A leading researcher and pianist in the area of dance and music studies, Christian Matijas-Mecca has served as musical repetiteur in the staging of dances by Balanchine, Graham, Weidman, Taylor, Dean, and Lubovitch, and has accompanied for directors and artists from such dance companies as the New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Cullberg Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, and many others. Most memorable for him was his collaboration with director Robert Benedetti on his restaging of Marc Blitzstein’s play, The Cradle Will Rock, both in Ann Arbor and Las Vegas. Matijas-Mecca has also built a reputation as a composer for dance and has composed works that include a commissioned score for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Existence Without Form (2006), that was choreographed by Uri Sands. With U-M alumnus and pianist Ilya Blinov, Matijas-Mecca also maintains an active concert career beyond dance, and through their partnership, the RusCa Piano Duo, he regularly performs the music of Stravinsky, Gavrilin, and Ravel in concerts in the United States and Canada.
Matijas-Mecca has presented conference papers at professional societies in England, Ireland, Finland, France, Taiwan, Canada, and the United States and he has also been a speaker at London’s Royal Academy of Dance. In 2011, Matijas-Mecca was invited to present a lecture-recital at the Jane Austen House and Museum in Chawton, England, where he performed a selection of music drawn from Austen’s personal music library on the author’s 1810 Clementi piano. More recently, his research interests have expanded to include popular music studies. He is researching a book about soul music in Detroit between the years of 1967-77, focused on Invictus, Hot Wax, and Music Merchant Records, labels founded by Holland-Dozier-Holland following their departure from Motown. Matijas-Mecca is the author of The Words and Music of Brian Wilson (Praeger, 2016), and is under contract to author Listen to Psychedelic Rock! Understanding the Music from The Beatles to Frank Zappa that will be published by Greenwood in early 2020.
Matijas-Mecca joined the University of Michigan in 1998 after having served for several years on the faculty at Interlochen Arts Academy where he accompanied the Academy Choir in addition to the dance and instrumental and vocal music programs. He teaches the following courses: Accompanying Movement, The Integration of Music and Movement, The Development of Music in Dance, Sophomore Seminar, and the graduate-level Research in Action I. He also serves as the director of the Dance BFA curriculum.
A native of Los Angeles, Matijas-Mecca earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Southern California, where he studied piano under Bernardo Segall and harpsichord and early music performance under James Tyler and Malcolm Hamilton.
“Christian is an excellent musician. Am sure George would approve.” – Maria Tallchief