Cellist, composer, performer, cabaret artist, educator, mentor, media commentator and concert narrator, the increasingly un-categorisable Zoë Martlew travels the globe in an ever-expanding combination of all these roles; as solo performer and with some of the world’s most renowned contemporary music ensembles, chamber groups, improvisation, film, electronica, multi-media, pop, rock, dance and theatre companies.
As composer/performer, Zoë first collaborated with New York City Ballet dancer/choreographer Antonia Franceschi making cello/tape/dance projects for Ballet Black/Royal Opera House, POP8, Soho Theatre London. She began work on her celebrated one woman cabaret show Revue Z (“unmissable” Seen & Heard) with Laurence Olivier award winning director Toby Sedgwick LAMDA actor/director John Baxter. Since then it has played at over 50 venues across the UK and abroad, including festivals in Aldeburgh, Banff (Canada),Copenhagen, MORS (Denmark), Plush, FIMLuque Andalucia, Reykjavik, St Magnus Festival Orkney, and Wigmore Hall where she has also given solo recitals.
Since then, commissions include works for Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (“gleefully tawdry, fabulous” 5:4), CoMA, Occupy the Pianos Festival/St John’s Smith Sq, song cycle for Cheltenham Festival /Lucy Schaufer and Huw Watkins 2019 (“dazzling” Classical Music Magazine; “nuanced, layered vignettes, expertly rendered” Music Opinion). Her string trio Völuspá was premiered at Tanglewood Festival last summer (“music that rises to a plangent emotional peak” – Wall St Journal), where she was also chamber music tutor and host of composer panels/interviews; her cello/tape funk piece Shift, Trip made its US debut last summer at 92Y, New York for a Franceschi ballet (“Electrifying” – KQED – USA) and is released on the NonClassical label.
Recent/upcoming commissions include pieces for Riot Ensemble: – solo bassoon piece Salamander premiered this summer on BBC Radio 3; a trio/electronics piece for next year; for London Sinfonietta online series Shorts; work for cellist Tim Gill and pianist David Gompper/IOWA university/Atlanta records; a Bach-based cello piece for Spitalfields Festival 2021 and a death metal band number for David Bruce’s YouTube channel.
Zoë was a judge on BBC TV’s Maestro and Young Musician of the Year; regular guest commentator/presenter for BBC Radio 3, Newsnight; and was on the UK panel for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. She has written for publications including Classical Music Magazine, The Strad, Guardian, Sound and Music, Sinfini and her own Z Blog. She is host of London Sinfonietta’s podcast series “The Music That Made Me”, “Shorts – Lockdown Live” series and a presenter for Wigmore Hall’s live-streamed Autumn concerts.
She is much in demand for educational activities, including tutor for National Youth Orchestra of GB, artistic director of Saigon Chamber Music Festival in Vietnam, Harstad Strings in Arctic Norway and regular jury member for international competitions including the Royal Philharmonic Society and Young Musician of the Gulf, Bahrain. She has mentored both Heloise Werner and the Hermes Experiment on new shows and teaches at the Royal Academy of Music.
Zoë studied at the Royal College and Royal Academy of Music in London, Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and Clare College, Cambridge University. She is also a Holy Fire III Karuna Reiki Master, teaching and practising healing worldwide for over 20 years, and since lockdown has been busy with her online practice.
If you’re into details, here’s an abridged Zoë CV