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Matthew Burtner Catalog of Works

The catalog is organized by large ensemble, small ensemble, solo instrument, percussion, voice, music for dance/theater, multimedia opera, computer ensemble, sound installation and computer music, and music for film. Performance materials for select pieces are published by Matthew Burtner and available on this website exclusively in the Store.


Large Ensemble:

Symphony in Grass (2024) for orchestra and grassland ecoacoustics, 30’  

instrumentation: flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, bassoon, F horn, C trumpet, percussion, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass, amplified grasses + fixed media audio playback (2 channels)

Threnody (Sikuigvik) (2015/2024) version for orchestra, video, electronics and glacier sounds, 8:30

instrumentation: indeterminate + fixed media audio playback 

Sound Cast of Matanuska Glacier (2019) for instrumental ensemble and glacier ecoacoustics, 19’  

instrumentation: flute, clarinet, two violin, viola, cello, double bass + fixed media audio playback (2 or 8 channels)


Transient Landscapes (2018) for human/glacier orchestra (minimum 29 parts), 13-channel surround sound and glacier ecoacoustics, 60’

instrumentation: specially designed instruments by collaborator and co-creator, Matthew Duvall. 

MB note: “The piece transplants a life-sized acoustic model of a glacier to another place, and participants perform it”


Avian Telemetry (2018) for 12 percussionists, poetry and ecoacoustics, 33’

instrumentation: 24 plastic egg rattles, 4 small electric fans with front grill removed, 8 stiff feathers, 2 large concert bass drums, 4 guiros, 4 snare drums, 6 ocarinas, 4 vibraslaps, 4 flexatones, 4 cabasa, keyboard percussion instruments (marimbas, vibraphones, glockenspiels, etc), vocal percussion + spoken word  + fixed media audio playback (2 or 3 channels).

In 8 movements


Threnody (Sikuigvik) (2015) for instrument(s), electronics and glacier sounds, 7’

instrumentation: indeterminate + fixed media audio playback 


Ecoacoustic Concerto (Eagle Rock) (2015) for two trumpets, ensemble and sonic ecology, 30'

instrumentation: two trumpets in Bb (optional one trumpet), flute, alto saxophone in Eb, keyboard (piano or similar), electric guitar, contrabass (upright bass played pizz and arco), percussion 1 (sand blocks, vibraphone, large bass drum, small bass drum, low tom, three medium toms, two high drums such as bongos, four high wood blocks or tuned piece of shale, two shaker rattles, amplified bowl of dirt and stone), percussion 2 (amplified stones, snare drum, cymbals, assorted drums, amplified bowl of dirt and stone + audience interaction (each audience member receives two small stones and a personal score) + fixed media audio playback 


Prismic Generations (2005) for struck and bowed pitched instruments, video and computer sound, 10:00

instrumentation: indeterminate struck and bowed pitched instruments + fixed media video-audio playback 


Windprints (2005) for large ensemble and wind ecoacoustics, 12:00

instrumentation: 1-3 flutes, indeterminate brass, winds and strings 

MB note: “The instruments play a spectral mapping of the wind energy. There is no electronic playback.”


Endprint (2003) for nine tenor saxophones, 10:00

instrumentation: nine tenor saxophones in Bb 

Sikuigvik (1998) piano and large ensemble, 18:30

instrumentation: piano solo, flute/piccolo, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, two violins, viola, cello, double bass. 

MB note: “Ecoacoustic music mapping melting ice into ensemble music, movement, spectral transformation and light.”


Portals of Distortion (1998) for nine tenor saxophones, 17:00

instrumentation: nine tenor saxophones in Bb 

Variants (1997) for piccolo and large ensemble, 14:00

instrumentation: piccolo, bass clarinet, contrabassoon, bass trombone, tuba, piano, percussion (bass drum, tam tam, low tom), cello, double bass. 

MB note: “The piccolo juxtaposes with a large low ensemble, like the violin and bass drum texture of Ricercare expanded into a concerto."


Small Ensemble:

Dreams of Seagrasses (2023) for indeterminate ensemble and sea grass sonification

instrumentation: Pitched instruments + fixed media audio playback

Elegy (Muir Glacier 1889-2009) (2017) for string quartet and glacier sonification

instrumentation: 2 violin, viola, cello + fixed media audio playback

Oyster Communion (2023) for voice, oyster reef field recordings, and oyster shell ensemble, 5’ 

instrumentation: voice + fixed media audio playback + amplfied oyster shells

Auroras (2021) for northern lights sonification and instrumental ensemble, 10’ 

instrumentation: indeterminate melodic instruments + fixed media audio playback

Festival of Whispers (2019) for ensemble (fl, cl, vln, vcl, pno, perc) and ecoacoustics

instrumentation: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion + fixed media audio playback + audience interaction whisper part.

