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Our Teachers

Matthew Forbes

Matthew Forbes has established himself as a very versatile and sought-after musician in the UK. His career includes regular work as an orchestral cellist, session musician, teacher, composer, conductor, arranger, writer, percussionist, jazz pianist, folk guitarist, mandolin, ukulele and banjo player, ceilidh dance caller and collaborator on many recent projects with a variety of other performers, particularly from India and the Middle East.

As an orchestral player he has appeared with many of Britain's most prestigious ensembles including the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal and London Philharmonic Orchestras, the orchestras of the Royal, English National and Scottish Opera Houses, the BBC Symphony and Concert orchestras, both English and Scottish Chamber Orchestras and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields among many others.

He was soloist for John Tavener's The Protecting Veil at the 2008 Greenbelt Festival and has also performed concertos by Schumann, Elgar and Boccherini. He has appeared on many albums, most recently with BBC award-winning songwriters Nikki Murray and Megan Henwood. His work as an arranger and composer has seen him write for many other commercial, performing and educational projects, writing commissions for several albums, ensembles and soloists.

As a chamber musician he has enjoyed success in several guises including a residency at Middlesex University with the Trelawn Quartet and as one half of the Czardas Duo with accordionist Ian Watson, generating many new works and appearing on BBC radio. He had taught the cello, double bass, music theory, chamber music, orchestral skills and folk music at institutions including Uppingham School, Winchester College and the New Forest and Oxford Cello Schools.

As a regular session leader for the Music Workshop Company, he has taught African and South American percussion, Indian classical music, composition, improvisation and song writing. He is also the caller, guitarist, mandolin and banjo player for several ceilidh and bluegrass bands across the UK, as well as his work as a jazz pianist and bass player in venues across London.  He is a keen cook, a supporter of Charlton Athletic Football club, and a member of the Campaign for Real Ale.


If Matthew were stranded on a desert island, he would like to have with him:

A piano
Adolf Menzl's The Balcony Room (having stolen it from the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin)
Montaigne's Essays


"I love to teach because it is one of the best pathways to patience and self awareness as a musician."