Martin Outram

Martin Outram

AcademicStrings

MA, FRAM

Viola with additional responsibility for chamber music; BMus Tutor

Since studying at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music with John White, Martin Outram has enjoyed a wide ranging career as quartet player, soloist and teacher. In addition to his busy career with the award-winning Maggini Quartet, Martin appears frequently as a soloist. His repertoire embraces the major works for viola, but his programmes often include rarely heard pieces, particularly by British composers. Several works have been written for him, notably concertos by Adam Gorb and David Gow.

Martin made his Royal Festival Hall solo debut in 1992 in a performance of Mozart’s ’Sinfonia Concertante’ with the London Mozart Players. His solo appearances have included concertos in London, Liverpool and major festivals throughout the UK. Having given the broadcast premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ ’Strathclyde Concerto No.5’ with the composer conducting in 1995, he gave the first concert performance of Britten’s ’Portrait No.2’ at St John’s Smith Square, London, a year later and went on to tour the work with Martyn Brabbins and Sinfonia 21 in Russia. Recent engagements included a rare performance of the Maconchy ’Romanza’ with the Ambache Chamber Orchestra, and performances of the Walton and Larsson concertos. In addition, Martin was the soloist in the first European performance for 75 years of York Bowen’s Viola Concerto, with Ronald Corp and the New London Orchestra. His solo performances with the Britten Sinfonia have included Britten’s ’Lachrymae’ in Belgium with Joanna MacGregor, many performances of ’Ulysses Awakes’ by John Woolrich and a UK tour featuring the Mozart ’Concertante’ with Tasmin Little in early 2006.

In 2007 Martin made debut solo appearances in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Martin Outram performs in recital with Julian Rolton. Together they have performed widely throughout the UK and have recorded for the Naxos label sonatas by Bliss and Rawsthorne and all the music for viola and piano by Bax. Following highly acclaimed recitals at the 1997 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and the 1998 International Viola Congress in Glasgow, Martin served on the jury for the 2003 Tertis Competition. Martin Outram is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, where he has been a professor since 1984, and is also an Honorary Fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University and Brunel University. He has given solo and chamber music masterclasses at major music institutions in Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden and America. He plays on a very fine viola made by Hieronymus Amati in 1628.

Research Profile

As a member of the Maggini Quartet, I have recorded over thirty discs of twentieth-century British string quartet repertoire, including the cycle of ten ’Naxos’ quartets by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. This has extended to the commissioning of other new music, notably works by Robert Simpson, James MacMillan, Eleanor Alberga and Roxanna Panufnik. I have a particular interest in the chamber music of Frank Bridge and have researched Bridge's professional career as a violist.

As a soloist, I have performed and recorded much neglected repertoire and my recent recordings of English Viola Sonatas and all the viola music of Bax for Naxos prompted wide international critical acclaim. Interested in all aspects of the viola and its literature, my particular focus is on the legacy of works connected to the great English violist Lionel Tertis, but I have also researched original European nineteenth-century pedagogic material for the instrument and lectured on the viola music of York Bowen and Benjamin Britten.

I am currently planning another recording of works for solo viola by twentieth-century British composers. It will explore the legacy associated with the Scottish violist and former RAM professor Watson Forbes. I am also commissioning new music and a work for viola and chamber ensemble has been written recently for me by Stuart MacRae.

I edited the first publication by Comus of the Tertis Duo based on a theme of Handel. My arrangement of the Delius Cello Sonata for viola will be published shortly by Boosey and Hawkes. Recent recordings (in addition to the viola discs mentioned above) have included the complete string quartets of Edmund Rubbra, William Alwyn and Lennox Berkeley.