|Occupation||Composer, Performer, Teacher|
|Categories||Contemporary, Folk, Jazz, Other|
mat martin is an active and engaged freelance musician / visual artist based in manchester and working full time in composing for all kinds of spaces, in performing, and in mark-making. he enjoys performances around the world both as a composer and a player of fretted stringed instruments. he has become very involved with the fertile ground between music and the visual arts as a way of exploring the interfaces between the natural world and the processes involved in making work. in 2006 his piece ‘single stone’ was selected for the british and international bass forum’s ‘one minute wonders’ project, and in 2007 his work ‘shadow musics’ was selected for the spnm shortlist.
mat has written music for several performers, including works for rhodri davies (fire dances and orrery for solo harp), pete wareham (cairn) and christopher cundy (totem i & prélude for bcl and percussion, ancient bone (totem ii) for solo bcl) which have been performed around the uk and in the united states. his graphic score pebble music (for any solo performer) has been performed several times throughout the uk by various performers and has cemented his interest and involvement in the improvised music scene. he is currently curating a project which will bring together over twenty interpretations of the four minute piece by improvisers based all over the world in a series of international concerts and recordings. both fire dances and pebble music were composed on commission for rhodri davies’ series of constellations concerts which have featured works from composers as diverse as michael parsons, laurence crane, katherine kontz and mieko shiomi. two of the four fire dances were premiered by davies at huddersfield university in march of 2007.
mat has studied composition and visual art to doctoral level under edward cowie and alexander goehr at dartington college of arts, and also holds a degree in music technology. his doctoral research has resulted in the development of a highly individual musical language which draws from his sketches and fieldwork in the natural sciences. all of his work draws in some way on an observed connection with processes in the natural world, and many of his recent pieces have used open scoring and semi-improvised techniques to further this interest. new pieces such as single stone for contrabass with optional piano accompaniment and shadow musics for guitar quartet show the integration of these techniques as an important strand in the culmination of his musical interests to date.
as a performer mat works extensively with singer-songwriter kirsty mcgee on the uk and international roots / acoustic music circuit and has developed a reputation as a sensitive and accomplished accompanist on banjo, mandolin and 6-string / tenor guitars, enjoying excellent reviews in the specialist press. he has also been known to make occasional appearances on stage with other friends such as karine polwart, boo hewerdine, kristina olsen and truckstop honeymoon. he teaches a small number of students in these instruments when he is not on tour. he and kirsty have also recently completed a project working on music for sapho & phao, a play by john lyly, which was performed to great acclaim and international audiences for the first time in four centuries at the shakespeare institute, stratford upon avon, in march 2007.
the diversity of mat’s musical output is rooted strongly in the unorthodox training in both ‘high’ and popular art forms he has had over the years. he has a particular passion for american roots culture ; from old-time appalachian banjo picking to ‘beat’ type writers and musicians such as tom waits, harry partch and jack kerouac. this interest, which stems largely from his work as performer, has doubtless had a great influence on his attitude to simplicity and directness of expression in art.