Profiled from Atmospheres (2017) for saxophone, percussion and greenhouse gas sonification, 10'

instrumentation: amplified alto saxophone and percussion + computer software audio playback

The Ceiling Floats Away (2016) for spoken voice, chamber ensemble and electronics

instrumentation: live spoken voice or prerecorded spoken voice + flute, clarinet, cello, piano and percussion + fixed media audio playback

Moth Music (Nocturne) (2015) for two instruments and electronics, 10'

instrumentation: two instruments with a brassy quality such as sax and trumpet + fixed media audio playback.

MB note: "This music was composed for moths and humans. Moths hear with two feather-like ears on their thorax. The sound is performed for humans, recorded, and transposed up into the range of moth hearing, which is entirely outside of the range of human hearing. Moths only use their hearing to detect bat calls and I wanted them to have something pleasurable to listen to, instead of only imminent death. Also, the music is designed to disrupt bat echolocation, so the moths are safer while listening to this music."

Spectral Shift of a Distance Form (2014) for tenor saxophone, cellos (2-6 players) and computer sound, 13’

instrumentation: tenor saxophone, two to six cellos, and interactive software audio playback in six channel surround sound. 

Flute Code (2014) for flute quartet and laptops, 8’ 

instrumentation: four flutes + four laptops running interactive software

Deep Earth (2013) for ensemble, computer sound and video, 45’ 

instrumentation: tenor saxophone, two to six cellos, and interactive software audio playback in six channel surround sound. tenor sax, violin, viola, keyboard, electric guitar, electric bass, two percussion (two bass drums, two glockenspiel, vibraphone, specially constructed "tectonic" and "seismographic" instruments) 


Carving Light From Earth (2013) for chamber ensemble and computer sound

instrumentation: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano + fixed media audio playback

Coral Attractions (2011) for soprano and bass instrument, and coral reef ecoacoustics 

instrumentation: one high instrument, one low instrument, artificial coral (played by the musicians), + audio playback. 

A’aa (2009) for flute, clarinet, lava and lava field recording, 9’

instrumentation: flute, clarinet, amplified lava rocks + fixed media audio playback

Cloudprints (2007) for indeterminate instrumental ensemble and computer 10-20’’

instrumentation: indeterminate instrumental ensemble + computer sound (fixed media or performed live by an ensemble of computers)

(dis)Sensus (2007) for violin, alto sax, piano, percussion and computer interaction, 16’

instrumentation: violin, alto sax, piano, percussion (bell, amplified pencil on paper, sand paper, stones, guiro, amplified objects chosen by musician, musical saw, sax mouthpiece, three snare drums, toy piano, cymbal) + computer processing of amplified instruments and interactive computer part. 

MB note: The piece is in seven movements.

Sxueak (2006) for squeaky toys and computer sound, 8’

instrumentation: any number of musicians playing squeaky toys (like dog chew toys)  + microphone and interactive computer software.

Pulling in the Light (2005) for mandolin and ensemble (2 vln, cl, vcl, tbn, drum), 13’

instrumentation: mandolin solo, hand drum solo, two violin, clarinet, cello, trombone

Windgrains (2005) for flute and percussion, ca 8'00" 

instrumentation: flute and percussion (glockenspiel, sand paper, small stones, rattles, large hand drum, three toms, large muted bass drum.

Tingnikvik (2001) for viola, alto saxophone, piano, noise generators 11:00 

instrumentation: viola, alto saxophone, piano + portable noise generators moved in the hall (fixed media playback) + optional video part

Signal Ruins (2000) for piano/percussion (3 players) and electronics, 50:00 

instrumentation: piano, two percussion bowing the piano, two large bass drums + fixed media audio playback

Snowprints (2001) for flute, cello, piano, electronics and video, 16:00 

instrumentation: flute, cello, piano + fixed media audio playback + optional video part

Polyrhythmicana (2002) for flute, cello, guitar, percussion and 4-channel computer click track, 15:00

instrumentation: flute/picc, cello, guitar (classical acoustic and steel string acoustic), percussion (vibraphone w/variable motor, C crotale, foot pedal bass drum, large prepared bass drum, four cymbals, sand paper, guiro, five wood blocks, vibraslap, two rattles) +  4-channel computer click track played back in headphones, one track for each musician. 

