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Principal Horn

A man holding a horn wearing a suit

Martin Owen is regarded as one of Europe’s leading horn players, appearing as soloist and chamber musician all around the world.

Martin currently holds the position of Principal Horn at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, having served as Principal Horn of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for ten years, and from 2012-13 was contracted as Principal Horn of the Berliner Philharmoniker. He is also Principal Horn in California-based chamber music ensemble Camerata Pacifica and the UK’s Britten Sinfonia and Haffner Ensemble.

Performances include concertos by Mozart, Richard Strauss, Schumann, Messiaen, Britten, Elliott Carter, Oliver Knussen and Thea Musgrave with orchestras including the BBCSO, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Orquesta Nacional de España, The Hallé, New World Symphony, Nurnberg Staatsphilharmonie, Bucharest Philharmonic, Ensemble Modern, Aalborg Symfoniorkester and Baltic Philharmonic, and recitals with Camerata Pacifica.

Martin Owen gave the world premiere of Malcolm Arnold’s Burlesque with the Royal Philharmonic and in 2007, made his solo debut at the BBC Proms performing Schumann’s Konzertstück with the BBC Philharmonic. Martin has since returned to the Proms as soloist in Oliver Knussen’s Horn Concerto with the BBCSO conducted by the composer, broadcast live on BBC television and radio. In 2008, he made his Barbican debut in the London premiere of Elliott Carter’s Horn Concerto with the BBCSO/Knussen (a performance released by Bridge Records) and later performed the Knussen and Elliott Carter horn concertos with the Orquesta Nacional de España in Madrid. Other recordings include Mozart’s horn concertos with the Royal Philharmonic (RPO classics), Britten’s Serenade with Toby Spence and the Scottish Ensemble (Linn), Schubert’s Octet with Michael Collins (Wigmore Hall Live), Schumann’s Konzertstuck with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Mackerras (BBC Music Magazine), Danzi’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Orquestra de Cadaques/Marriner (Trito), Roderick Elms’ Four Seasonal Nocturnes with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Cleobury (Dutton) and Benjamin Britten’s Canticles with tenor Ben Johnson (Signum Classics). Additionally, Martin Owen has performed on over 300 movie soundtracks to date including James Bond, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Recent solo performances include Vivaldi Concerto for 2 horns and strings, and Stravinsky “Four Russian Peasant Songs” with the Berlin Philharmonic, Schumann’s Konzertstück and Musgrave’s Horn Concerto with the BBCSO/Sakari Oramo, Strauss and Mozart concerti with Bucharest Philharmonic and Strauss Concerto No. 2 with the Baltic Philharmonic. Martin joined Mark Padmore and the Bergen Philharmonic/Edward Gardner for Britten’s Serenade, performed Strauss 2 with Barcelona Opera orchestra/Josep Pons and Strauss 1 with Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg/Sir Roger Norrington. He also performed Britten’s Serenade in Shanghai, Norwich and Cambridge with Britten Sinfonia/Ian Bostridge. 2017/18 included chamber and solo work in the UK, Italy, France, Poland, Austria, Finland, Romania, China, Australia and the USA, and guest principal horn with the Cleveland Orchestra. This year sees Martin return to the proms performing Messiaen’s Des Canyons Aux Etoiles, Britten’s Serenade in the Barbican, concerti with Trondheim and Ostrobothnian Chamber orchestras and chamber concerts in Italy with violinist Francesca Dego. 2021 will see Martin recording both Richard Strauss concerti, Weber Concertino and Schumann Konzertstuck with BBC Philharmonic.

Martin Owen is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, where he is Professor of Horn, and a visiting teacher at institutions including the Hans Eisler Berlin, Maurice André Academy Valencia, Conservatorio de Santiago de Compostela, USC and UCLA in Los Angeles, as well as coach to the horn section of the European Union Youth Orchestra.