Cassandra Mathews has always had a passion for delivering all styles of music to new audiences and has beautiful architecture to all of her performances, both solo and within ensembles.
"...Young classical guitarist Cassie Mathews is a rising star with an intimate sound that demanded the full attention of the audience..."
"...musical sense and understanding are at the heart of Cassandra's playing..."
"...her instinct for cadence and pause are unerring..."
Cassandra graduated from the Royal College of Music in 2014 with a 1st Class Honours Bachelor of Music. She studied primarily with Gary Ryan, but also received coaching from Chris Stell and extra lessons with Craig Ogden and Jakob Lindberg on the lute.
During her time at the RCM, she took part in masterclasses with John Williams, Stefan Lӧfvenius, Carlos Bonell, Jason Vieaux, and Julian Byzantine as well as performing at Queen Elisabeth Hall and the Purcell Room as part of “The Rest Is Noise” Festival 2013. She premiered new guitar works at the National Portrait Gallery and the Martin Harris Centre. She was the winner of the Lennox Berkeley Guitar Prize 2012 and was the given a Highly Commended Award for the annual Royal College of Music Guitar Competition in both 2014 and 2012. Cassandra performed a selection of works by Joaquin Rodrigo at the Instituto Cervantes at the presentation of 'Voice and Vision' in 2016 to Cecilia Rodrigo and other distinguished guests. Cassandra was also selected to represent the RCM at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart in an Erasmus exchange programme in 2012. She also reached the final of the Croydon Concerto Competition 2011 with a performance of the Malcolm Arnold Guitar Concerto.
Cassandra is also a highly accomplished chamber musician, taking part in many varied ensembles ranging from working with American violin virtuoso Sean Riley, to playing within the Zapala Quartet with other RCM students. As a result of her keen interest in this musical field, she has enjoyed playing at the Wigmore Hall, V&A Museum and at the London Film Museum with Sean Riley performing a selection of post-romantic music and arrangements of electronic music. She also played as part of the London Guitar Festival 2011 at King's Place with the Zapala Quartet. She also worked with violinist Fiona Robertson in premiering 'The Selfsame Bird' by RCM composer Algirdas Kraunaitis, as well as premiering 'Semantron' by award-winning composer Nicholas Moroz. Her interest in contemporary music led her to be involved in the UK premiere of 'Kleine Elegien' by Hans Werner Henze in 2014 on the lute. Cassandra also performed as a member of the RCM Symphony Orchestra under Bernard Haitink in Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.7. Cassandra's current chamber groups include Bryden and Mathews with flautist Lindsay Bryden and The Aces with violinist Sabina Virtosu, both with whom she studied at RCM. She also plays with guitarist Jacques Nazaire in NazMat, a duo which plays exclusively free improvisation.
As well as her interest in working with other musicians, Cassandra has a great interest in working across artistic mediums with Alarms and Excursions. In March 2016 she worked with award winning poet Isabel White and tap dancer Irene Wernli to produce 'Warp and Weft' at Hoxton Hall; a multidisciplinary artistic performance documenting the history of Brick Lane. In March 2014 she unveiled Spanish themed interactive performance DESVALIDAS with Isabel White and award winning visual artist Dylan J Fox (creator of Border Control and The Hive). She also worked with Dylan during the Silent Cacophony project in 2013; a memorial project operated by Platform-7 in aid of Remembrance Day. To view photographs of this event, please visit the Gallery page.
Originally from the market town of Northampton, Cassandra began her studies with John Draper from the age of twelve. During school years, she was a committed member of the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, working as a student governor in her final year. She was a member of the Northamptonshire County Youth Guitar Ensemble for six years, four of which were spent as principal guitarist. She also received the Gordon Robinson Fellowship Award for her performance on the guitar and also succeeded in securing a place in the National Youth Guitar Ensemble.
As well as her focus on guitar, Cassandra was a keen participant in the RCM Musical Theatre Society as a singer. She gave solo performances of works by Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Bernstein accompanied by full orchestra. Cassandra currently works as a guitar vocalist aboard ships for Princess Cruises and used to work at Jumeirah Carlton Tower as a musician in residence. She also is a keen songwriter and can be found from time to time on the London open mic night scene giving performances of her own material.