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Frank Martin


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Frank Martin (15 September 1890 – 21 November 1974) was a Swiss composer, who lived a large part of his life in the Netherlands.

He was born in Geneva, the tenth and last child of Charles Martin, a pastor. Before he started school, he was already playing the piano and improvising. At nine, he was composing complete, fully formed songs, without having had any instruction in song forms or harmony. A performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion which he heard at the age of twelve left upon him an ineradicable impression, and Bach became his true master.

He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Geneva for two years, working on composition and studying piano with Joseph Lauber on the side. From 1918 to 1926, he lived in Zürich, Rome, and Paris. The compositions of this period show him searching for his own musical language.

In 1926, he founded the Société de Musique de Chambre de Genève, which he directed as pianist and harpsichordist for ten years. During this time, he also taught theory and improvisation at the Jaques-Dalcroze Institute and chamber music at the Geneva Conservatoire.

He was director of the Technicum Moderne de Musique from 1933 to 1940 and president of the Association of Swiss Musicians from 1942 to 1946.

He moved to the Netherlands in 1946 to find more time for his composing than he could obtain while in Switzerland, where he was involved in too many other activities. For ten years he lived in Amsterdam, and finally settled in Naarden.


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  • insomniacme

    the oldest most presentable pics are the best <3

    4 Aug 2010 Reply
  • rm508

    A real genius. KraeheK's uploaded a whole lot of new pictures - you folks should vote for them.

    3 Jul 2010 Reply
  • insomniacme

    Great not really Swiss name.

    19 May 2010 Reply
  • _KevMusic_

    Incredible composer. His Trio on Irish Folk Tunes (1925) is stellar, as well as the rest of his work.

    31 Dec 2009 Reply
  • faceofanother

    oh my goodness the rilke cornet thingie is really quite insanely gorgeous.

    9 Nov 2009 Reply
  • anagel1

    His mass for double choir is one of my all time favourites. I hardly can find words to express my admiration for that work.

    16 Oct 2009 Reply
  • fergusmcphail

    Golgotha! <3

    10 Apr 2009 Reply
  • airfigaro

    Love his mass for double choir.

    30 Jan 2009 Reply
  • KraeheK

    First shout :P Good stuff in his choral music.

    10 Jun 2008 Reply

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