Having studied classical music, playing piano, cello and trombone as a child, Duncan won a national competition in New Zealand at age 16 performing the Bartok Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion. It was at this time he also began exploring jazz and improvised music.
As a composer his commissions include a work for choir and jazz piano trio for one of NZ's leading choirs; a classical piano trio; and numerous works for RadioNZ sessions for jazz quintet recorded at York St.
As an arranger Duncan worked with Bic Runga, NZ's no.1 recording artist, on Drive 1998 and beautiful Collision 2002 - both multi-platinum selling albums. He also had orchestrations performed before audiences of 50,000 (Wellington City Millennium celebrations) and 100,000 (Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Under the Stars 1998).
As a performer DUncan's trio have supported acts as diverse as Dudley Moore and Will Young. Appearances include Krakow Jazz Festival; Derry Jazz Festival; Conservatory of the Hague; Wembley stadium and London jazz clubs Ronnie Scotts, Pizza Express Dean St, Live on the Park; Lisbon jazz clubs Ondajazz and Braco de Prata and a live performance on ITV's Xtra Factor.
Duncan's current projects include free jazz trio Trim-Trimpo, original jazz piano trio Mistral Trio and Top40 US/UK rock band Civilized Tears.
In recent years Matthew has released four internationally acclaimed albums, appeared on a number of other records, toured the world and performed with such diverse musicians as William Parker, Byron Wallen, Hamid Drake, Christina Von Bulow, Rob Brown, Dr. Tarlochan Singh, Cristoff Monniot, Jurg Solothurnmann and Daniel Kientzy.
Matthew began performing professionally as an improvising musician in 1997 when he took the guitar chair in the New Zealand National big band.. In his native New Zealand he quickly became recognized as a leading voice in the young generation of New Zealand jazz performers and in 1999 released his first CD to critical acclaim. He was awarded the New Zealand Fringe Festival awards for best Music production for his big band performance. It was also during this year that he also performed with American vibraphonist and marimba player Arthur Lipner and had his first experience at an International level.
In 2000 He moved to London where he became quickly immersed in the scene performing, recording and often touring with such leading British musicians as Evan Parker, John Edwards, Ingrid Laubrock, Larry Bartley. He also became a steady member of Byron Wallen's groups and recorded with his 'As Is' project. In 2004 saw the release of 'the Camels' fusing elements of folk, reggae and electronic music under the name Skallander with compatriot Bevan Smith (Signer). That same year Matthew toured Europe with Signer and also toured with Japanese electronic music artist Takagi Masakatsu.
In 2005 He released the first of two CDs on Leo records in the UK as well as touring Central Europe a number of times with Slovakian drummer Josef Sosoka and guests such as US singer Laurie Antonioli, Mike Del Ferro, Pege Aladar and Marek Balata. Aside from his studio albums he has also been recorded by BBC radio 1, BBC radio 3, Romanian National Radio, German National radio, New Zealand National Radio. His International festival appearances have included the City of London Arts Festival, Bath International arts festival, Manchester Jazz festival, Liverpool Jazz festival, Ustina Nad Labem International Jazz festival, Wellington International Jazz Festival, Berlin Arts Festival, Szeged Jazz Days, Multisonic Festival, Sibiu International Jazz Festival, Budapest Jazz Festival, The Big Chill, Womad, New Zealand International festivalof the Arts. Matthew music has one constant which is change.
Whether drawing from the voice of his native New Zealand music, from Jazz or from the Central European folk of his adopted home, change and growth remain central to his musical vision.