Martijn Padding was born on April 24, 1956 in Amsterdam.
In the introduction to his website, Martijn Padding writes, regarding his music and way of working, that he studied a volume of Béla Bartók’s 'Microcosmos' with the wrong notes. “I thought it sounded wonderful, and it cost me the greatest effort to learn the correct version.”
Padding studied composition with Louis Andriessen and musicology at the University of Utrecht.
Martijn is currently professor and head of the composition department of the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague Holland.
For many years, Padding also made radio documentaries and was a long time pianist accompanist of modern dance groups, led by Krisztina de Châtel and Beppie Blankert. In addition, Martijn worked as the artistic director of Orkest de Volharding for several years.
Padding has a fascination for transparency and contrast between the logical and illogical. In his work he seeks the cunning rather than grand gestures. Although his compositions often have a technical point of departure, theatrical elements become more relevant lately in his work. His music shows impudent humor. Copying is permitted, he writes, as is entering into repetition. However, at a certain moment this will misfire because of the reason that people are not machines. It is precisely such non-random mistakes that lead to unpredictable results and even innovation.
Padding's oeuvre ranges from works for solo instrument to large-scale compositions for orchestra and music theater and opera. His compositional aesthetic precludes any hierarchical relationship in music, for instance between modernist and experimental elements, influences from popular culture and history rooted doctrines.
Padding's compositions are performed by many leading ensembles, soloists and orchestra worldwide. Recently, the opera Laika was composed at the request of Pierre Audi on a libretto by P.F Thomése and directed by visual artist Aernout Mik premiered at the Holland Festival 2014.
In 2015 he wrote a farewell work 'Ick seg adieu' commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the departure of their chief conductor Mariss Jansons.
For the coming future new work for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Residence Orchestra and a Double Bass Concerto for Rick Stotijn and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra is planned.
In 2009 Padding won the UNESCO prize (International Rostrum of Composers) for his First Harmonium Concerto written for Orkest de Ereprijs and Dirk Luimes. He also received the Edison Classical award in 2011 for the Asko | Schönberg CD recording of his 'Three Concerti’.
Recently, it has been announced that Padding is awarded the Johan Wagenaar oeuvre prize 2016 which will be presented in December 2016 in The Hague.