Shenandoah Tactics two improvising musicias and hurricane field recording 12’

instrumentation: N/A (improv) + electronic playback in headphones

Denali Tactics two performers, two prepared speakers, and Denali field recording 5’

instrumentation: specially constructed speaker instrument + fixed media playback.

Kunikluk (1999) for ensemble and noise generators, 10:00

instrumentation: piccolo (sand blocks and rattles), bass clarinet (sand blocks and rattles),  violin, cello, percussion (large bass drum, foot pedal bass drum, three cymbals and glockenspiel) + fixed media audio playback.

Incantation S4-X (1999) for saxophone quartet and computer-generated sound, 13:00

instrumentation: soprano, alto, tenor, bariton saxophones + fixed media audio playback.

Ricercare (1990/93) violin and bass drum, 8:00

instrumentation: violin, large bass drum

MB note: "The oldest piece included in my catalog, this piece already had some characteristic elements of my style -- the stark high and low voices, and the binary interaction of expressive human and environmental temporalities."




Catalog of Roughness (2017) for instrument, stones and electronics, indeterminate duration

instrumentation: any instrument(s) + stones + multi-controller + interactive software

The Speed of Sound in an Ice Rain (2016) for percussion ensemble and electronics, 6'

instrumentation: Marimba (one or two instruments, each with one or more players), Vibraphone (two players, each also playing a glockenspiel) 2 glockenspiel (played by the lib players), Xylophone, and other pitched instruments may be added, using the “Additional Instruments” part.

Glisten of Places (2014) for percussion and electronics, 24 movements, variable duration 

instrumentation: one performer playing four complex resonant instruments (such as triangles), and two sizzle cymbals or gongs.

Sonic Physiography of a Time-Stretched Glacier (2014) for percussion and electronics, 15'

instrumentation: one performer playing vibraphone, three cymbals, three triangles, three pitched bells, two egg shakers + computer or fixed media electronics.

Ecotones (2013) for percussion solo and ecoacoustics, 18’ 

instrumentation: one performer playing bamboo chimes, sea shell chimes, bowl of leaves, bowl of earth and stones, 2 wooden bowls in amplified water, maraca, wood block, high bell, wind gong, 3 crash cymbals ( 14", 16", 18" ), tam tam, bongos, 4 boo bams/ octabons, 3 roto/double headed toms (10, 12, 13/14” ), 18” tom, kick drum

Song for Low Tree (2012) for percussion and computer sound, 10’ 

instrumentation: large log drum, three wood blocks, low floor tom, large bass drum + 3 microphones + percussionist humming or an additional vocalist + computer software processing amplified sound

Syntax of Snow (2010) for glockenspiel (1-4 players) and amplified snow, 10’

instrumentation: one to four glockenspiel (1-4 players) + amplified snow + optional electronic track

Spectral Arctic Ice Triangulations (2010) for amplified water percussion (1 or 3 players) and Arctic ecoacoustics

instrumentation: tub of water with chime pipes lowered into water + hydrophones + air microphones + fixed media sound playback of sub-ice Arctic recordings.

Six EcoAcoustic Quintets (2009) for percussion quintet and electro-acoustics, 33’

No. 1, Water (Ice) instrumentation: amplified container of water + water tubes + water rattles + large piece of ice performed with heat, + fixed media electronic playback.

No. 2, Wood (Pitch) instrumentation: six wood blocks, marimba, vibraphone, three tuned log drums, 3 timpani, bowed glock or crotales, sticks and branches + fixed media electronic playback.

No. 3, Stone (Sand) instrumentation: sand panels, sand blocks, assorted stones + fixed media electronic playback.

No. 4, Metal (Noise), instrumentation: three cymbals, high-hat, piano (played as a percussion instrument using keyboard), vibraphone, bass drum, tinfoil preparations of all instruments + fixed media electronic playback.

No. 5, Air (Breath), instrumentation: vocal percussion, amplified fan performed with feathers sticks and paper, + fixed media electronic playback.

No. 6, Skin (Bones), instrumentation: assorted small bones, eleven skin drums (different sizes), low bass drum prepared with small bones + fixed media electronic playback.

