Web Page: henrymartin.org
The music of Henry Martin has been described by Paul Griffiths of the New York Times as “that of someone who knows and loves jazz to its bones (not discounting its flesh).” Martin is in the forefront of composers dedicated to writing attractive works that combine the flavors of jazz and popular music with classical forms. He is a recipient of numerous awards and commissions from such organizations as the Aaron Copland House, Columbia University, The Bogliasco Foundation, American Public Media, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and the Gulbenkian Foundation of Lisbon.
Martin’s best-known work is his Preludes and Fugues, which won the 1992 National Composers Competition and the 1998 Barlow Foundation International Composition Competition. According to the New York Times, the pieces “respond to the long history of jazzing Bach by Baching jazz.” The Washington Post critic Joseph McLellan cites the work’s “wholehearted tribute to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, but . . . with traces of bebop, tango, stride piano, etc., popping up unexpectedly.” John Sunier in Audio magazine states “I can’t think of a more impressive recent contemporary keyboard work.”
On the occasion of winning the 1998 Barlow International Composition Competition, the Barlow Endowment commissioned At Midnight’s Hour for piano solo, which was premiered by Logan Skelton of the University of Michigan. The San Antonio International Piano Competition 2000 commissioned Fuga XXIV for the competition’s semi-finalists. The work was premiered by medal winner Gloria Chien.
Other major works by Martin include Shadows of the Moon (for violin and orchestra), which was premiered by violinist Carole Cowan with JoAnn Falletta conducting the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Pippa’s Song, a solo piano work commissioned by the Focus 2000 Festival of Piano Literature at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and Piano Trio in C# Minor. Martin’s recent Sonata for Clarinet and Piano was written for the Long Island Composers Alliance.
Martin’s CDs include Preludes and Fugues (performed by Sara Davis Buechner; GM Recordings 2049), Preludes and Fugues, Part 2 (performed by Henry Martin; Bridge Records 9140), and Chamber Music for Strings and Piano (performed by the Innisfree Piano Trio; Albany Records Troy804).
Martin teaches music theory, composition, and music history at Rutgers University in Newark, where he is a professor of music. Among his teachers are David Del Tredici and Milton Babbitt. He holds a Ph. D. from Princeton University, an M. M. from the University of Michigan, a B. A. from Oberlin College, and a B. M. from Oberlin Conservatory. He is also a pianist and music theorist with a long list of performances, articles, and books.