Martin Ward

(1970 - )


Martin studied composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Buxton Orr, Francis Shaw and Robert Saxton, with specialist studies in film and electronic techniques.  Following college, whilst working in the music departments of the Royal Opera House and the BBC, he continued to compose, reaching the final of the IBM International Composition Prize with the orchestral concerto Threaded Dances, and writing for film and TV, with projects including the feature Offending Angels and War Stories for the Discovery Channel.

In 2002 Martin composed his first ballet score The Wind in the Willows with poet laureate Andrew Motion, for choreographer Will Tuckett and ROH2.  Its success led to further dance commissions with Tuckett, from the Royal Ballet - Timecode (2005); the English National Ballet  - The Canterville Ghost (2006) with script by Michael West; and ROH2 - Pinocchio (2005) with script and lyrics by Phil Porter and Faeries (2008) with words by Rebecca Lenkiewicz.  Put together, these dance-theatre works provided the opportunity to fully express the eclecticism of his creative voice.  With styles ranging from pastoral English, through electro-acoustic minimalism and gypsy/folk, via an irreverent romp through 20th century orchestral ballet genres and into dramatic cinematic gestures, each ballet represented a fresh and absorbing musical challenge.  These ballets met with considerable critical and public acclaim, each was revived and Pinocchio was filmed and broadcast on BBC4 in 2006.  In 2012 Martin wrote his first ballet for the main stage of the Royal Opera House with his orchestral score The Stargazer for choreographer Morgann Runacre-Temple.  In December 2013 The Wind in the Willows transferred to the West End.  An initial 8-week run at the Duchess Theatre was a massive success; it won the Olivier Award for Best Family Show and returned to the Vaudeville Theatre in December 2014.

Between 2009 and 2013 Martin completed five operatic and theatrical commissions in partnership with the playwright/librettist Phil Porter.  The youth opera The Whale Savers was written in 2009 for W11 Opera; Cinderella (2009) a musical, for the Unicorn Theatre; the puppet-opera Skitterbang Island (2010) for the Polka and Little Angel Theatres; Dr Quimpugh's Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions (2011) a chamber opera for the Petersham Playhouse; and The Fizz (2013) another youth opera commission from W11 Opera.  Dr Quimpugh's Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions was revived in August 2012 for a run at the Edinburgh Fringe which garnered much public and critical acclaim and for which the work received a Fringe First Award nomination; and Skitterbang Island enjoyed a hugely successful revival at the Little Angel and Polka Theatres in London, between April and August 2014.

Martin also provides music, songs and sound design for the theatre, with shows including The Ugly Duckling (2011), The Wind in the Willows (2012), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2013) and Peter Pan (2014), and for the screen, composing scores for the mini-feature The Woman and the Machine in 2011; and in 2012 the British independent feature film thriller Jackals.

Alongside these theatrical adventures, Martin continues to compose for the concert stage, with works such as Turning Points for solo trumpet and electronics; North Sea Stones for two pianos; Dark Latitude : a symphony for symphony orchestra; and Terminal Moraine for ten-piece brass ensemble.

As an arranger and orchestrator, Martin has worked with a broad range of companies and individuals, including the Royal Opera House, BBC, ITV and Sofia National Opera, as well as with the international instrumental virtuosi Paco Pena, Vasko Vassilev and Alison Balsom. 

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