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.