Martin Suckling was born in Glasgow in 1981. After spending his teenage years performing in the National Youth Orchestra and in ceilidh bands around Scotland, Suckling studied music at Clare College, Cambridge and King’s College, London. He was a Paul Mellon Fellow at Yale University from 2003-5, undertook doctoral research at the Royal Academy of Music, and subsequently became a Stipendiary Lecturer in Music at Somerville College, Oxford. His teachers include George Benjamin, Robin Holloway, Paul Patterson, Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman, and Simon Bainbridge. Suckling has benefited from residencies at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldeburgh, Aspen, and IRCAM, and has won numerous awards including the 2008 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize. He lives in Manchester and is currently Lecturer in Composition at the University of York.
Suckling has been commissioned by many leading orchestras and ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia, Scottish Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Notable conductors of his works include Ilan Volkov, Francois-Xavier Roth, Robin Ticciati, Nicholas Collon and Pierre Andre Valade. His music has also featured in many festivals including Cheltenham, Ultraschall, Chacombe, Deal, ISCM World Music Days 2007 (Hong Kong), and Oxford Lieder. In 2013 he was appointed Associate Composer with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
In 2011 the critically acclaimed Candlebird, a substantial new piece for baritone and ensemble based on texts by Don Paterson, was premiered by the London Sinfonietta, who subsequently released a recording of the work on their own label. The same work received its Scottish premiere with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in February 2015. In 2011 storm, rose, tiger was premiered by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Robin Ticciati at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. In December of that year Suckling's violin concerto, De sol y grana, was premiered by Agata Szymczewska and the London Contemporary Orchestra. It has since been performed by the Southbank Sinfonia.
Throughout the 2012/13 season Martin Suckling wrote a series of Postcards for the Scottish Ensemble. These miniatures – presented initially as separate pieces to appreciative audiences across Scotland – were performed as a complete 15 minute collection at Wigmore Hall in October 2013. Other recent works include Release, for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra which was premiered by Ilan Volkov at the orchestra’s Techtonics festival in May 2013, and Nocturne, a duet for violin and cello commissioned by Aldeburgh Music and performed by violinist Pekka Kuusisto and cellist Peter Gregson.
Six Speechless Songs, Suckling’s first work as Associate Composer with the SCO, was premiered on 6 February 2014 under the baton of Robin Ticciati as part of the Orchestra’s 40th Birthday Concert. It will be performed again by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in 2016, this time conducted by Oliver Knussen.
Martin Suckling is a Faber Music House Composer.