Matthew Barley/Cellist

Music is the universal language of mankind.


Around Britten

SIGCD318The Around Britten album released on Signum Classics (SIGCD318) features Britten’s Third Suite for Cello, solo works by Tavener and Bryars, and some multi-tracked surprises.

Learn more about the album, including the exclusive iTunes version which is not limited by CD length and will be updated with works performed on the tour throughout the year, here.

Buy the CD here


Face to Face with Alex Heffes


A unique album of improvised duets with film composer Alex Heffes (Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void). Other artists include Riuichi Sakamoto, Regina Spektor, Tunde Jegede, Kawesa and Yasmin Levi. Matthew’s contribution with Alex was recorded late at night in the Tate Modern.

Learn more and buy the CD here




The Peasant Girl

with Viktoria Mullova and the Matthew Barley Ensemble


Released on Onyx Classics

Buy the CD here

Read Reviews




The Peasant Girl is also available on DVD with an acclaimed documentary made by acclaimed director Richard Taylor.


Buy the DVD





 Jon Lord: The Durham Concerto

Jon wrote this iconic piece for Durham University’s 175th birthday celebration in 2007 – it was premiered in the cathedral with Jon playing one of the solo parts on Hammond organ. The other soloists were Kathryn Tickell on pipes, Ruth Palmer on violin, and myself on cello.

“At the start long-held Tallis-like string chords speak out of the mists of antiquity.

The playing throughout is sensitive and glowing with much accomplished and thoughtful work for the solo instruments.

Here is an extended work of continuity across six substantial movements. The predominant meditative character will instantly mesh with those who love John Barry’s Beyondness of Things, Tavener and Vaughan Williams.” MusicWeb International





Buy it on Amazon here



Constant Filter, music by John Metcalfe


Released on Signum Classics (SIGCD207)

 Solo and multi-tracked cello with electronics

 Buy the CD here



Editor’s Choice in The Strad Magazine

“compelling, and at times extraordinary

“the immediacy and tenderness of Barley’s performance makes this music addictive.”

“wonderfully contemplative, and Barley uses his fine ear for colour to make every nuance and gesture count.
Metcalfe has achieved the unusual feat of creating electronic music that sounds organic and heartfelt, and in Barley he has a hugely persuasive advocate.”

Catherine Nelson, The Strad, October 2010
“Using computerised octave-splitters and delay units, Barley achieves a surprising depth of sound and harmonic richness, particularly on the title-track, where echoing wisps of electronic sound flutter around the cello like butterflies”
Andy Gill, The Independent **** June 2010

“Cellist Matthew Barley is a fan of John Metcalfe’s electronically bolstered cello music and masters it impressively”
Ivan Hewitt, Daily Telegraph, July 2010

“Barley’s booklet note explains how he decided it was time that he made a recording at home, and gives some idea of the steepness of the learning curve he faced. He seems to have made the ascent with ease: you’d never know it wasn’t the product of some glitzy studio. His playing, of course, is just as accomplished.”

Martin Anderson, International Record Review, July 2010

The Dance of The Three Legged Elephants

with jazz pianist Julian Joseph


 Released on Signum Classics (SIGCD171)

 Buy the CD here




“Outstanding!” Roger Thomas, BBC Music Magazine, October 2009, *****

“The young virtuoso of the cello has been straddling styles and fields of activity for a while, but this is probably his most jazz-oriented venture yet. Barley’s execution and quality of invention are exceptional” Brian Priestley, Jazzwise Magazine, October 2009 ****

“devilish fun enjoyed by two brilliant musical personalities…beguiles and overwhelms alternately” Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International – Recording of the Month September 2009

Matthew’s debut release on Signum Records includes music by Carlos Jobim, John McLaughlin, Julian Joseph, Ravel and Jaco Pastorius

Silver Swan, Reminding, Extraordinary Improvisations and Knots all £10 each

The Silver Swan Black Box Records BBM 1068 (2003)

Multi-tracked cello

Silver Swan CD packshot

Arrangements of great classical music by Matthew Barley for multiple cellos, multi-tracked by Barley

“…truly sublime… Barley’s brilliantly inventive approach – not to mention his sheer technical flair – makes this disc well worth a listen.” Catherine Nelson, The Strad, December 2003

“…playing and the recording are both excellent….brilliantly conceived for the medium.” Duncan Druce, Gramophone, September 2003

