Mr Stephen Ralph Matthews

MMus (Hons)

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Music


A significant feature of Matthews’ creative output has been the assimilation of bi-cultural references, in particular those drawn from te ao Māori. There is an undeniable relationship between his compositional interests and the physical and metaphysical spaces ocupied in the distant and recent past. These relationships suggest a metaphorical and tangiable intersection between these points of reference and time. His interests have also extended beyond the purely musical abstract to include text, image, metaphor, and the intrinsic values and worldview of the people and communities he has collaborated with. Matthews has been the Head of Popular Music Studies at the School of Music, the University of Auckland for the past seven years over this time developing a new programme of study at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. He supervises the principal creative studies popular music courses, specialising in the development of young songwriters. Matthew’s compositions and songs have been performed and recorded by groups such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the New Zealand Trio, and the New Zealand Chamber Soloists. He has collaborated with a number of Māori communities, poets, and valued exponents of taonga puoro and kapa haka such as Richard Nunns.

Research | Current



Performance Studies

Popular Music Studies

Postgraduate supervision

BMus(Hons) - Popular music creative studies, songwriting and instrumental arrangement, popular music analysis.

MMus - Popular music creative studies, songwriting and instrumental arrangement, popular music analysis.



ANZAC Fellow

Winston Churchill Fellow


Head of Popular Music Studies (Songwriting, Composition and Performance)

Areas of expertise

Songwriting (English, Te Reo Māori)

Instrumental and electroacoustic composition

Popular music perfomance studies

Collaborative creative projects

Community creative projects

Video and sound installation work

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Krikun, A., & Matthews, S. R. (2019). Songwriting Pedagogy in Higher Education: Distance Collaboration and Reflective Teaching Practices. In Z. Moir, B. Powell, G. D. Smith (Eds.) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education Perspectives and Practices (pp. 153-170). London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic. 10.5040/
  • Krukin, A., & Matthews, S. (2017). Creative songwriting practices: Deepening an understanding of self. Paper presented at Association of Popular Music Education (APME) 2017 Annual Conference: Let’s Band Together! Advancing Popular Music Education, Denver, Colorado. 14 June - 17 June 2017.
  • Matthews, S. R. (2016). A change is gonna come: Composing songs to challenge the status quo. Paper presented at 32nd World Conference International Society for Music Education, Glasgow, UK.. 24 July - 29 July 2016.
  • Matthews, S. R., Sullivan, R., & Nga taangata o Parihaka Witnessing Parihaka (Revised version): Semi-staged orchestral work for the Parihaka community in te Reo Maori and English; A collaboration with the people of Parihaka: Ngā mihi aroha ki ngā tangata o Parihaka, 4/6/2012. [Semi-staged work for orchestra, actors and singers], (24'), Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Education Concert. UNESCO funded event., Auckland Town Hall. Commissioning body: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Related URL.
  • Matthews, S. R.Te Ao Marama. (2010). 'Breathe' CD released by Atoll, ACD111.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 6, Room 604
New Zealand