Ed Martin is an award-­winning composer whose music has been performed worldwide at events such as the ISCM World New Music Days, International Computer Music Conferences, World Saxophone Congresses, the Seoul International Computer Music Festival, Confluences – Art and Technology at the Edge of the Millennium in Spain, and the International Electroacoustic Music Festival Santiago de Chile. His music is released on Ravello Records, Mark, Centaur, innova, Emeritus, and SEAMUS labels, and has received first prize awards from the Percussive Arts Society, Musical Amoeba, the Electro-­Acoustic Miniatures International Contest, the Craig and Janet Swan Composer Prize for orchestral music, and the Tampa Bay Composers’ Forum.

Ed is a passionate educator who teaches composition and music theory at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and has served on the faculties of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois Wesleyan University. His dedication to service in the field of composition has resulted in numerous opportunities intended to promote the music of other composers. As a member of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers board of directors, he has overseen multiple projects resulting in commissions, performances, and recordings of new music by Wisconsin composers and has created opportunities for student composers. He was Co-Host of the 2012 Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the U.S. National Conference and regularly adjudicates local and national student composition contests. Ed holds degrees in music composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Florida. He lives in Neenah WI with his wife Amy, his sons Owen and Colin, and his dog Charlie.

Today, Ed is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to discover what instrument Ed would love to be able to master instantly…

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

Looking back, I don’t think there was one light-bulb moment. When I was a kid, I loved making things. Whether it was a fort out in the backyard, sprawling Lego cities, or cardboard spaceships for my action figures, I just enjoyed being creative. As I was exposed to musical instruments – first saxophone, then piano, and later synthesizers and computer software – I naturally kept making things in the form of improvisations, songs, and soundtracks to imaginary movies. I’m lucky that my teachers and mentors noticed my interest in composition and encouraged me write and share my music with others along the way. I went to college at the University of Florida as a Music Education major. After about a week of taking Jim Sain’s Composition I class, however, I switched my major to composition, and haven’t looked back.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Late night Netflix binges.

If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?

Guitar. I’ve made a few half-serious attempts, but they’ve fizzled out each time.

What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

Jeri-Mae (the pianist) does such an incredible job of bringing my music to life on this album that it’s hard to choose. I think my favorite spots are the ones that highlight her incredible expressive and dynamic range. I just love the moments when she seamlessly transitions, over a few seconds, from a massive sound down to the quietest, most delicate sound that I can imagine being produced on the piano. In particular, I’m thinking about spots such as the end of Fanfares, Swirling Sky, or Conviction.

What does this album mean to you personally?

I met Jeri-Mae when we were hired to teach at the same university in 2007. I quickly learned what an absolutely fantastic pianist she is and of her strong interest in performing new music. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with her on a wide variety of projects including several new compositions, concert tours, albums, and even tedious curriculum updates at our university. This album is particularly special to me because it is the culmination of years of hard work together with a wonderful colleague, collaborating partner, and friend.

Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?

As the title implies, I hope the audience is taken on an emotional and spiritual journey over the course of each composition and the whole album.
JOURNEYS is now available through Ravello Records for streaming or purchase. Click here to explore this new album.