Antonio Martinez

Searching for an Identity

I am a composer currently residing in Kearny, New Jersey and have been living there since 1998. I began studying music on June 23, 1999, nearly two weeks after completing seventh grade at St. Lucy Filippini Academy in Newark, New Jersey. 

It was on this date when I had a Yamaha keyboard that had been dormant for a decade. As I started playing the keyboard, my mother heard me playing and asked if I would be interested in trying piano lessons.

It was there where I began to think music would be a first career as I would spend five years playing the piano while also picking up singing (2002) and violin (2003) lessons as well with a private teacher in my hometown. On top of that, I studied music theory for two years at Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange, New Jersey.

Things looked optimistic, and I thought music would be something I would pursue. In March 2004, I was still undecided as to what college I would attend, and it was down to two choices. There were two options: Westminster Choir College in Lawrenceville, New Jersey or Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. Both had their pros and cons. 

If I chose Westminster, I would pursue music. However, Westminster, though part of Rider University, was separate from the main campus. That would have posed a problem if If I had declared and decided to change majors. Despite missing out on a part of the audition, I was accepted. 

If I chose Montclair, I would have some experience because I had been to the campus during the summers of 1997 and 1998. Familiarity was there for the campus, but when I applied to the music program, the decision was not favorable. 

I decided to take a chance at Montclair State University, where for nine months, I also taught piano lessons to different children and adults. In 2005 I applied for what proved to be two rejections auditions in a five-month span. 

It was a difficult time for me to fathom, especially when I found out on June 7, 2005, that I lost my job at the music school due to a falling out with my teacher. 

It suddenly hit me, and even at times to this date, I still struggle to grips with the decision. If I were to pursue music and make something of it, I would have to do so on my accord.

I would have to follow the main interests that I enjoyed during the first five years. Those benefits started during the 2002-03 year while attending private lessons; a certain book caught my eye. The store has a book that featured Russian piano music, and at the time, I was first learning to play an excerpt from Modest Mussorgsky's Great Gate of Kiev. This Russian book had the full version, along with Promenade. 

I figured the book would be beneficial and to this date still have the book, along with three other Russian-specific books ranging from the great composers such as Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky to folk music. 

Besides Russia's most notable composers, I have also become fascinated with some, not that well-known outside Russia. Among those include Lyapunov (Transcendental Etudes, with the Lezginka as his most famous), Kalinnikov (F-sharp minor Nocturne), Lyadov (Ballade Op. 21, and one of my personal favorites Glory) and Taneyev (Prelude and Fugue in G# minor).  

While the Russian books led to my decision to minor in Russian Area Studies at Montclair State, another book led to my interest and rebirth in music composition. 

In 2002, I received a Scott Joplin ragtime book for Christmas. At the time, I never knew too much about American music, and I was hesitant about trying this genre. In the end, the book proved valuable to play, and by 2007, wrote eight rags during my college career. It would not be until 2015 when I returned to writing ragtime music as other commitments and interests sparked my creativity. 

Growing up in the United States, classical music is not as prominent as it should be, especially in the local towns and cities, the idea of writing my music is to get the inspiration from the previous masters of music, in addition to adding some modern influences from other media. 

Most of my music has roots from all different eras of classical music, a testament to the genre that has impacted the world and yet looking for an identity in the United States.

Please take the opportunity to visit my site and sample all the music that I have written.


04 April 2015, Article

A Christmas Gift Going a Long Way

Over a span of three or four years, I remember getting about five or six music books for piano that would he mee become an avid follower of music. One book I remember Christmas in 2002 when I was still in high school and music interest was becoming ...
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