Roger were born, he founded the North Shore Chapter of the AGO and the Evanston Bach Choir, and became Dean of the Evergreen Conferences. In 1960, at the urging of Bishop Powell of Oklahoma, Tom and Mary moved their family to Tulsa where he became Trinity Church’s Organist/Choirmaster. While in Tulsa he founded the music department at Holland Hall School, served on the faculty of the University of Tulsa, and supervised the design and installation of the IV/82 Moller which continues to serve the greater Tulsa community. Dr. Matthews composed over thirty published anthems of which “The Lord Is My Shepherd” is best known. It has sold well over one million copies. Tom’s skills as an improviser were legendary and some of the extant recordings of his improvisations are being transcribed for publication. Dr. Matthews passed away April 10, 1999.

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