That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies (2004) for percussion and computer sound, 13:00

instrumentation: Himalayan singing bowl and assorted resonant metal percussion instruments chose + fixed media audio playback. Version for 8-channel audio diffusion (with or without percussion) 

MB note: This piece won first prize in the Musica Nova International Competition (Czech Republic) 

Broken Drum (2003) for automobile brake drum and computer, 5:30 

instrumentation: brake drum + fixed media audio playback

Siku Unipkaakq (2001) for percussion quartet, and computer sound, 5:00 

instrumentation: four glockenspiel + fixed media audio playback

MB note: Ecoacoustic computer-generated ice texture in the electronics

Siknik Unipkaaq (2001) for percussion quartet, and eight-channel computer sound, 12:00 

instrumentation: pitched percussion (freely chosen by performers) and drums + fixed media audio playback (2 or 8 channels)

MB note: Ecoacoustic computer-generated sun radiation texture in the electronics

Anugi Unipkaaq (2001) for percussion quartet and wind, 6:00  

instrumentation: percussion quartet (drums + large bass drum) + fixed media audio playback

MB note: My first wind ecoacoustics work, mapping wind energy into percussion ensemble


Mists (1996) for stone trio and computer noise generator, 5:00

instrumentation: three musicians playing amplified stones + fixed media audio playback or live noise generator

MB note: My first piece using performance of natural materials in concert music, and my first interactive noise generator composition

Solo instrument:


Crab Flutes (2023) for flute, crab burrow recording, and optional video

instrumentation: amplified flute + fixed media audio playback + video

The Coming Stillness of Wind (2017) for harp and wind ecoacoustics

instrumentation: amplified harp + fixed media audio playback


Elegy (Muir Glacier 1889-2009) (2017) for violin and glacier sonification

instrumentation: violin + fixed media audio playback


Wooden Dance in Fourteen Time (2013) for viola and electronics, 7’ 

instrumentation: viola + wood block (played by violist)


Golden Sparrow (2012) for trumpet, container of light and electronics, 6’ 

instrumentation: trumpet + container of light (2nd player) + fixed media audio playback


Citlaltepetl Vertex (2011) for guitar and electronics, 18’

instrumentation: amplified acoustic classical guitar + fixed media audio playback


Iceprints (2011) for piano and sub-ice ecoacoustics, 20’

instrumentation: piano + fixed media audio playback


(dis)Locations (2007) saxophone, computer sound and video, 12’

instrumentation: alto saxophone + fixed media audio-video playback


Aes/Aer (2005) for trombone and computer sound, 12' 

instrumentation: trombone, with mute, prepared with tinfoil + sheets of tinfoil + fixed media audio playback

Fragments from Cold (2005) for cello, snow and computer sound, 7:00

instrumentation: cello + fixed media audio playback

Split Voices (1998) for saxophone and computer sound,  19:00

instrumentation: tenor/soprano saxophone + fixed media audio playback

Incantation S4 (1997) for saxophone quartet and computer-generated sound, 13:00

instrumentation: tenor/soprano saxophone + fixed media audio playback

MB note: My first published solo saxophone and computer work, composed at Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, inventing saxophone techniques based on computer sound generation methods such as granular synthesis, time stretching, and harmonic resonators. 


Incantation 1 (1993) amplified cello and computer-generated sound, 11:00

instrumentation: amplified cello

MB note: My first work for computer, composed at Xenakis’ studios in Paris using his UPIC system, exploring computer-generated noise.

Sound Installation/Electro-acoustic Scores

Auroras (2021) for northern lights ecoacoustics, 6’

MB note: electro-acoustic work commissioned by the BBC

Plantaesonica (2018) for immersive ecoacoustic sound, 30’

MB note: multichannel sound diffusion for gardens or galleries

Sound Cast of San Giorgio Maggiore (2016) for multi-channel sound, with Anselmo Canfora 30’

MB note: an architectural sound work recreating an acoustical life-sized representation of the Paladian church San Giorgio Maggiore from Venice. The listeners use a guided sound walk to move through the sonic structure which spans a large space and uses 49 channels of sound. 

Muir Glacier 1889-2009 (2019) for glacier ecoacoustics, 24' 

MB note: a "sound painting" composed to be heard while viewing Thomas Hill's painting Muir Glacier, 1889. Commissioned by the Anchorage Museum


Music for Dance/Theater 

American Elm (2022) with Time Lapse Dance/Jody Sperling, 10’

for solo dancer with costume

THAW (2022) with Legs on the Wall (Australia), 10 hours

for aerial dancers on an iceberg suspended by a crane

Plastic Harvest (2021) with Time Lapse Dance/Jody Sperling, 20’

for dance ensemble, plastic costumes, live electro-acoustic music

Fractal Voices (2019) with Time Lapse Dance/Jody Sperling, 20’

for dance ensemble and computer sound

Wind Rose (2018) with Time Lapse Dance/Jody Sperling, 30’

for dance ensemble, costumes, amplified prepared fan, interactive wind sonification, and live electro-acoustic music. 

