The Composer Steve Martland Has Died

Steve Martland

The Composer Steve Martland Has Died

The British composer Steve Martland has died aged fifty-three. His death was announced by his publisher Schott Music on Tuesday.

Born in Liverpool in 1959, Martland studied composition at Liverpool University and then in the Hague with the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. He worked mostly with groups based outside classical institutions, including his own Steve Martland Band.

‘Musicians today are no longer obliged to rely on the received traditions of music college when presenting new work,’ Martland once said in BBC Music Magazine. ‘Rather, they now work in a deregulated aesthetic environment where, say, the deployment of digital samples and the influence of jazz/trip-hop/Balinese gamelan/your non-classical music of choice must be addressed with as much rigour as traditional instrumental virtuosity or the conventions of the sonata form.’

One of Martland’s interests was the role of the composer in society. ‘Creativity is everything that is against what’s going on in the world right now,’ he said. ‘It’s to do with tolerance and understanding other people.’

Martland is also remembered as an enthusiastic teacher. One tribute, by the composer Tim Benjamin, claimed, ‘Without Steve, I … would probably have ended up an accountant.’

Martland ran a summer school, Strike Out, for young composers still at school, and once made a film about his teacher, Louis Andriessen, titled A Temporary Arrangement with the Sea.

Published on 8 May 2013

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