Martin Suckling is a composer and violinist.
Last February I had a fantastic time with SCO Connect and Fife schoolchildren on a creative project based on Candlebird, my settings of poetry by Don Paterson. A film crew followed us around and they've made a neat little 8 minute edit of four or so days of improvisation, composition and performance. Take a look here.
Rehearsals for the new Piano Concerto begin next week, and I've written some words for the SCO website that they've labelled "Martin's Musings". I'm currently musing on how much longer I'm allowed to use that photo for - I think it was taken 13 years ago now. Eep.
The SCO has announced that Robin Ticciati will be unable to conduct the premiere of my piano concerto as he continues to recover from injury. Of course this is sad news - not least because Robin had requested this piece especially for him and Tom. But it is wonderful that Thierry Fischer has agreed to take on the concert at such short notice. As I may have said before: I can't wait!
Ever since I wrote it last year, I've been meaning to transcribe the clarinet part of my trio Visiones (after Goya) for violin. (This may be because I'm a violinist and I don't want the likes of Mark Simpson to be having all the fun.) There are range problems, of course, but after listening many times to Chris Stout's version of Eileen's Lament, in which he tunes the bottom string down to E - and playing in this tuning for a bit myself, I'm convinced it's a good solution. I don't think you can get away with playing particularly loudly on such a slack string, but when played gently it's wonderfully dark and strange. Plus, you get some fun new double stop harmonics possibilities that make a fine stand-in for clarinet multiphonics.
Score and parts available from Faber Music - contact firstname.lastname@example.org
It's been mentioned to me that it's a little odd that there is no audio on this site. I've taken care of this anomaly now, with Candlebird linked via Spotify. I'll add more clips of other works in the coming months as they become available. There are also some exciting recording projects in the pipeline...
I'm delighted that the Locrian Chamber Players are performing Visiones (after Goya) on August 26th in the dramatic venue of Riverside Church, Upper Manhattan. Wish I could say 'hope to see you there', but an impulse trip across the Atlantic isn't an option for me right now...!
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Peter Oundjian, conductor
Katherine Bryan, flute
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Music by Vaughan-Williams, Ravel, Suckling
dedicated audio page coming soon
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 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 lives in Manchester and is currently Senior Lecturer in the Music Department at the University of York.
Candlebird, his settings of poems by Don Paterson for baritone and eighteen players, was premiered to critical acclaim by the London Sinfonietta in 2011. Suckling has been commissioned by many leading orchestras and ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Britten Sinfonia and Hebrides Ensemble. Notable champions of his works include Ilan Volkov, François-Xavier Roth, Robin Ticciati and Pierre-André Valade. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2008 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize.
Recent works include a series of ‘musical postcards’ for the Scottish Ensemble, Release for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Nocturne - a duet for violin and cello - commissioned by Aldeburgh Music. Six Speechless Songs, Suckling’s first work as composer in association with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, was premiered in February 2014 with the press praising its ‘glistening textures' and ‘Ravellian intimacy.’ Songs from a Bright September for bass and piano trio followed later that year and 2015 saw a clarinet trio Visiones (after Goya) unveiled at the Aldeburgh Festival. Current projects include a Piano Concerto for Tom Poster and the SCO.