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. Four CDs featuring Richard Rodney Bennett’s piano music have been released on the Metronome label. Some recent Nimbus releases include Gershwin transcriptions by Earl Wild, Czerny Sonatas, major piano works by Hans Gal and the complete piano works of Guastavino, Ernesto Halffter, Joachim Nin, Reizenstein and most recently Alun Richardson. Most recent recordings include Rediscovered Piano Works by Welsh composer Daniel Jones for Lyrita, and for Resonus Classics two discs of Elisabeth Lutyens solo piano works, and Lutyens Music for Piano and Orchestra and Elizabeth Maconchy’s Dialogues for Piano and Orchestrawith the BBC Concert Orchestra to be released in March 2023.

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.


Artist Videos

Martin Jones in Conversation
Grainger - In Dahomey 'Cakewalk smasher'
Mendelssohn: Etude in F minor
Percy Grainger's 'Country Gardens'

Elisabeth Lutyens Piano Music, Volume 3, Resonus Classics

“One of a kind, the composer Elisabeth Lutyens (1906-83) eludes fashion for several reasons…Her Piano Works Volume 3 (Resonus), performed by Martin Jones, includes short works dating back to 1944, the oddly touching Holiday Diary (1949) – tiny pieces with narrated text – as well as three sets of Bagatelles. Having regarded her music as quite resistible in the past, I found this album engaging, serious, stimulating.” Observer, March 2024

“The indefatigable Martin Jones, whose achievement in recording this mostly highly complex piano music over the last three years….this amazingly varied music, here presented and recorded with clarity and immediacy.” British Music Society, March 2024

“Elisabeth Lutyens is perhaps best known for the pared-back austerity of her later music….but there are other sides to Lutyens in Martin Jones’s nuanced selection.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2024

“…her own styles could range widely…the childlike simplicity of Holiday Diary….mature works such as Helix for piano duo and the three books of Bagatelles, wide-ranging in their emotions yet all brief, one lasting only half a minute. All are world-premiere recordings, and if that implies at least a little barrel scraping, everything is meticulously played.” Classical Music, January 2024

Works for Piano and Orchestra by Maconchy and Lutyens, Resonus Classics

“The “Allegro” that follows is crisply articulated by Martin Jones, the wind soloists of the BBC Concert Orchestra revelling in the chamber-like textures.”
The Arts Desk, June 2023

“Soloist Martin Jones and the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by John Andrews capture the music’s bite and purpose.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2023

“Its severe textures, abstract lines and at time glaring focus on the piano as the primary element in its discourse are rendered with precision and sensitivity by Jones”.” Gramophone, May 2023

“It’s the Maconchy that makes the strongest immediate impression…It packs a punch, with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by John Andrews, bouncing off the coiled spring of Martin Jones’s piano playing….Lutyens’s music is uncompromising on a different level Jones…does the scrupulous clarity of her writing full justice, capturing the moments of reflective beauty amid the muscular rigour of the 1964 Music for Piano and Orchestra”. Guardian, March 2023

Elisabeth Lutyens Piano Music, Volume 2, Resonus Classics

“Even in the most severe passages, Jones plays like a man in love with the music and that love is deeply contagious….Jones makes easy work of it all and draws the listener magnetically into the strange, austere but beautiful sound world of Lutyens’ music. Jones strikes gold – or perhaps some rarer precious metal – again!” MusicWeb International, January 2023

“The music of Elisabeth Lutyens never had it easy, being too radical for a mainstream audience but not experimental enough for the modern-music clique, and new releases are comparatively rare – making this second volume in Martin Jones’s survey of her piano output the more welcome. As on the previous volume (11/21), to which Guy Rickards gave a cordial welcome, Jones renders this music with assurance and keen insight. Warmly recommended…” Gramophone/October 2022

Elisabeth Lutyens Piano Music, Volume 1, Resonus Classics

“Martin Jones effortlessly switches between a fairy-tale velvet touch to brisk, firm banging when the music demands it. He is the ideal performer of Lutyens’ piano music, an interesting mix of sweet impressionism and abrasive severity – British modernism imbued with French perfume.”

“I have not mentioned Martin Jones’s playing yet, but it is tribute to his expressive intelligence and natural (self-effacing?) pianism that it is Lutyens that one hears throughout, not Jones, which is exactly as it should be. This will not appeal to all tastes, but with superb sound from Resonus, it is strongly recommended.” Gramophone/November 2021

“Martin Jones’s survey of the piano music – in meticulous, clearly affectionate performances – should fill at least one of the yawning gaps.” Guardian/October 2021

“Martin Jones is a perfect advocate for this sensitive music, and he is beautifully and spaciously recorded. It is good to know that at least one more volume will be out before too long.” MusicWeb International/October 2021

