After learning the violin and piano at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Martin André studied music at Cambridge University, and made his professional début conducting Aida for Welsh National Opera in 1982. Recently he celebrated 30 years of conducting operas and concerts around the world.
Martin André has a very wide operatic repertoire, but is particularly known for his Janáček, Verdi and Mozart. He has the rare distinction of being the only conductor to have performed for all the major British opera companies, including Un Ballo in maschera (Royal Opera House), the U.K. premiere of Matthus’ Cornet Christoph Rilke and The Makropoulos Case (Glyndebourne Touring Opera), Léhar, Mozart and Janáček (Scottish Opera), Prokofiev, Mozart, and the world premiere of John Buller’s Bakxai (English National Opera). During the past decade, he has enjoyed a close relationship with Opera North, conducting operas by Martinů, Falla, Rachmaninov, Puccini, Verdi, Gounod and Janáček. In 2000 he conducted a live broadcast of The Marriage of Figaro for BBC TV. More recently he has been working closely with Garsington Opera, performing operas by Stravinsky, Martinů, Mozart and Humperdinck. From 1993-96, Martin was Music Director of English Touring Opera.
In 1986 he began conducting operas in the international arena, starting with the North American premiere of Janáček’s From the House of the Dead (Vancouver Opera). He made his début in the United States with Carmen (Seattle Opera). Since then, he has been regularly appearing in the Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa and USA.
In the symphonic world, he particularly enjoys the works of Tchaikovsky, Nielsen and Shostakovich. He has enjoyed 4 particularly long relationships: in Holland (Limburgs Symfonie Orkest), in Portugal (Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música), in Norway (Collegium Musicum Bergen), and in London (Royal College of Music). He has worked with many of the major British orchestras, and abroad in Australia, Israel, Mexico, Holland, Norway and Portugal.
From 2010 until 2013, he was Artistic Director of Teatro Nacional de Saõ Carlos, Lisbon. As such, he was the Chief Executive of 2 major Portuguese Cultural Institutions: the National Opera Company and the National Symphony Orchestra. As well as all his administrative duties, he conducted several new opera productions, including a Trilogy of La traviata, Il trovatore and Rigoletto to celebrate Verdi’s Anniversary in 2013. He also had a close rapport with the symphony orchestra, conducting a cycle of the complete Mozart symphonies in one weekend, and numerous large-scale symphonic and choral works by Bruckner, Janáček, Sibelius, Strauss, Tchaikovsky and many others.
Martin began 2014 with a major operatic project in Denmark, conducting Lucia di Lammermoor for Den Jyske Opera, with 5 different Danish orchestras and a nationwide tour of 19 performances. Later in the year he conducted a string orchestra for a Live Screening of the Movie “Psycho” by Alfred Hitchcock, with music by Bernard Harrmann. Martin made his debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Singers, with a World Premiere of “A Christmas Carol” by Neil Brand, which was performed and recorded for BBC Radios 3 and 4.
Martin ended 2014 and starts 2015 in Funchal, Madeira. He returns to conduct concerts in London with music by Bartók (January) and Holst (March). His debut with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will take place in March, with 2 concerts featuring particularly brilliant Ballet music by Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and others.
“Musically this was a great pleasure, since conductor Martin André and South Jutland Symphony Orchestra played Donizetti's delicious notes to a very high standard.” Flensborg Avis
“Garsington’s orchestra…the sheer character of the wind playing and the sweep of the strings. Conductor Martin André keeps up the pace, allowing the score to dance along, and the final chorus of rescue kids is simply terrific.” The Guardian
“… but rather than suggesting menace, this surreality colludes with the beauty emanating from the pit (under Martin André's direction) to create an atmosphere of serene contentment.” The Independent
“The magical score is well served by the chamber-sized Garsington orchestra and conductor Martin Andre’s well-paced direction, helped by the acoustic of the splendid Wormsley pavilion, clearer than many opera houses.” The Stage
“Martin André's conducting exactly complements the action in this refreshingly unschmaltzy production.” The Oxford Times