Martin Suckling

(1981 - )


Martin Suckling was born in Glasgow in 1981. After spending his teenage years performing in the National Youth Orchestra and in ceilidh bands around Scotland, Suckling studied music at Clare College Cambridge and King’s College London.  He was a Paul Mellon Fellow at Yale University from 2003-5, undertook doctoral research at the Royal Academy of Music, and subsequently became a Stipendiary Lecturer in Music at Somerville College, Oxford.  His teachers include George Benjamin, Robin Holloway, Paul Patterson, Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman, and Simon Bainbridge.  He has benefited from residencies at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldeburgh, Aspen, and IRCAM, and has won numerous awards including the 2008 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize and, most recently, a highly sought-after Philip Leverhulme Prize.  He is currently Senior Lecturer in Composition at the University of York.


Suckling has been commissioned by many leading orchestras and ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia, Scottish Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Notable conductors of his works include Ilan Volkov, Francois-Xavier Roth, Robin Ticciati, Nicholas Collon and Pierre Andre Valade. His music has also featured in many festivals including Cheltenham, Ultraschall, Chacombe, Deal, ISCM World Music Days 2007 (Hong Kong), and Oxford Lieder. In 2013 he was appointed Composer in Association with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.


In 2011 Suckling’s critically acclaimed Candlebird for baritone and ensemble, based on texts by Don Paterson, was premiered by the London Sinfonietta, who subsequently released a recording of the work on their own label. (The work will be revived in 2015 by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.) In the same year storm, rose, tiger was premiered by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Robin Ticciati.


Throughout the 2012/13 season Martin Suckling wrote a series of Postcards for the Scottish Ensemble. Release, for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, was premiered by Ilan Volkov at the orchestra’s Tectonics festival in May 2013, and Nocturne, a duet for violin and cello commissioned by Aldeburgh Music and performed by violinist Pekka Kuusisto and cellist Peter Gregson.


Six Speechless Songs, Suckling’s first work as Associate Composer with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, was premiered in February 2014 with press praising its ‘glistening textures' and ‘Ravellian intimacy.’ 2015 saw the premiere of a clarinet trio Visiones (after Goya) at the Aldeburgh Festival – premiered by Mark Simpson, Jean-Guihen Queyras and Tamara Stefanovich – and Psalm, a work for harp and three spatialised ensembles for the Aurora Orchestra. Recent projects have included a Piano Concerto for Tom Poster and the SCO, a Flute Concerto for the Katherine Bryan and the RSNO and a String Quintet ‘Emily’s Electrical Absence’ for members of Aurora Orchestra.



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