50 grand for an accordion player

50 grand for an accordion player


norman lebrecht

November 14, 2014

Martin Green is one of three composer winners of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation 20th annual Awards for Artists. The prize is £50,000 over three years. 

Martin Green (b.1977) writes music and plays the accordion, and anything with knobs on that you can plug into the mains. The traditional music he grew up with is at the core of his approach, as is the use of live electronics. His interest is in taking the power he finds in traditional music into new contexts and settings…. Green lives in Pathhead near Edinburgh.


martin green


The other winners are:

Shabaka Hutchings (b. 1984) plays the saxophone and clarinet. He is a band leader and composer and part of London’s community of younger jazz musicians as well as the city’s thriving improvised music scene. As part of the Caribbean diaspora, he sees his role as that of pushing the boundaries of what musical elements people consider to be Caribbean.


Pat Thomas (b. 1960) has been involved with some of the leading practitioners in creative music, whether that music be composed or improvised, for over 30 years. He has developed a personal vocabulary on the piano, as well as a personal approach to electronics particularly, in the use of interactive playing with computers in a real time setting. 

Ours not to reason….


  • Ken J. says:

    I can’t speak to the other winners, but Martin Green is quite respected within the British Isles folk scene. He plays in the popular trio Lau (a venture of about 9 years standing). Work under his own name turns more to pushing style boundaries, which seems to be what this award wants to promote.

  • David Jones says:

    I can see lots of reasons why Martin Green should be a winner. The Hamlyn prize is for composers “at a pivotal moment in their careers”. Martin Green wrote Crow’s Bones to commission by Opera North – it was an original and passionate piece, a kind of dramatised song cycle, that ended up being recorded and toured all over Britain. He’s now touring the world with Lau (see them at the Barbican next Saturday Nov 22 in a double bill with electronics innovator Henrik Schwarz as part of our EFG London Jazz Festival http://www.serious.org.uk/events/info/lau-bugge-wesseltoft-henrik-schwarz-dan-berglund) and developing their Lau-land programme, which brings together folk music, new composition and outfield innovators – it’s been done in Gateshead and London, and it’s planned for Bristol next year. The Hamlyn Prize highlights that there are dozens of fine composers and creators who would benefit from having £50,000 to develop their work – but Martin’s definitely a worthy winner.

  • Jo Nockels says:

    As the commissioner of Martin Green’s Crows’ Bones for Opera North, I am delighted to see him win a PHF Award. His wonderful, distinctive music, wide-ranging creative imagination and seemingly unending ability to create new, surprising and hugely fruitful collaborations make him an exciting and deserving winner of the prize.