Benjamin Martin – 2009



Born in Melbourne, Benjamin Martin was playing piano, ‘cello and composing before he was ten. He studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and the Juilliard School, New York. Later he worked at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 1998 he directed and conducted the Queens College Choir.

Since returning to Australia in 1994, Martin has given many concerts both home and abroad, featuring as guest artist at the Huntington Festival. In 2002, Martin undertook a six-week tour of the United States, and in 2003 toured Europe performing four different Concerti. In 2004 and 2005 he gave concerts in Washington DC and Lincoln Center, NY, with violinist Janice Martin (no relation) which included the premiere of his ‘Blues’ for violin and piano. In 2006, Martin was invited to perform in Tokyo with Violinist Aiko Goto as part of the Australia/Japan Year of Exhange.

Martin regularly performs chamber music and has completed three recordings for Tacet Records (Stuttgart), collaborating with German violist, Hartmut Lindemann, and also recorded with the Australian Chamber Orchestra music by Astor Piazzolla for Chandos. In 2004 he recorded his second album of Piazzolla’s music with accordionist James Crabb and Richard Tognetti, touring with them that same year.
He has frequently made broadcasts for WQXR NY, Radio Stuttgart and the ABC, and has premiered numerous works including the New York Premiere of a work for two pianos by Morton Gould (associate artist M.Herskowitz) and Brett Dean’s Elegy for ‘cello and piano (with Emma- Jane Murphy). Martin champions twentieth and twenty-first century music, performing such works as Ives’ Concord Sonata, Berio’s Sequenza IV and Ligeti’s Piano Concerto.

Martin’s own music has been performed in Australia, Europe and the United States, notably by Kristian Jarvi’s Absolute Ensemble, which toured Australia in 2002. Martin has received numerous awards, including two scholarships to the Tanglewood Summer Festival (as pianist in 1987 and composer in 1988), the Queen Elizabeth Grant in 1990, first prize in the Hepzibah Menuhin Memorial Award in 1991, and the Marten Bequest Scholarship in 1996. He gave the world premiere of his First Sonatine in September 2003 for the ABC, and his Third Sonatine in Perth, 2006. In 2007 he gave the premiere of his Serenade (2005) with violist Paul McMillan for the 35th International Viola Congress, held in Adelaide.

He teaches at the University of Melbourne, Faculty of Music.
He is, to be frank, one of the best talents we have had at the Juilliard for many years. (John Browning, 1991)
A distinctive choice…the pieces were cast in an arresting pan- modernist style. (New York Times review of Three Portrait-Etudes, 1993)
Expertly crafted for the piano. (Newsday, Three Portrait-Etudes, 1993)
The finest performance of the Bax Sonata to have been put on record since the composer’s own rendition. (The Strad, review of Martin and Lindemann)
Consummate artistry. (Michael Easton, The Age 1995)
A real rhapsodic and haunting fluency. (Michael Morley, The Adelaide Review 2003).