Matthew Jihoon Pellegrino is an award-winning composer, Fulbright Scholar, and devoted music educator. He has enjoyed an eclectic musical upbringing; one which combines Western classical, traditional Korean music, and a brief stint in a metal band. Uncompromising in his work, Pellegrino seeks to create music that engages equally with casual audiences as well as the most serious of listeners. In his music he most enjoys exploring personal themes while incorporating touches of dark humor.
Most recently, Matthew has been awarded a Fulbright Research Grant for the 2021-22 academic year to study traditional music in South Korea. His project will explore the stories of Korean American Adoptees and present the multi-faceted experience of transracial adoption through a dramatic work for the stage. His other recent projects have allowed him to explore personal narratives while collaborating with a variety of ensembles. His work, Anxiety Cycles, received its premiere at Symphony Center, Chicago IL as part of a co-commission by Sound Mind and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for their musicians and mental health initiative. Dear Mother: A Transracial Adoption Story received a virtual ballet production in collaboration with Boston Korean Adoptees and KAAN: Korean American Adoptive Family Network. In 2016, Matthew's Winter Unending, Invincible Summer won the Charles B. Olson award, and has since been performed by the Peabody Wind Ensemble and recorded by the Encore Wind Ensemble. His works have been performed by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Peabody Wind Ensemble, University of Massachusetts at Amherst Symphonic Band, Fredonia State University Wind Ensemble, Kent State University New Music Ensemble, and MezzoBlasto Clarinet Quartet.
Born in 1994 as Jihoon Lee (이지훈) in South Korea, Matthew was raised on Long Island, New York. He is currently completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with Oscar Bettison at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, where he also completed his Master of Music degree. During his time at Fredonia State University of New York he studied Music Composition with Dr. Rob Deemer, Dr. Sean Doyle, and Dr. Karl Boelter, and Oboe Performance with Mark Dubois. Throughout his studies he has been awarded a Dean's Doctoral Fellowship, the P. Bruce Blair Award in Composition, and the Lee Mitchell Endowed Memorial Scholarship at Peabody, and the Hillman Music Scholarship and Price Oboe Scholarship at Fredonia. Equally active as a teacher, Matt served as a Faculty Associate at Peabody Conservatory for the Music Theory department, and is currently an instructor of oboe, flute, and saxophone at the Park School of Baltimore. He resides somewhere on the east coast with his cat, Gnocchi, and when not making noise, he can be found hiking, or making/eating pasta.
Matthew is a Korean American Adoptee researching Korean music both old and new as well as traditional and popular. His research explores the intersections of Korean music with Western culture, the influence of cultural taste and aesthetic on musical sound, and deconstructing the impact of colonization. An advocate for Adoptee voices, his most current work and interests lie in studying Korean music while creating music in the space between being Korean and American.
-M.M. Music Composition
-B.A. Music Composition
-B.A. Oboe Performance