MALTA — Young composer, conductor, and teacher, Christian Michael Kendall Martin, 25, passed away Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, following a brave battle with synovial sarcoma. He was born May 6, 1988, in Saratoga Springs. Christian was a loving young man and devoted son with a deep well of courage.
Christian had been the head of the bowed strings department at the Performance School of the Arts in Clifton Park and a substitute conductor for various Capital Region middle and high school bands and orchestras. He also taught privately. Christian took just as much delight in sharing his knowledge and talents as his students gave back to him through their discovery of the joy in music.
While Christian's main instrument was the double bass, he also played the violin, viola, and cello. He continued his own study of strings with Christopher Neubert, a teacher he credits as being a great mentor and source of his knowledge of string pedagogy. In his study of the voice, Christian would certainly give a nod to Tony Eastwood. As a performer, Christian freelanced with regional musical groups and held the principal double bass chair in UAlbany's Symphony Orchestra.
Christian was launching his career as a composer of classical music when he was diagnosed with cancer, which took much of his energy. Yet, he continued to compose a number of chamber music works, a piano concerto, and a symphony. As a composer and conductor, Christian felt it was especially important to connect with nature, which in his opinion, was best done through fishing, an activity he enjoyed since childhood. He also believed that small dogs are essential to coping with the stresses of being a musician.
A graduate of Ballston Spa High School, Christian's interest in composing and conducting were sparked while studying with composer and conductor Brett Wery at Schenectady County Community College, where he received an associate's degree in music performance with a concentration in the double bass. Christian nurtured his interest in conducting with Dr. David Bebe at The College of Saint Rose, where he received his bachelor of science degree in music education, cum laude, and at The Conductors Institute at Bard College Conservatory of Music. Christian was pursuing his master's degree in conducting from Messiah College.