Cantus Biography: Matt Tintes

December 15, 2010
Matt Tintes
Cantus member Matt Tintes.
Photo by Ann Marsden / Courtesy of Cantus

Join us as we get to know Classical MPR's 2010-11 Artists-in-Residence Cantus through a series of short bios. Here, we learn about Matt Tintes.

Baritone Matt Tintes is currently in his second season with Cantus. Originally from Fargo, N.D., Eric's education background includes a BS in Secondary Vocal Music Education from North Dakota State University and an MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Here, he shares his thoughts on the joy of collaborating with the SPCO, the northern lights and his surprising admiration for David Hasselhoff.

What is the best part of singing with Cantus?

The best part of singing with Cantus is getting not only to sing with other amazing musician, but also to learn something new from them each and every day we work together.

In your mind, what makes Cantus so special and/or unique?

Cantus is more than just a group of guys who make an awesome musical product. We also get to have a say in what that product will be from inception to the final performance on stage, and that kind of creative ownership is pretty rare.

What is your best and/or funniest memory from a Cantus tour?

There are WAY too many funny memories to pin down just one! One of my best memories, though, has to be when we were on our way back to Fairbanks, Alaska after a show and we stopped to see if we could see the northern lights. Well, they weren't out that night, but what was out was one of the clearest, most awe-inspiring night skies I've ever seen. There was absolutely NO light pollution and we could see every star in the sky, and it was awesome!

When did you know that you wanted to make singing your career?

I'm not sure when I knew I wanted to be a singer for a career, but I know when I made the decision to pursue music. When I was a freshman in college I was a political science major with a music minor. One of my music history professors noticed that I was way more into music than my government classes, and asked why I wasn't a music major. I said I wanted to go to law school to be a lawyer because that would be a good paying job. "Well," he said, "I don't have the nicest car in the lot, but I love going to work every day, and I can't put a price on that." I switched my major to music education a few days later, and I've been on that path ever since.

Do you have any rituals or things you do before you go out to perform?

I clear my throat and do a fly check.

Cantus is known for its collaborations with other performing arts groups; what has been a favorite of yours?

So far during my tenure with Cantus we've only really collaborated with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, but what fun that was! To me, it's so reinvigorating to perform with other musicians who are as committed to their craft as you are. It also helps that they're AMAZING!

Do you play any instruments? Are there any that you'd like to learn to play?

I play the Trumpet, although not as much anymore. I can fake my way through most of the Brass family, and can play the piano just well enough to disappoint my old piano teachers. What I ALWAYS have wanted to learn how to do is play the drums. I can air-drum with the best of 'em!

Who is your music "hero" and why?

David Hasselhoff. Why? Because he made millions of dollars without displaying one iota of discernable talent, and you have to be impressed by that.

What hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy doing when you are not singing (or sleeping)

I am a TV & movie fanatic! I think after fire and the wheel, the DVR is man's single most important achievement. At least, I don't know what I'd do without mine!