DR MARTIN KISZKO  COMPOSER

Born 1958, Leeds, UK, Martin Kiszko is of Polish-British origin; his family footfalls echo around the marshes of Belarussian villages as well as the streets of council estates in Leeds. He began music studies at age seven, was accepted at the Leeds City College of Music at ten and completed a BA in Music, Fine Arts and Intermedia at Bretton Hall, University of Leeds in 1979. In 1980 he was awarded his Post-graduate Certificate in Film from Bristol University and won the student award to write, direct and score the film Skokholm Light screened at the National Film Theatre and BBC. He later completed a PhD at the University of Bristol and was also awarded an honorary doctorate (DLitt) for his work by the University of Bristol in 2016.

Martin began his career as an assistant to veteran film composer Edward Williams with whom he co-founded an inter-media performance group Elektrodome.The group toured with guest artists John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Blackadder actor Tony Robinson for whom Martin composed Cairoglyph. Martin’s The Stratagem of Nauplius for trombonist James Fulkerson and video was also premiered at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Between 1984-2017 he composed and orchestrated over 200 scores for film and television and released nine albums with Europe’s finest orchestras: the London Film Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Munich Symphony Orchestra, City of Prague Philharmonic and the Brunel Ensemble. His score for the BBC's Dreamworks promo (requested by and made for Steven Spielberg and the BBC) was awarded Best Music Video at Missoula Film Festival USA.

Amongst his broadcast works were the BBC’s landmark natural history series Land of the Eagle and the popular Realms of the Russian Bear in which he pioneered the recording of music samples on film locations as well as using ethnomusicological research to assist natural history scores. He subsequently introduced the palette of East European orchestras to BBC Natural History programmes such as Alien Empire and Battle of the Sexes. [1/3]

The diversity of Martin's material also embraces BBC, ITV and C4 dramas Black Hearts in Battersea, The Levels, The Uninvited and Zastrozzi, a Romance starring Tilda Swinton and Mark McGann. His many well known TV signature tunes include BBC's Newsround, Food and Drink, Omnibus, Public Eye, Wildlife on Two, and The Natural World. During the winter of 2001 Martin voyaged to Antarctica where he composed, performed, and claimed a world first for a spoof Antarctic National Anthem (Someone had to do it!) The visit also provided the inspiration for his cantata Sea Star with words by Britain's foremost woman poet Anne Ridler OBE.

In 2003 he was commissioned by Elektrodome to produce and direct a multi-media work Inua using state-of-the-art technology Soundbeam. The work was premiered at Worcester Cathedral on December 16th 2003 and won a 2004 British Academy of Composers and Songwriters Composer of the Year Award. Another work Vi Spy, featuring Soundbeam, dancer, and electric violin with attached spycam was world premiered at Bristol’s Colston Hall.

After a commission as Music Consultant on Aardman Animation's computer game of Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Martin composed a cantata A Radius of Curves to celebrate the 2006 Isambard Kingdom Brunel 200th birthday celebrations. Later, in 2007, he composed, conducted and performed the score for the major movie The Killing of John Lennon released in the UK and the USA in 2008.

In addition to his composition, Martin co-founded the MA in Composition of Music for Film and Television in 1998 at the University of Bristol where he set up some of the first live recording sessions to picture for students. He still teaches a module on composition to the world’s new fledgling film composers. Academic music work also includes a PhD on the migration of the balalaika, a paper in The Galpin Society Journal, the entry for Balalaika in the New Grove Dictionary of Music, and the writing and directing of The Art of the Film Score - the first UK video on the craft of film music composition. [2/3]

His teaching portfolio includes: The National Film and Television School, University of Illinois, University of the Eastern Mediterranean, University of Bristol,University of the West of England, University of Bath Spa, Liverpool Hope University, Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology. In terms of festivals he has led workshops, lectures or panels at Wildscreen Film Festival, Jackson Hole Film Festival USA, Encounters Film Festival, BAFTA Cineformation and Cheltenham Music Festival.

As a festival judge Martin is a voting member of BAFTA, has judged on BAFTA’s Television Craft Awards and at the Monaco International Film Festival - where he also co-wrote the linking script for the Awards Ceremony. He has also judged for the Ivor Novello Awards in London, the British Academy of Composers, Songwriters and Authors Composer of the Year Award and for the short film competition The Pitch alongside fellow jury members animator Nick Park and actors David Suchet and David Oyelowo.

In 2017 Martin digitally remastered the score for the four part drama series and feature film Zastrozzi a Romance and released it as his ninth album.

Martin is also a passionate environmentalist and has written two poetry books for children: Green Poems for a Blue Planet and Verse for the Earth. He has travelled around the UK and worldwide with his one man show based on the books. [3/3]

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