Matthew Ariaratnam is an interdisciplinary sound artist, composer, guitarist, and listener based on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations – also known as Vancouver, BC. He creates sensory walks, writes dumbpop and chamber music, and frequently collaborates with choreographers, visual artists, and theatre-makers.

He has recently been commissioned by The Only Animal as part of the Artist Brigade to create the piece Tones to Melt and Heal Hardened Hearts Diffused on Bicycles to which he hopes to gather tones from 100+ people to make a musical composition to be diffused on bicycles in cities around the world. Also in 2023, he is working on an animated film with Jocelyn Sanchez (Creamyskeletons) and his band, dumbpop, will be featured in the feature film Mid Life by Cory Thibert.

In 2022, Matthew put out three recording projects: Sonic Divination a guitar record made with chance procedures using Tarot cards; 4 (trio) a trio record with Lucy Strauss (viola), Adrian Avendaño (drums); and AmbrAria a drone project with Lief Hall (vocals and electronics).

He performed at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival with two ensembles: CANAVBRAVA NOW with the infamous Douglas R. Ewart (soprano saxophone and many instruments), Mankwe Ndosi (voice), Lisa Cay Miller (piano), and Lucy Strauss (viola); and Littles performing the music of Andromeda Monk (synth), with Natasha Zrno (clarinet and electronics), Adrian Avendaño (drums), Feven Kidane (bass), and Lucy Strauss (viola).

His score Tones to Melt and Heal Hardened Hearts was featured by the Centre for Deep Listening as part of the project A Year of Deep Listening in honour of Pauline Oliveros would be 90th birthday.

He also had a project in collaboration with visual artist Keith Langergraber, Vancouer Art Gallery, and Vancouver New Music on a project called Auditory Borderlands – sounding the Dusk Meridian where he interpreted Langergraber’s work with sound artists prOphecy Sun, Ross Birdwise, Soressa Gardener, and Adrian Avendaño.

With fellow Artist Brigade Members he worked on the piece In the Songbird Forest which involved six performers in large blue masks, led by Cathy Stubington in collaboration with Nita Bowerman, Bella Casey, Leah Day, Chantal Gering, Mohammad Zaqout, and Thomas Conlin Jones.

Some previous projects and commissions include Body Tuning (Vines Art Festival), Creative Music Series 10 (NOW Society), Take Good Care (as dumbpop), Isolation Commission (Little Chamber Music Society), Altar :=: Source (Music on Main), kiitos, äiti (Thin Edge New Music Collective), and How long will these sounds sound? (Artist-in-Residence, North Vancouver Recreation and Culture). Matthew’s work has been heard in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle.

He has an MFA from Simon Fraser University and a BMus in Music Composition from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Contact: matthewariaratnam[at]gmail[dot]com


Stir: “Stir Cheat Sheet: Five Things to Know About Painting Music: One-Page Score Project”

Discorder: “Emerge on Main” 

The Tyee: “Meet the New Wave of New Music” 

Discorder: “Creamy Pop: A Short, Sweet Art Show”

Georgia Straight: “Fall arts preview 2018: Multitasking Matthew Ariaratnam is a sort of philosopher-musician” 

Laurier Alumni: “Matthew Ariaratnam (B.Mus. ’15) wants you to hear the world around you”

Discoder: “Play Nice: Musical Collisions Between Humans and Intelligent Machines”

Daily Hive: “Take a sonic adventure around Vancouver with these free guided audio tours”

Reflecting on the Arts Integration Learning Lab: An Interview with Artist Matthew Ariaratnam

Altar Source Matthew