Martin Jones

Martin Jones was a chorister at Magdalene College School and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He has been one of Britain’s most highly regarded solo pianists since first coming to international attention in 1968 when he received the Dame Myra Hess Award. The same year he made his London debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and his New York debut at Carnegie Hall, and ever since has been in demand for recitals and concerto performances on both sides of the Atlantic.

He is a prolific recording artist and his many discs for Nimbus Records include the complete solo piano works of Mendelssohn, Brahms, Debussy, Grainger, Szymanowski (voted Best Instrumental Recording of 1996 by the Spanish magazine ‘CD Compact’) Stravinsky, Korngold and the sonatas of Alun Hoddinott. He has recently recorded several Spanish piano masters and Volume 2 of this series received the 2000 Classical Indie Award from the Association for Independent Music in the USA. The soundtrack of the film ‘Howards End’ features Martin Jones performing Grainger’s Bridal Lullaby and Mock Morris. He has also recorded Grainger’s Tribute to Foster conducted by John Eliot Gardiner for Philips, Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto for ASV, a recital CD with horn player, David Pyatt, for Erato Disques, and Reger’s Clarinet Sonatas with Anthony Pike. Three CDs featuring Richard Rodney Bennett’s piano music have been released on the Metronome label with a fourth to follow. Most recent Nimbus releases include Gershwin transcriptions by Earl Wild, major piano works by Hans Gal and the complete piano works of Guastavino, Ernesto Halffter and Joachim Nin. He is currently recording Czerny’s Sonatas.

Martin Jones has performed as concerto soloist with many of the leading British orchestras, as well as in the USA and Russia, and toured Canada as soloist with the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra. Performances include Shostakovich’s Concerto No 1 in Central and South America with the London Festival Orchestra, a regional tour playing Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Hallé Orchestra, the Britten Piano Concerto in St Petersburg, the Schoenberg Piano Concerto with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Scharwenka’s Piano Concerto No 1 in the USA, Brahms Concerto No 1 with the Oman Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s K491 with the London Festival Orchestra, and Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

His performance repertoire, as well as encompassing most of the standard works for piano, also includes unusual concertos such as the Busoni Concerto, which he performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Norman Del Mar. He has also championed the music of British composers and has performed concertos by Britten, Benjamin, Mathias, McCabe and Lambert. He gave the first performance of the revised version of Alun Hoddinott’s Third Concerto at the 1974 BBC Promenade Concerts, and recorded Hoddinott’s Second Concerto with Andrew Davis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for Decca.

Martin Jones has given recitals throughout Great Britain, and as well as regular broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, he has given recitals for Brussels Radio, RTE in Dublin, DeutschlandRadio in Berlin and ABC in Australia. In the USA he has served as jury member on a number of international piano competitions, and performed in New York, Washington, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and California. In Los Angeles he gave a recital as part of the 1994 UK/LA Celebration of British Arts, which was broadcast live on KUSC Radio. He gave the world premiere of Ravelled Threads by American composer, Wendy Carlos in New York, and in 1996 he became the first major British artist to give a solo recital in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Other recital appearances include the Adelaide Festival, a programme of Percy Grainger at the Eifeler Musiktage in Germany, and the complete Iberia of Albéniz at London’s South Bank Centre.

“Martin Jones as a recording artist has been part of my listening experience for almost as long as I’ve been collecting LPs and CDs. Seeing his distinguished and still active career celebrated by Nimbus Records in this way is a true delight. This 4 CD set presents a well-planned programme of recordings from the early days of Nimbus to some of their most recent releases. While in some ways it is a ‘sampler’ of Martin Jones’s remarkable work each disc is a very satisfying listen in its own right.” MusicWeb International, 2015

“Martin Jones obviously relishes every ounce of Bennett’s superbly crafted and attractive music. Warmly recommended” BBC Radio 3 CD Review, 2012

“Martin Jones’s approach is direct, and ideal. He makes no attempt to make Mompou seem any more complex than he is. There is no forcefulness, and no unwarranted lingering.” Music Web International, 2011

“When I reviewed Volume 1 of Carl Czerny’s Piano sonatas, I had nothing but unreserved praise for both Nimbus and pianist Martin Jones, a partnership responsible for bringing back to life the wonderful piano repertoire of a composer who in his heyday was extremely popular, but who since his death in 1857 aged 66 has been largely forgotten…As in the first issue Martin Jones interprets this virtuosic music with fiery brilliance and his sublime dexterity on the instrument shines forth with constant radiance.I’m looking forward to the next helping.” Classical Net Review, 2010

“…you could hardly wish for a more sympathetic and scintillating soloist…” Gramophone 2009

“Martin Jones is a committed soloist, handling the limpid piano writing of the first movement with great delicacy.” International Record Review 2009

“…a pianist of a beguiling fluency and affection, sympathetic to the widest variety of material…his playing is of an exemplary taste and clarity yet also blessed with a no less distinctive style and character.” Gramophone 2001

“In Martin Jones’s hands, the original orchestral colours really seemed to glow, and his pearly quiet tone in the central Berceuse was nothing short of magical.”
The Independent 2000

“Martin Jones’s lavish and immaculately shaded accounts never lose concentration…this set is a joy.” The Independent 1999

“Jones is a pianist who, while not indulging in understatement, eschews histrionics and approaches the most mountainous piano writing with a totally civilised sensibility. Drama there was aplenty… sensitive tone and control of the development of things never deserted him.” The Advertiser, Adelaide 1998

“Martin Jones, unfazed by some near-murderous technical difficulties, plays with musicianship as seasoned as it is incisive” Classic FM Magazine 1997

“Martin Jones delivered a breathtakingly brilliant arrangement of Valse des Fleurs..”
The Times 1997

“…a British virtuoso with ideas and an enterprising repertoire.” Financial Times 1994

“…Jones is a perceptive and sensitive artist with enormous capacity, energy and a big technique.” BBC Music Magazine 1994

“Martin Jones’s playing is phenomenal.” CD Review 1994

“Martin Jones has the elegance and poise for Szymanowski’s quiet reflections on Chopin, and he can roar satisfyingly when a Lisztian mood is called for.”
Gramophone 1994

“…big tone, grand phrasing, rhythmic vitality, and nicely controlled dynamic gradations. It was a fresh unforced and consistently assured performance…”
Manchester Evening News 1993

“…he is hugely dependable and totally sensible without pseudo-artistic guile..”
The Independent 1992

“There is so much music that Martin Jones plays superbly that I hope his projects will continue for many years to come.” Gramophone 1990