“A disc of immense dignity and communication. Technical matters of synchronization and ambience are dealt with so successfully that the listener can disregard them, concentrating instead on the moving way these offerings are delivered…Purcell’s Dido’s Lament and a stunning version of Stanford’s The Bluebird are among other features, and this remarkable release ends with the searing simplicity of Pablo Casals’ favourite encore, the Song of the Birds.” Chris Morley, Birmingham Post, 27 September 2003


  • Henry Purcell (Dido’s Lament)
  • Georges Bizet Romance from The Pearl Fishers
  • JS Bach Jesu, Meine Freude
  • Corpus Christi Carol (read by Dame Judi Dench)
  • Arvo Pärt Fratres for 4 cellos
  • Gregorio Allegri Miserere mei, deus
  • Charles Stanford Bluebird
  • Stravinsky Apotheosis from Apollon Musagette
  • Trad. Song of the Birds

Reminding Quartz QTZ 2032 (2005)

Cello and piano

Reminding CD packshot

“Barley plays with such extraordinary concentration and devotion…this will reward the inquisitive collector many times over.” Julian Haylock, International Record Review, December 2005

“…a fascinating journey through the recent cello music of Russia and the former Soviet Union…this is an excellent recital, quirky and stunningly well played.” Warwick Thompson, Metro, 24 October 2005

With Stephen de Pledge, piano, music from the late Soviet era. Includes:

  • Schnittke sonata no. 1,
  • Arvo Part Fratres (cello and piano)
  • Kanchelli With a Smile for Slava
  • Kuulberg Meenutus
  • Shostakovich Suite from Cheremushki (arr. Barley)

Rand Steiger’s concerto for cello, live electronics and String Orchestra…

…is a work of great imagination and colour with incredible electronic sounds. Released in 2011. Buy it here on CD Baby









Extraordinary Improvisations
FMR Records FMRCD234-0707

Extraordinary Improvisations

This CD was made after a competition ran in the BBC Music Magazine to find ideas on which to base improvisations – the idea was to explore how music can come from non-musical sources like concepts, words, pictures and so on. We asked for entries in 9 categories and we chose our favourite one of each, then recorded two or three versions of each, then picked the best one to be on the disc. There was no editing at all.

  1. Water
  2. Two Characters
  3. Connection, intersection, rejection, introspection
  4. Chord Sequence
  5. Bi Polar
  6. Scatterbrain
  7. Torchnote
  8. Almscliff Crag
  9. Clarinet solo
  10. Mindwander Graphic Score
  11. Intransigent
  12. Lake Garda

Black Box BBM1095 (2005)

Knots CD packshot

“The ensemble Between The Notes grabs this likeable, hot-foot excursion – music that kicks out with the tips of its toes – and turns it into aural ballet.” **** Rob Cowan Independent 6 December 2005

with Viktoria Mullova, music by Fraser Trainer and Between The Notes Includes

  • BTN Tangerine Dance
  • Trainer Knots
  • Human League arr. Trainer Love Action
  • BTN Lucky


Through the Looking Glass Philips CD464184-2 (2000)

Viktoria Mullova CD packshot

All arrangements by Matthew Barley, produced by Matthew Barley. Viktoria Mullova, violin, Matthew Barley, cello, Julian Joseph, piano, Steve Smith, guitar, Paul Clarvis, Colin Currie and Sam Walton, percussion. Music by Alanis Morissette, Youssou N’Dour, Miles Davis, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Duke Ellington, Weather Report.

Through the Looking Glass has been deleted from the Philips catalogue

Strings Attached – Sarod and Cello Navras NRCD 6004 (2003) & Navras NRDVD 013-P (2006) Strings Attached CD and DVD packshots

“The result is a genuine expansion in both instruments’ scope – a majestic meeting of minds.” Top of the World Editorial Choice, Songlines Magazine, November 2003

With a special appearance by Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan (Raga Bhairavi). With Matthew Barley, cello, Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash, sarod, Vikku Vinayakran, ghatam, Ustad Sabir Khan, tabla, Mamta Baxi, Tampura.

  • Tracks 1-3 Raga Kirwani (live at the Royal Festival Hall, London)
  • Tracks 4-6 Raga Bhairavi (live at the Sirifort Auditorium, New Dehli)

Strings Attached – Sarod and Cello (DVD) Navras NRDVD 013-P (2006)