NEWS: Making Music Adopt A Composer

We’re delighted to be one of the chosen seven groups to work with Adopt a Composer.

Martin Humphries is already an experienced composer, his CV highlights the diversity of his work:

Martin Humphries (b.1989) is a Southampton-born composer and conductor currently based in between Hampshire and South Wales. His music has been performed at numerous events and venues including the Barbican Centre, National Museum of Wales, Abacus Gallery (Cardiff), Fête de la Mare (France), Celluele133 (Belgium), Idstein Jazz Festival (Germany), Club Inégales (London), CoMA Summer School and the Cheltenham Music Festival. In workshop scenarios Martin has heard his music performed by the Fidelio Trio, RIOT Ensemble, Lontano, Carducci Quartet, Håkon Stene (percussion), Lore Lixenberg (mezzo-soprano), and has had his music programmed in public concerts by Ensemble Fractale, Michael Finnissy (piano) and Gwenllian Llyr (harp). Martin has been featured five times in Cardiff’s longest running chamber concert series at the Cardiff University Concert Hall where his amplified French horn concerto was described as ‘exciting’, ‘innovative’ and full of ‘dark dramaticism’ by Sinfonia Newydd. Martin’s first opera was performed during his undergraduate studies and orchestral music has seen performances by both the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

As a conductor, Martin works extensively with community music ensembles and was the inaugural recipient of the ‘Best Student Conductor’ award at the National University Brass Band Championships of Great Britain (2013). He is currently musical director of the Cardiff University Wind Orchestra, Ocean Brass (community band) and is the founder and director of Oblique3, a contemporary music group who have commissioned and performed more than a dozen new works. Recent performances include the European premiere of Ralph Steadman’s BLOT Symphony and AEON, a twelve-hour continuous improvising score co-composed by Martin.

Martin holds both bachelor and master’s degrees from Cardiff University where he studied composition under Robert Fokkens, Louis Johnson and Arlene Sierra as well as receiving extensive supervision in musicology from Professor Stephen Walsh. In 2014 Martin was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Studentship to fund doctoral studies across the University of Southampton (Benjamin Oliver), Bath Spa University (James Saunders) and Cardiff University (David Beard). The project explores ways of creating rewarding contemporary music for amateur musicians and in community settings. Martin is also an active academic and has presented conference papers at the universities of Bangor, Birmingham, Brunel, Cardiff, London (Institute of Education), Southampton, York, and at the Barbican Centre.

We’re excited to meet Martin in Birmingham, for the first time, on 13th October, (5-7pm at Milebrook Hall, Bartley Green) with his Adopt A Composer mentor Fraser Trainer.

Adopt a Composer, a project linking the UK’s up-and-coming composing talent with its vibrant voluntary music scene, has launched for its 16th year.

The other 6 selected pairings for 2016/17 are as follows:

  • Adriano Adewale with Horsham Symphony Orchestra (West Sussex)
    Mentored by Fraser Trainer
  • Christopher Schlechte-Bond with KEMS Concert Band (Cheshire)
    Mentored by David Horne
  • Mark Boden with Croydon Bach Choir (London)
    Mentored by Colin Riley
  • Rosie Clements with Spectrum Singers (Wales)
    Mentored by Colin Riley
  • Shona Mackay with The Glasgow School of Art Choir (Scotland)
    Mentored by David Horne
  • Scottish Project
    Aran Browning with Strathendrick Singers (Scotland)
    Mentored by David Horne

This unique scheme offers amateur musicians the chance to work directly with a composer, become actively involved in the creative process and contribute to the development of new music. The composer, in return, has the opportunity to form a close working relationship with the ensemble – with the time to respond to the groups personalities and interests; an opportunity not always possible in professional commissions.
Adopt a Composer works exclusively with composers at the start of their careers, giving them crucial ‘real world’ compositional experience, as well as guidance from established mentors – Colin Riley, Fraser Trainer and David Horne. Since it began in 2000, Adopt a Composer has produced over 95 new commissions, with many of the composers going on to have success nationally and internationally. The project also gives excellent exposure for both the composers and groups, with recordings of many of the pieces broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
“Adopt a Composer is a lively and challenging project for composers and ensembles alike. It has made a hugely positive impact on the skills and confidence of the many composers who have participated in it over the years. Sound and Music is very proud of its continuing partnership in this unique programme.” Richard Whitelaw, Director of Programmes, Sound and Music
“Adopt a Composer’s popularity shows the amateur music sector’s appetite for new music and for their own artistic development. It is the amateur music sector which pioneers many living composers in every corner of the UK and this programme supports that amateur ambition excellently.” Barbara Eifler, Executive Director, Making Music
Adopt a Composer is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music (the national agency for new music), in association with BBC Radio 3, and funded by PRS For Music Foundation and the Philip and Dorothy Green Music Trust. For the first time this year Creative Scotland has provided additional funding for a Scottish project.