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
, 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.
Ensembles Martin Conducts
A contemporary music ensemble dedicated to the promotion of new music. The group specialises in improvisation and the performance of unconventional scores and has commissioned more than a dozen new works since its formation. Founded and directed by Martin Humphries, Oblique3 performs regularly in both Cardiff and London.
Cardiff University Wind Orchestra
The premiere wind band at Cardiff University has been directed by Martin since 2013. During his tenure Martin has curated a series of concerts focussing on wind band composers working in Britain in the 21st-Century, as well as their counterparts in the United States. The band's motto is 'act your age', believing that it is our responsibility to promote and programme the very newest music by composers of our generation.
In 2016 the group were the only wind band to be awarded the highest possible award of Platinum in the top category of the National Concert Band Festival Finals (the UK's largest wind band festival). They have also recently released their first commercial CD under Martin's direction (Looking In
, Prima Facie Records) which is made up entirely of music by current and former students of Cardiff University.
Ocean Brass is a Southampton-based brass band founded in 1998. They perform in the traditional 25 piece British brass band format in and around Southampton and Hampshire. Ocean Brass is currently ranked in the second section of the West of England Brass Band Association. In addition they are available to book for any event from a Wedding to a Summer Fete, a Charity Event to a Christmas Party. Ocean Brass has a strong membership covering a wide range of ages and abilities and are always pleased to welcome new players. Martin was appointed musical director in July 2016.
Presented Conference Papers
Building Momentum: Orchestration in the early works of Mark-Anthony Turnage
Bangor University: January 2016
Still Moving? Experiments on Static Momentum
Barbican Centre: November 2015
Values of acceptance: A ten-year retrospective of wind and brass band music at the British Composer Awards
University of Southampton: March 2015
Composing in the community: Experiments towards an authentic voice
Cardiff University: December 2014
Amateur modernists or modernist amateurs: Finding a place for the brass band in contemporary music-making
University of London, Institute of Education: November 2014
How Margaret Thatcher saved contemporary music
Brunel University, Institute of Composing, RANTS series: July 2014
Recession or renaissance: The legacy of Thatcherite economic policy on Britain's brass bands
University of York: February 2014
In pitch black: The unexplored brass band repertoire of the 21st-Century
University of Birmingham: January 2014
Download Curriculum Vitae