“Martin Jones’ performances are revelatory, his brings a lovely combination of technical skill, toughness and poetry to the music. The uncompromising nature of Lutyens’ harmonic world is not disguised, yet Jones’ also brings out the astonishing clarity and poetry of her musical gestures. To enter this music is to enter a different world, one that you wonder why you never discovered it earlier.” Planet Hugill/October 2021

Selected Earlier Reviews

“Martin Jones is particularly successful at finding the balance between the Romantic/subjective and Classical/objective elements in the music. Also, given the amount of contrapuntal writing he is especially good at teasing out the numerous musical threads in which these works abound.” Reizenstein Piano Music/MusicWeb International/November 2019

“Martin Jones’s mastery of the solo part is complete, and, throughout, Boughton and BBCNOW ensure best results for this communicative and shrewd composer.” Joubert Piano Concerto/classical source/March 2019

“Dedicated to and premiered by Eso Elinson, Joubert’s 1958 Piano Concerto unfolds on a large scale, muscular in its outer movements. The orchestra’s role is prominent, with Martin Jones a sure soloist. Rewarding listening.” Joubert Piano Concerto/Agora Classica/March 2018

“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…” Richard Rodney Bennet/Piano Concerto, Gramophone 2009

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

“Martin Jones is equal to its technical demands….it’s good to have this clean, clear account in its stead.” Richard Rodney Bennett/Piano Concerto, BBC Music Magazine 1009

“…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

Concert Repertoire

Addinsell Warsaw Concerto
Bartok Piano Concerto No 3 (1945)
Barber Piano Concerto Op 38
Beethoven Piano Concerto No 3 in C minor Op 37
Beethoven Piano Concerto No 4 in G Op 58
Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat Op 73
Bennett, Richard Rodney Piano Concerto (1968)
Brahms Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor Op 15
Brahms Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat Op 83
Britten Diversions
Britten Piano Concerto in D Op 15
Britten Piano Concerto Op 39
Franck Symphonic Variations Op 46
Gershwin Piano Concerto in F (1925)
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue (1924)
Gershwin Second Rhapsody (1931)
Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor Op 16
Hoddinott Piano Concerto No 2 Op 21
Hoddinott Piano Concerto No 3 Op 44
Liszt Piano Concerto No 1 in E flat
Liszt Piano Concerto No 2 in A
Liszt Totentanz
Lutoslawski Variations on a theme of Paganini
Mozart Piano Concerto No 24 in C minor K491
Poulenc Concerto for two pianos in D minor
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 1 in D flat Op 10
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3 in C Op 26
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 1 in F sharp minor Op 1
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor Op 18
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor Op 30
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 4 in G minor Op 40
Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini Op 43
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto in D (left hand)
Ravel Piano Concerto in G
Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor Op 22
Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No 3 in E flat Op 29
Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No 5 in F Op 103
Scharwenka Piano Concerto No 1 in B flat minor Op 32
Schoenberg Piano Concerto
Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor Op 54
Shostakovich Piano Concerto in C minor Op 35
Shostakovich Piano Concerto No 2 in F Op 102
Strauss, Richard Burleske in D minor
Stravinsky Capriccio (1928-9)
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 in B flat minor Op 23
Iberia, etc Albéniz
Nimbus NI5595/8
Works for Piano Solo Bennett, Richard Rodney
Metronome METCD1069
Works for Piano Duo and Duet Bennett, Richard Rodney
Metronome METCD1070
Works for Piano and Orchestra Bennett, Richard Rodney
Metronome METCD1071
Complete Piano Music Brahms
Nimbus NI1788
Complete Piano Works Debussy
Nimbus NI51604
Music for Piano Esplá, Óscar
Nimbus NI588990
Music for solo piano, duo & duet Françaix, Jean
Nimbus NI58802
Piano Music Gál, Hans
Nimbus NI5751/2
Virtuoso Arrangements for piano Gershwin arr Wild
Nimbus NI5743
Complete Piano Works Grainger
Nimbus NI1767
Complete Piano Music Granados
Nimbus NI1734
Complete Piano Music Guastavino
Nimbus NI5818/20
Piano Concertos 1 & 2 Hoddinott
Lyrita SRCD330
The Piano Music Korngold
Nimbus NI5705/8
Piano Works Vol 1 Lutyens
Resonus Classics RES10291
Piano Works Vol 2 Lutyens
Resonus Classics RES10306
Complete Piano Works Mendelssohn
Nimbus NI1772
The Piano Music Mompou
Nimbus NI5724/7
The Piano Music Richardson
Lyrita SRCD2373
Complete Piano Music Roger-Ducasse
Nimbus NI5927
Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 Shaw, Francis
Lyrita SRCD356
Music for Piano Duo & Duet Saint-Saens
Nimbus NI5940
Piano Concertos Shostakovich
Nimbus NI5308
Piano Sonatas Shostakovich
AVM Classics D19418
Music for Piano Stravinsky
Nimbus NI5519/20
Complete Piano Music Szymanowski
Nimbus NI1750
Spanish Piano Music Turina/Falla/Mompou
Nimbus NI5619/23