Robert Martin (b. 1952; Hagerstown, MD) began composing when he was asked to write the graduation march played at his high school graduation. After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Composition from Peabody Conservatory, he worked at various jobs including as apprentice in pipe organ restoration.
In 1976, the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Charles Ives Scholarship for outstanding music composition. Subsequently, he received a Fulbright Scholarship that took him to Vienna, Eastern Europe and Israel.
Returning to New York in 1980, Martin decided against pursuing an academic career. Instead, he began working on Wall Street eventually rising to the position of Senior Vice President in investment banking at a leading firm. In addition to providing financing help to hospitals and universities, Martin also served as financial advisor to the City of New York. Upon retirement he traveled throughout Asia as the recipient of a Japan-US Creative Artist Fellowship.
Much of Robert Martin's music concerns itself with the human reaction to the faint and fading glimpse of reality that all things will evanesce. As New York Times music critic Paul Griffiths observed: “Martin’s interest in Gorky's art is apparently not so much in the subject matter of a particular picture as in the general notion of what gives an abstract image wholeness and presence.”
Mike Strizic, music critic for the Canadian website MyEntertainmentWorld.ca, observed: “Other modern composers have been content to let dissonance do their work for them, with little thought to resolving that dissonance into a cohesive whole. Martin, by contrast, appears to firmly grasp the summative nature of his work – he refuses to shoehorn his material into formulae that do not enhance its essentially expressionist nature, and for that I applaud him.”