Martin Owen is widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading horn players, appearing as guest Principal Horn both with the major London orchestras and those further afield, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He also appears as soloist and chamber musician in some of the leading music festivals around the world.
Since making his Wigmore Hall debut in 1997, Martin has performed a variety of recitals and concertos at home and abroad, including the USA, Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan. In 1998, he was appointed Principal Horn of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, relinquishing the post in 2008 after ten years of service.
Martin currently holds the position of Principal Horn at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, but still enjoys a busy and varied solo career. Recent highlights include performances of Richard Strauss’ second horn concerto with the New World Symphony; Malcolm Arnold’s concerto with both the Scottish Ensemble and Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra; Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with Guildhall Strings and a range of tenor soloists including Toby Spence and Philip Langridge; Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux Etoiles with Ensemble Modern; Haydn’s second concerto with English Sinfonia; Jan van der Roost’s Rhapsody with the Scottish Academy; and Gordon Jacob’s Concerto and Weber’s Concertino at the British Horn Festival, as well as many performances of the four Mozart concertos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Martin also gave the world premiere of Malcolm Arnold’s recently-discovered Burlesque with the Royal Philharmonic in the composer’s home town of Northampton.
In 2003, Martin Owen recorded Britten’s Serenade with Toby Spence and the Scottish Ensemble directed by Clio Gould for the Linn label, to great critical acclaim - Paul Driver of the Sunday Times cited that ’Owen’s playing is a luxury for the ear’. He recently returned to Wigmore Hall to give performances of the Serenade and Schubert’s Octet with Michael Collins (which was recorded for Wigmore Hall Live label). Other highlights have included a German tour of Schumann’s Konzertstück with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, recordings of Mozart’s concerto no.4 (for RPO classics), of Roderick Elms’ Four Seasonal Nocturnes for Horn (also with the RPO, for the Dutton label), and in 2007 his solo debut at the BBC Proms performing Schumann’s Konzertstück with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
More recently, Martin performed Britten’s Serenade with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the 2008 Bad Kissingen Festival, and subsequently made his Barbican debut in the London premiere of Elliott Carter’s horn concerto, also with the BBC Symphony/Oliver Knussen, as part of Carter’s 100th birthday celebrations. Martin’s performance of this work was released by Bridge Records in March 2010. His recent recording of Danzi’s Sinfonia Concertante, with the Orquestra de Cadaques, was released in 2009 on the Trito label. Martin returned to the Proms as soloist in a highly-acclaimed performance of Oliver Knussen’s horn concerto with the BBC Symphony conducted by the composer, broadcast live on BBC television and radio.
Martin Owen has been awarded a Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music, where he is Professor of Horn.