Guitarist Matthew Glover comes back home and Bach to the classics

Guitarist Matthew Glover left home to study and work in Boston, and gained a new appreciation for both local traditional and classical music.

Have a First Listen to Matthew Glover's Lute Music by J.S. Bach and John Dowland

Matthew Glover has had a long career as a musician in the United States and in his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. (Submitted by Matthew Glover )

When Matthew Glover was growing up and playing guitar in Placentia, he never thought much about traditional Newfoundland music. 

"I kind of took it for granted, growing up around the bay," said Glover. 

He got started in music as a child by his mother Patricia, who taught him how to play her own, nylon-stringed classical guitar. 

By the time Glover was 17, he was studying jazz guitar at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. 

International nights 

It was Berklee's International Nights, evenings where international students performed music from their home countries and traditions, that became a turning point for Glover . 

"That really got me thinking about my own culture, something I didn't really didn't appreciate growing up." 

Glover said his rediscovery of traditional Newfoundland music turned into a lifelong journey of learning. 

"That led me eastward, to Ireland, to eastern European music, and then music all over the world." 

Full circle

After Glover graduated from Berklee, he remained based in Boston for many years, playing and touring with several Irish and world music bands. 

In 2016, Glover decided to move back to Newfoundland and Labrador, and settled in Conception Bay South. 

Moving back home, said Glover brought him full circle to revisiting classical music for guitar. Glover completed a graduate degree in performance and pedagogy at Memorial University's school of music in 2020. 

Classical and trad 

That program inspired him to make a recording of Renaissance and Baroque music for lute, arranged for guitar, by composers John Dowland and J.S. Bach. 

Glover said music has more in common with traditional music from all of the world than listeners might think — especially in the way that musicians of the 15th and 16th centuries added their own personal touches to the written scores with ornamentation. 

These days, Glover is a busy teacher and performer.  He plays many genres of music, but finds himself in particular demand as an Irish and traditional Newfoundland music player. 

"It's interesting how, when you leave your home, you have a different perspective," 

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Heather Barrett is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One in Newfoundland and Labrador.