Piece for a Northern Sky (2016) with Time Lapse Dance/Jody Sperling, 5’

for solo dancer, costume, vibraphone and computer sound.

Ice Cycle (2015) with Time Lapse Dance/Jody Sperling, 33'

for dance ensemble, costumes, projections, vibraphone and percussion, amplified melting ice, and live electroacoustics



Palladian Echoes (2016) for chorus 

instrumentation: four part score (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) (no text)

You Sink Into the Singing Snow (2013) for voice with optional instrument(s) and electronics, 5’ 

instrumentation: soprano voice, flute, violin, cello, piano, percussion and fixed media audio playback. (text by Matthew Burtner)

Microplastic PET (2012) for soprano voice, percussion, plastics and computer sound, 4’

(text is a list of beach garbage from an international clean-up effort)

Pacific Tilt (2010) for chorus and recorded ship sounds, 5’

instrumentation: five part score (sop1, sop2, alto, tenor, baritone) + fixed media audio playback

(a "sea shanty", text by Matthew Burtner, based on a Basho poem)

Kuik (aria) (2006) for soprano voice, spoken voice, video, percussion, and computer sound, 14’

instrumentation: soprano voice, amplified and processed by a computer, amplified spoken voice, glockenspiel, crotales, assorted bells, large bass drum, hand drum.

(text is a retelling of a story of the flow from water from the glaciers in Lake Clark National Park into the Bering Sea ocean)

MB note: I was born near this river, and grew up with these place-names and this story from the Lake Clark/Illiamna/Bristol Bay region. The traditional regional story was relayed to me by US National Park Historian, John Branson.

Windcombs/Imaq (2006) for low voice, instrumental ensemble, video, theater and interactive computer music, 30:00

instrumentation: baritone or bass voice, spoken voice, flute, Bari sax (or other low wind instrument), accordion (or other high sustaining pitched instrument), piano (or other struck pitched instrument), percussion, four auxiliary percussionists, violin, cello, four dancers, interactive light sculpture, + fixed media  audio playback.

(text by Matthew Burtner based on a traditional story)

MB note: the story of the wind was told to me as a small child but I don't remember the source, and this retelling is based on my memory and free expansion of that story.

Animus/Anima (2001) for soprano voice and electronics, 12:00 

instrumentation: amplified voice, large bass drum + fixed media audio playback

MB note: the singer performs into a large bass drum and a microphone on the other side of the drum amplifies her resonant voice. The drum effectively extends the soprano vocal cavity and processes the sound. 

Multimedia Opera

Auksalaq (2010) telematic climate change opera, 70’

instrumentation: voices, ensembles, percussionists, video, audience interactive software

MB note: Co-created work with Scott Deal. I wrote the music and libretto, and developed the Nomads audience interactive software used to connect audiences.

Kuik (2006) multimedia opera, 50’

instrumentation: voices, ensemble, percussion, video and computer sound

MB note: I wrote the music, libretto and created the video media for this piece.

Winter Raven (2002) electroacoustic theater, 60’

instrumentation: voices, actors, movement artists, percussion ensemble, instrumental ensemble, video projection, electronic sound.

MB note: This work was started in 1995 and completed in 2002. I developed ecoacoustic music techniques for this piece such as environmental sonification, starting at Banff Centre for the Arts and continuing at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford.

Computer Ensemble (works created for MICE Mobile Interactive Computer Ensemble)

Jeff’s Clock (2017) voice, percussion and computer ensemble 8’

Cloudprints (2012) indeterminate instrumental ensemble and computer ensemble 10’’

World Strings (2010) indeterminate string instruments and computer ensemble 8’

Sandprints (2010) amplified sand and computer ensemble 12’ (intended for outdoor performance in the desert)

Anemoi (2010) wind, voices, instruments and computer ensemble, 10’ (intended for outdoor performance in the wind)

Kanja (2010) underwater performers, ocean, and computer ensemble, 10’ (intended for outdoor performance in the ocean)

Performances of the music listed here are licensed by BMI (Broadcast Music Inc). Grand/Dramatic Rights, Mechanical Rights, Synchronization Rights and any other use of the music are licensed separately for each situation. To license music, contact Matthew Burtner through the Contact Tab above, or email .  The music listed here is all copyright Matthew Burtner. The works for dance, poetry, film and media are collaborative and the collaborating artists own the copyright of their own portion of those works. 

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