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Martin Johnson_profile

Artist Profile:
Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson studied Cello at the Royal College of Music, London under the direction of Anna Shuttleworth, a former student of Pablo Casals, Andrew Shulman, Principal Cello – The Philharmonia Orchestra, and the British Soloist Alexander Baillie.

In 2000, he joined the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and has been their Section Leader for two decades – broadcasting most of the orchestral cello solo repertoire to date. In 2006 Martin was invited to become a lifetime member of the World Philharmonic Orchestra and is also a regular Guest Principal with the major orchestras in Ireland and the UK.

Martin made his Irish debut as a soloist with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in January 2008, performing Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 1 in A minor Op.33 and has appeared as soloist with the NSO on more than twenty occasions since then.

Under the esteemed direction of Conductors Sir Kenneth Montgomery, Kees Bakels, Alan Buribayev, Douglas Boyd, Finnegan Downie-Dear, George Jackson, Gavin Maloney and Robert Houlihan, live solo broadcasts across Ireland and the UK have included concerti by Frank Corcoran (recorded for Lyric FM CD154, 2017), Fauré (NAXOS) Grainne Mulvey, Anne-Marie O’Farrell, Bloch, Elgar, Robert Schumann, Sir John Tavener, Tchaikovsky, Joseph Haydn, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Sir Michael Tippett, Delius, Corelli, Jacques Ibert, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and notably Richard Strauss’s finest tone poem ‘Don Quixote’ op.35 for ‘Cello and Orchestra with the RTÉ NSO and Maestro Pascal Rophé at Ireland’s National Concert Hall, Dublin.

A brand new Cello Concerto by the extraordinarily talented young Northern Irish Composer Anselm McDonnell (LSO Composer in Residence) has recently been commissioned for Martin by the NSO/NCH and will be Premiered in late 2025.

Martin began teaching in Ireland in 2006 and many of his students have gone on to lead the celli in NYOI, win international competitions (most recently The Royal Overseas League Chamber Music Prize 2022 and the Belgian International Chamber Music Prize 2024) as well take up scholarships for further study in European and UK Conservatoires. He has enjoyed teaching at the Royal Irish Academy of Music since 2020 – both RIAM Junior and Degree level students – and is focussed on the RIAM Professional Mentorship programme for post-graduate cellists.

Martin is a University College Dublin Arts and Humanities Faculty Creative Fellow, a Countess of Munster Scholar, an IT President’s Prize Winner (for a Thesis on Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote) and has been supported by the Musical Instruments Loan Fund and Music Network’s Music Capital Scheme in Ireland. He plays a fine cello by Thomas Kennedy of London c.1810 and an exquisite bow by legendary archetier Eugene Sartory made for the World Exhibition of 1908 in Paris/London.