Matthus attended secondary school in Rheinsberg, followed by studies at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" in Berlin. After graduating, he continued his studies in composition with Rudolf Wagner-Régeny and Hanns Eisler, and was shortly thereafter made the youngest composer in residence in the history of the Komische Oper Berlin by Walter Felsenstein. Matthus has written more than a dozen stage works. The opera Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (Cornet Christoph Rilke's song of love and death ) after Rainer Maria Rilke was completed in 1983, first performed in Dresden in 1985, performed also for example by the Glyndebourne Touring Opera in 1993. The opera Graf Mirabeau (1987–88) is set during the French Revolution. It was commissioned for the 200th anniversary of Bastille Day and enjoyed simultaneous productions in both East and West Germany as well as Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union and France. The opera has also been recorded by the Berlin State Opera. Other opera recordings include his Old Testament-based "opera vision" Judith (1984) by the Komische Oper Berlin and his Der letzte Schuss with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2003 he composed music for both a ballet and an opera adaptation of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story.
Matthus has also been a prolific composer of works for orchestra as well as chamber and recital compositions. He has enjoyed a close working relationship with conductor Kurt Masur who has presented many world premieres of his music, including what Matthus has called "the commission of my life," a Te Deum for the reconsecration of the Dresden Frauenkirche, broadcast live 11 November 2005. His works are featured on more than twenty recordings by several of Germany's leading symphony orchestras and chamber music ensembles.
Matthus has been the Artistic Director of the Kammeroper Rheinsberg since 1991. He is also the founder and director of the Rheinsberg Music Festival and an honorary citizen of the city of Rheinsberg.
- 1960–63 Lazarillo von Tormes
- 1966/67 Der letzte Schuss (The Last Shot)
- 1971 Noch einen Löffel Gift, Liebling? (Another Spoonful of Poison, Darling?) (Comic crime opera by Peter Hacks after the comedy Risky Marriage by Saul O'Hara)
- 1972–74 Omphale (by Peter Hacks)
- 1974 Mario the Magician
- 1983/84 Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (Cornet Christoph Rilke's song of love and death ) (after Rilke)
- 1982–84 Judith (after Friedrich Hebbel)
- 1987/88 Graf Mirabeau
- 1990 "Judith" American Premier at the Santa Fe Opera
- 1990/91 Desdemona und ihre Schwestern (Desdemona and her Sisters) (after Christine Brückner)
- 1998 Farinelli oder die Macht des Gesanges (Farinelli or The Power of Singing)
- 1998/99 Kronprinz Friedrich (libretto by Thomas Höft)
- 2003 Die unendliche Geschichte (after Michael Ende's The Neverending Story commissioned by the Department for Culture of Rhineland-Palatinate, libretto by Anton Perrey)
- "Music Associates of America Roster ~ Siegfried Matthus Biography". www.musicassociatesofamerica.com.
- Matthus, Siegfried on the operone website
- "Glyndebourne Touring Opera". Archived from the original on 4 April 2010.
- Te Deum von Siegfried Matthus - Uraufführung in der Frauenkirche zu Dresden (premiere in the Frauenkirche, Deutschlandradio, 11 November 2005 (in German)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Siegfried Matthus.|
- Siegfried Matthus website
- Siegfried Matthus at Breitkopf & Härtel
- Siegfried Matthus at Interklang, a publisher for the works of Matthus (in German)
- Entries for recordings by Siegfried Matthus on WorldCat