Martyn Harry studied with Alexander Goehr while at King's College Cambridge, then moved to Germany to study music theatre composition with Mauricio Kagel on a DAAD scholarship. From 1992 to 1997 he was Executive Producer, New Music at Sony Classical, creating recordings of music by composers such as V. Silvestrov, H. Skempton, T. Riley and Bang on a Can.
His own compositions have been performed and recorded by, among others, the London Sinfonietta, the Alban Berg Ensemble, Royal Northern Sinfonia, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, Eos, the Villiers, Allegri, Ligeti and Cavaleri Quartets, Piano Circus, the New Music Players, Action Transport Theatre and the BBC Singers. They have been broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, NDR 3, WDR 3 as well as in Spain, Austria and the USA.
Martyn’s most frequently-performed concert works include Regenstimmen for solo harp, premiered at Purcell Room, recorded on NMC Records and performed since throughout Europe; Fantasy Unbuttoned, whose QEH world première by the London Sinfonietta under Markus Stenz at the State of the Nation has been broadcast numerous times on BBC Radio 3’s “Here and Now” programme; Digging Deeper, performed countless times and all over the world by Piano Circus; George Meets Arnie For Tennis, which was recorded by The New Music Players for NMC Records and received its English premiere at The Sage Gateshead; and Empress Quartet, which was premiered and toured throughout Great Britain by the Allegri Quartet.
Another prominent feature of Martyn’s work are his works for opera and music theatre, and for unusual instrumental ensembles / media. His ‘instrumental theatre’ works include The End of the Line for three singers and four instrumentalists, which was premiered at the Huddersfield Festival ; Signal Failure for actors, ensemble and computer graphics, which has been performed many times in England, Holland and Germany, and revived at The Sage Gateshead in 2003 ; and Restraint for Handcuffed Pianist and pre-recorded tape, which has been broadcasted twice on BBC Radio 3’s “Here and Now” programme, and performed throughout Britain.
Martyn has also worked extensively in film and multi-media settings. He has also composed a series of substantial operas intended for children audiences and their families, including My Mother Told Me Not To Stare which toured the UK in 2010 and 2012, and his forthcoming opera Vehicles, to be premiered in March 2020.
For recent examples of Martyn’s works for unusual media, he has composed an album of music for runners to listen to, entitled Exercise Book (Sforzando Records), as well as At His Majesty’s Pleasure, an evening-long work for renaissance brass instruments composed for His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts. Both works fuse elements drawn from early music, instrumental theatre and contemporary dance music.
Martyn is currently working on two large-scale artistic collaborations : a new two-hours cycle of piano pieces, 48, for pianist J. Powell and a set of transcriptions of works by Berg, Mahler and Strauss for seven players that the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien has just recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, and is now performing regularly across Europe, often in programmes containing Martyn’s own chamber music. His other commissions include a new work for solo cornett and electronics, a new work for dulcian, sagbutt and harpsichord for the Caecilia-Concert, a new string quartet for the Villiers Quartet (who are recording all of Martyn’s chamber music for Resnus), and a new choral work for Exaudi, to be premiered in Hong Kong.