In May 2014, at the age of 17, Martin James Bartlett won the BBC Young Musician competition, following a performance of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kirill Karabits. Martin began his piano studies with Emily Jeffrey at the Royal College of Music Junior Department at the age of 8, continuing at the Purcell School 5 years later. In 2014, he commenced his undergraduate studies with Vanessa Latarche at the Royal College of Music with a coveted Foundation Scholarship. Martin has previously studied the bassoon and the recorder as well, achieving Grade 8 Distinction on all three instruments by the age of 12.
Martin won numerous prizes during his time at the RCM Junior Department, and for several years running he was a top prize winner in the Jaques Samuel Junior Department Piano Festival.
His studies at RCMJD were generously supported by a Tsukanov Scholarship and Awards for Young Musicians grant. During his time at the Purcell School, Martin won the Freddy Morgan Competition, the Wigmore Competition and the Senior School Concerto Competition. He has also participated in masterclasses with Lang Lang, Stephen Kovacevich, Mikhail Petukhov, Kathryn Stott, Aaron Shorr and Alberto Portugheis.
Martin has organised and performed in numerous charity concerts, to date raising over thirty thousand pounds for a wide range of deserving causes. Martin was one of 27 international artists, including Elton John, Stevie Wonder and, Nicola Benedetti, chosen by the BBC to record a cover of the Beach Boys classic God only Knows. The song was released as the BBC Children in Need single.
Recent highlights have included concerto performances with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra (Proms in the Park), and with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. This summer he opened the Cheltenham Festival with the BBC Concert Orchestra, and made his Proms debut performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eric Whitacre.
"Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue gave us the Proms debut of last year's BBC Young Musician: joining the Royal Philharmonic, the pianist Martin James Bartlett brought maximum feeling to the music and played with astonishing delicacy and punch." The Telegraph / BBC Proms / August 2015