The Composer

Martin Emslie

Martin Emslie lives in Somerset and is an experienced musician, composer and Musical Director. He is a church organist, choral conductor and has been Musical Director for over 50 shows. He is a member of ABCD, ACDA and the International Federation of Choral Music, holds an MSc, AMusLCM and was awarded the prestigious Fellowship of the London College of Music for the composition of Omega and Alpha.

His Story

Early Musical Experience

Whilst at school in Lancashire, Martin studied music along with private tuition for piano, classical guitar and trumpet. As a teenager, Martin started playing organ regularly at churches and keyboards in the hotels, clubs and holiday centres in the Blackpool area. The work was demanding, often in front of audiences of more than 1,000 people, backing high calibre cabaret artists with no rehearsal. Martin was also very active in local operatic groups, performing many shows per year.

As a pianist, Martin was frequently in demand for playing at rehearsals with music ranging from Gilbert and Sullivan to West Side Story. By this time he had taken the role of Musical Director for 2 small, local shows, leading a 7 piece band and being responsible for all musical arrangements. He was also involved with a local drama group working backstage, learning the art of Stage Management and the techniques required to produce a show.

When he relocated to Somerset, Martin was approached by the Yeovil Scouts to help create a Gang Show and continued as Musical Director for 16 years. The Yeovil Gang Show rapidly gained a national reputation for the quality and quantity of harmony singing, involving a cast of up to 100 people and a 17-piece orchestra. Martin composed a significant proportion of the shows as well as completing all the musical arrangements. In 1995 the cast performed in the Royal Albert Hall under Martin’s direction in front of 7,000 spectators.

Other musical activities have been many and varied. They include:

• Accompanying specialist cabaret artists such as Frank Carson.
• Singing in services at Wells Cathedral, Bath Abbey and Westminster Abbey.
• Producing specialist swing band arrangements for local Big Bands.
• Taking a leading role in the South Somerset Community Opera “Floodgates”.
• Assisting a local Youth Orchestra to develop young musical talent by performing, teaching and supplying the orchestra with specialist arrangements.
• Leading a professional 5-piece band (vocals, keyboards and guitars).
• Working with the Somerset Youth Service to develop a scheme to encourage young people with an interest in rock/pop music to enhance their musical skills and abilities.
• Running specialist educational music courses.
• Teaching from primary school level to GCE “A” level and BTEC national in Music and Music Technology.
• External Verifier for Edexcel examination board.
• Church Organist for 2 parish churches.
• Experienced choir master.
• Free-lance Musical Director (MD for Castle Cary Choir and Oakfield Choir (Frome).

In 2002 Martin left his main profession (engineering) to concentrate on musical activities.

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