Professor Martyn Harry

Academic Profile: Professor Martyn Harry

Tutor in Music, Dorset Foundation Lecturer in Music, Annie Barnes Fellow in Music

Academic Background

In January 2009 Martyn Harry took up his present post as a university lecturer at the Faculty of Music, specialising in Composition, with tutorial responsibility for music at St Anne’s. 

Martyn’s most recent compositions include “At His Majesty’s Pleasure”, a large-scale work for sagbuts and cornets released on CD by His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts; his children’s opera, “My Mother Told Me Not To Stare” to a libretto from Fin Kruckemeyer, which has been toured nationally twice in theatres, concert halls and schools around the UK; and his orchestral work, “Galgenhumoreske”, which received its premiere at the Barbican Centre in 2012.

In addition to his compositional research he runs the Opera and Music Theatre course, producing projects such as Chris Garrard’s opera “The Handmaid’s Tale”, Cage’s “Roaratorio”, his own opera “Passing The Remote” as well as “The Golden Fish”, an opera created jointly with Garsington Opera. 

He is the co-convenor of Ensemble Isis, with responsibility for all contemporary music performance projects at the Music Faculty, and the artistic director of one of Oxford’s best-loved chamber music venues, the Jacqueline Du Pré Concert Hall, the home of the M@SH Centre for Experimental Music. 

Since January 2012, Martyn has also been the Director of Graduate Studies at the Faculty of Music. He is also a trustee of the new music concert promoter Oxford Contemporary Music and the Oxford-based a-cappella chorus Schola Cantorum.

Martyn himself studied Composition with Alexander Goehr as part of his BA at Cambridge University, and Music Theatre Composition with Mauricio Kagel in Cologne on a DAAD scholarship. He has an Associate Diploma in Performance and Communications Studies from the Guildhall School of Music, and a PhD in Composition from City University where he studied with Simon Emmerson, Michael Finnissy, Douglas Young and Robert Saxton.

Previous Experience:

From 1993 to 1996, Martyn was the Executive Producer, New Music, for the international recording company Sony Classical. In this capacity he initiated and produced recordings of music by Valentin Silvestrov, Gija Kancheli, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julie Wolfe, Howard Skempton, Louis Andriessen, Terry Riley, Nikolai Korndorf, as well as the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Geoff Smith Band and Ensemble Bash. 

From 1997 to 1999 he worked for the Arts Council of England as a consultant for its Recordings and Publications scheme, and as an assessor for lottery-funded schemes. Martyn worked closely with the British Music Information Centre, the Sonic Arts Network, the SPNM and the Contemporary Music Network, before the merger of these organisations as Sound and Music.

Between 2000 and 2003 Martyn also orchestrated a number of Hollywood film scores such as the music for Insomnia, Happy Here and Now, Spivs, Inside I’m Dancing and The Descent.

From 2000 to 2003 Martyn was the Northern Arts Composer Fellow, based at the University of Durham, in which capacity he produced numerous compositions for the Northern region (covering Newcastle, County Durham, Cumbria, Northumberland, Teeside and the North Pennines), involving professional arts organisations, universities and members of the community. 

Martyn became Head of Compositional Studies at the music department of Durham University in the academic year 2003-2004, and had a significant role in the department’s successful bid to become a Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning in Music. Along with Agustin Fernandez, Martyn directed the I3 project in close conjunction with Simon Clugston of Northern Sinfonia. 

He created a number of innovative music theatre projects with the director Lore Lixenberg, including productions of Berio’s A-Ronne, Wishart’s Anticredos and Kagel’s theatrical tour-de-force Staatstheater, which won approbation from the composer. He will also be remembered for his initiatives to change the learning environment for composers, such as the new first-year Contemporary Music course, which combined close study of avant-garde compositional techniques along with opportunities for composing for film (e.g., the film scores created by postgraduate film composers for Buñuel’s L’Age d’Or, Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, Chaplin’s East Street and Dimitri Kirsanoff's Ménilmontant).

Martyn Harry

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