Martin Read obituary

Other lives: Composer and musician who taught at Alton College, Hampshire

My husband, Martin Read, who has died aged 53, following a heart attack while cycling, was a composer and music educator. From 1981 he taught music in Alton, Hampshire, initially at Eggar's school, and from 1989 at Alton College.

Martin believed that everyone could be creative and that music, art and creativity was essential to young people's personal development. He treated everyone as equals and was as happy to work with a six-year-old as an undergraduate student. His belief in the democracy of music and the sheer wonder of discovery always underpinned his work. In the most unassuming way, for more than 30 years he helped his students to make music a central part of their lives.

A published composer, Martin was admitted as a fellow of Trinity College of Music, London, in 1988, and was supported by the Society for the Promotion of New Music as a shortlisted composer from 1996 until 2002. In 1999, he was appointed millennium composer to the Hampshire Music 2000 project. In this role he wrote for a large number of youth ensembles, and in 2000 conducted 700 performers in his piece Mary Rose at the Schools' Prom at the Royal Albert Hall.

Martin's music featured at festivals including Spitalfields, Southern Cathedrals, Corsham, Malvern, Farnham, Bath and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music festival, and recently in a concert tour by the Saxofonquadrat of Berlin. He was especially busy in the year 2009-10, with three opera projects, two for professionals, the third – Sea Woman, based on a Scottish folk tale – co-created with young people and performed to great acclaim at the Winchester festival.

Born in Birmingham, Martin was educated at Bishop Vesey's grammar school, Sutton Coldfield; Colchester Institute, Essex; and Goldsmiths College, London, where he gained an MMus in composition. We met as undergraduates at Colchester, and married in 1982. Martin is survived by me and our two sons, Simon and Matthew (known as Bod), who are both jazz double bassists.

Martin will be remembered for his warm-heartedness, infectious sense of humour, boundless energy and endless commitment to the musical education of young people – and also for his green Dr Martens boots.

Beccy Read

The GuardianTramp

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