Van Brink likes to take high concepts from literature and mathematics and play with them to form a musical idea... But Van Brink is not high fallutin. Instead, the personal, intimate and offbeat moments accumulate to move the listener.
SUSAN HALL / BERKSHIRE FINE ARTS / 18 APRIL 2012
GREAT NOISE ENSEMBLE at SYMPHONY SPACE
The classical pieces, which also included a radically rescored edition of Johann Strauss Jr.’s “Leichtes Blut,” were arranged by Matt Van Brink, who joined the ensemble on the accordion in “The Ride of the Polkaries,” his Wagner romp. Mr. Van Brink owes a great deal to Spike Jones — not least the use of zany percussive effects — and the band’s energetic, freewheeling performances made these arrangements as much fun as Jones’s classic sendups.
ALLAN KOZINN / NEW YORK TIMES / 16 SEPTEMBER 2009
POLKASTRA at LE POISSON ROUGE
Violinist Lara St. John and trumpeter Daniel Lapp are the pair of Canadians who front this band and they, along with the rest of their band mates that include French hornist Andy Doe, bassist Jack Campbell and percussionist Yuval Edoot, are excellent musicians who produce some captivating voicings in the context of tight arrangements from Matt Van Brink.
ELLIOTT SIMON / ALL ABOUT JAZZ / 31 AUGUST 2009
POLKASTRA: APOLKALYPSE NOW! (A NCALAGON RECORDS 2009)
Dal Dosai ... is one of the best sonatas written for flute and piano in recent years. Matt has been influenced by many types of music, and his eclectic taste is evident in this vibrant and challenging opus.
Two pieces by Chaffee proved that she is a great choreographer, an artist concerned with matters of clarity, idiosyncrasy, and craft. The first was a premiere, "Running at the Sunshine,'' inspired by the true stories of tenants in a Bowery hotel. At the heart of the dance is a set of six solos, each one stated in an entirely distinct movement vocabulary, and referring to archetypal objects, such as a beloved suitcase, an empty birdcage, a round hatbox. The solos are framed by two episodes of organized walking traffic, all of it set to an appropriately brooding original score by Matthew Van Brink.
THEODORE BALE / BOSTON HERALD / 22 FEBRUARY 2003
AURORA BOREALIS at HUNTINGTON THEATER, BOSTON
Van Brink's piece, "Whims and Wisps" (1999), is for a seven-instrument ensemble. It comprises three brief, charming movements, as fleeting, personal, intimate, and offbeat as diary entries, and notated in a jazz idiom.
RICHARD DYER / BOSTON GLOBE / 13 JANUARY 2004
COLLAGE NEW MUSIC at HARVARD UNIVERSITY
There was also an intriguing new piece, ''Up, Up, and Up,'' by a composer not much older than Jackiw, Matthew Van Brink ... who, like Benjamin Britten, has figured out how to make much out of basic materials.
RICHARD DYER / BOSTON GLOBE / 16 MARCH 2002
STEFAN JACKIW and DAVID DEVEAU at JORDAN HALL, BOSTON