Mátti Kovler


Mátti Kovler

Composer Mátti Kovler was born in Moscow, raised in Jerusalem, and is now based in Brooklyn. Kovler’s music has been commissioned by Tanglewood, Carnegie Hall and Israel Festival. His orchestral works have been performed by the Israel Philharmonic, the Fox Studios Symphony (Los Angeles), the Metropole Orchestra (Amsterdam), the American Composers Orchestra (New York), and others. Mátti was a fellow at the Tanglewood, Aspen and Academia Chigiana Festivals, a winner of two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, and of the Theodor Presser and Brother Thomas Awards.

Mátti has mastered a range of styles from folk and jazz to those steeped in the classical tradition, and brings these together in works of considerable dramatic scope, by turns comic, mystical, warm, and searing. His musical influences include Jewish folklore, experimental music theatre and the cult writings of the French theatre philosopher Antonin Artaud. Kovler’s closest mentor was the late Israeli composer André Hajdu, who shared with him his life of spiritual questioning and self-discovery, which brought him from Budapest to Paris (to escape the Holocaust) and eventually to Jerusalem. By no coincidence, Mátti’s music stumbles through the dark back corridors of Jewish mysticism, searching for meaning. This spiritual element only intensified following Kovler’s military service in the midst of the Second Intifada.

Kovler “appears to be contemplating the fork in the road that divides opera from musical theater.” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). In 2011, following the advice of composer Eric Salzman (that in order to achieve something of merit in the field of musical theater, one must concentrate on producing as much work as possible with as little as possible for as long as possible), Kovler launched Floating Tower, a cross-cultural music theatre production company. With a modular make-up of 27 multi-national actors/musicians, since its founding, Floating Tower has created over thirty productions in the US, Israel, China, Scotland, Russia and Ukraine. The company’s first production in NYC was the acclaimed opera-parody of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, The Drumf and the Rhinegold, produced during the historic 2016 election, in collaboration with Claire Chase and the International Contemporary Ensemble.

In addition to his work with Floating Tower, presently Mátti is also a member of the advanced BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, the premiere training ground for musical theatre composers and lyricists. Recent engagements include the Carnegie Hall premiere of Cokboy for actor and orchestra with the Garden State Philharmonic. Currently, Mátti is at work on a new musical theatre piece, Gospel of Sabbatai, in collaboration with playwright Matthew Kelly.