Martin Robertson


Missing headshot

In 1984 Martin graduated from the Royal College of Music having studied Saxophone and 
Clarinet as joint principle study under Stephen Trier and John McCaw. While at college 
Martin won several woodwind prizes including the Boosey and Hawkes Music Prize. He 
returned to the Royal College of Music in 1994 as a Professor of Saxophone. In 2012 
Martin was appointed Professor of Saxophone at the Guildhall School of Music and 

Martin is now widely recognised as a soloist of international stature. He has had the 
privilege of working with some of the world's leading orchestras with highlights 
of his career include performing with the Berlin, Los Angeles and London Philharmonic 
orchestras. The eclectic nature of Martin's soloist career has given him the chance to 
work on challenging new projects with internationally prominent conductors including Sir 
Simon Rattle, Sir Andrew Davis and Vladimir Jurowski.

Martin's musical experiences are rooted in Jazz, which combined with his classical 
training, have provided him with a platform from which to explore contemporary music 
as it unfolds. His passion for the timbral differences and freedom of world music have 
lead to collaborations with composers that encourage the soloists own voice to be heard, 
and which embrace Martin's use of ethnic instruments such as the Duduk. Two such 
composers are Mark-Anthony Turnage and George Fenton who, in their own ways, 
explore the colours which arise from the fusion of musical genres.

In 1986 Martin made his solo debut at the Purcell Room with Mark-Anthony Turnage’s 
Sarabande. From here a close relationship between the two developed. Your Rockaby 
was written specifically for Martin – Mark dedicated the movement Lullaby for Charlie to 
Martin’s son. ‘Rockaby’ was premiered at the Royal Festival Hall with the BBC Symphony 
Orchestra and was later performed at the Royal Albert Hall during the Proms season. It 
was also the featured work in the BBC TV series ‘The British Century – ‘Turnage'. 
'Blood on the Floor' was commissioned by the Ensemble Modern in 1996. Turnage wrote 
this piece for three Jazz soloists - Martin, Peter Erskine and John Scofield. Since its debut 
it has been performed with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir 
Simon Rattle, The Hamburg and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestras, Avanti, the City of 
Birmingham, BBC and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras. The piece has continued to 
evolve and in the summer of 2006, John Parricelli joined Martin at the Tanglewood 
Contemporary Music Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since then Laurence 
Cottle has featured on bass and Ian Thomas and Ralph Salmins have featured on drums.
While Martin immerses himself in contemporary music he continues to play the full range 
of classical repertoire from Villa-Lobos to Frank Martin to Glasunov. He is a regular guest 
of the major London orchestras both as a freelance musician and as a soloist.

During the 2002 Prom season Martin was Clarinet soloist at the Royal Albert Hall with the 
BBC Big Band, under the direction of Leonard Slatkin, playing Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue 
and Riffs which was later recorded for BBC Radio 3. He was the featured soloist with the 
London Philharmonic in Bernard Herrmann’s Taxi Driver Suite, given as part of the 
Meltdown Festival that year.

In 2006 Martin performed the Glasunov with the BBC Welsh National Orchestra at Saint 
David's Cathedral in Pembrokeshire. He also travelled to Koblenz to perform Kancheli's 
Night Prayers with the Rheinische Philharmonie under Daniel Raiskin. At the beginning of 2007 Martin performed Debussy’s Rhapsody for Saxophone with the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowski. Later that year Martin returned to Berlin featuring on Duduk as part of an overnight performance of Tavener's 'The Veil of the Temple' with The Berlin Radio Choir. Turnage’s ‘About Water’ was premiered with the London Sinfonietta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in June. Martin was a featured soloist alongside John Patitucci, Gwilym Simcock and Mark Lockheart. In the same year Martin appeared at the Proms with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performing Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Panic with Peter Erskine on percussion.

Faculties / departments: Woodwind


For enquiries please contact:

Martin Robertson

Saxophone professor

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