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In the wake of Martin’s sudden death, September 2012, Martin Read Foundation was established in 2014, as a platform for the continuation of his passions for music teaching, composition and contemporary music. This annual Festival is the highlight of the Foundation’s year – a day full of music-making and performance, exploring and celebrating contemporary composition. MRF has presented many world premiere performances, and showcases young composers supported by the Foundation.

Festival 2023:
       Festival programme '23  

 The venue for this Special Festival was held at St Lawrence Church, Alton,

 and featured:

 Joseph Spooner - cello,

 David Gibson - conductor

 The Festival theme was war and our 4 award-holders selected for 2023 rose to the challenge of writing for solo cello, reflecting aspects of war.


For FILMS  from this amazing event, click the photos, with thanks to Steve Kirkby.

Supported by:

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L-R back - Simon Speare, Freddie Hodkin,

Beccy Read, Ali Willis, Alex Ling - trustees;

front - William Dear, Josh Clark,

Joe Jolliffe, Felix Sladen-Jewel - award-holders '23.

MRF '23 award-holders, mentors, trustees.jpg

MRF alumni Freddie Hodkin & Samby Anderson, produced new pieces for unaccompanied choir and for flexible ensemble.

We also marked Martin Read, 10 years on, with a fine performance of his his Civil War cantata: The Death of Colonel Boles joined by Paul Sheehan - baritone, Carl Clausen - drum.

MRF Festival '23 St Lawrence, 'Boles'.jpg

A huge 'thank you' for a truly amazing evening...

It was so uplifting to see the results of the work the MRF has done in nurturing and encouraging the youngsters to produce such wonderful and mature compositions. What a fantastic experience they have all had! Also, to know that past recipients are continuing to compose and are able to have their compositions performed, which is so important.

Audience member.

I wanted to pass on our thanks to you and the MRF. Without this competition, Josh wouldn’t have heard of, let alone got into, the Royal College of Music Junior Department for next year. The MRF is clearly fulfilling its aim of helping inspire new composers! 

Award-holder's parent.

...thank you for the opportunity to work with professional musicians and composers for the festival... 


Festival 2022:

Ella, MRF award-holder '22, says:

I compose because there is no other feeling like it.

Thrilled to have resumed in-person!

Martin Read Hall, Alton College, 1st May

The day was packed with new music and premieres - a mix of live, on-line and pre-recorded music, 


 music for flexible ensemble by Ellen Drewe - Alton College & MRF alumnus;

 music for choral singing by Alison Willis, Simon SpeareAlan Bullard and Howard Skempton.




Ella Laughton, Naomi Dragomir and Daniel Jurado-Hoshino - MRF’s 2022 young composer award-holders premiered their music for the film animation ‘Spring’. 





Performers and audience alike were complimentary:

Small yet perfectly formed…

really enjoyed the music-making…

fantastically talented young people…

the chance to work with such great musicians… hearing the work of the young composers…

all seemed brilliantly thought through.


Click the photo for
Festival film
Thanks to Steve Kirby

Festival 2021:

Events resumed, on-line

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New Short pieces on the concept of 


Sam Bullard - saxes, Ben Corrigan - electronics, 

MRF award-holders, 

MRF alumni composer-performers

Festival day Concert of Premieres


'Returning, we hear the Larks'

new work by  

Simon Speare, 

MRF composer-mentor.

Festival 2019:

New Music by established and emerging composers:  Steve Reich, Gustav HolstKurt Weill, Martin ReadAlison Willis, Simon SpeareAlex Ling, Freddie Hodkin, Owen Russell, Scottie Thompson, Pernille Faye, Jack Robinson, Domenico Ragozzino, Alastair Rook.                                            

Performers:   Commotio leading performers of contemporary choral music, David Gibson, Joe Parks,   Daniel Swani, Joseph Spooner, ensembles from Alton College.

Howard Skempton 

masterclass composition workshop

…always massively inspiring, educational and life-affirming
Sam Christie,
MRF Festival choir.
Group '19.jpeg

Short films from 


Freely - by Scottie Thompson,

award-holder 2019

performed by Joe Parks and Daniel Swani

Already  - by Freddie Hodkin,

MRF alumnus,

for flexible ensemble - 

composer, teacher and performers

working effectively together.


Festival 2018:

Song Recital

Philip Smith - baritone and

Nicholas Bosworth - piano

giving premieres of commissions by

MRF awarded composers of 2018.

On Somme - Oren Velasquez-Hirtenstein, composer
00:00 / 00:00

Composers & performers worked together, in an intriguing masterclass-style workshop led by MRF patron Howard Skempton who declared Martin Read Foundation's support for young composers: 

unique within the UK

'The Martin Read Foundation is doing a wonderful job of nurturing emerging talent, offering fledgling composers an established figure as a mentor, and providing high-level public performances.  It was inspiring to see such gifted young writers bringing fresh ideas to develop and extend the traditions of English song.'   


Jonathan Dove

Repeat recital at
The Grange, Northington:
Festival 2017:
Festival 2016:
Mary Rose reh(1)
Joseph Spooner, MRFFest16
Crossfire, Alton Coll MRFFest'16
FarewellToPhil, AltonCollaAlumni,Fest'16
Coma South MRFFest '16 (1)
In C Coma South MRFFest'16

Festival 16 film footage:


One of Martin's Mary Rose Songs, performed by Festival '16 choir and orchestra, with audience, directed by David Gibson.

Showcase for

Joel Knee:


Foundation selected composer 2016, String Quartet, performed by London-based Ernst Quartet. 

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