Print Shortlink

Caplin, Martha (9th November 1951-Present)

Violinist who helped premiere Joan La Barbara’s “Ides of March” on 15th February 1976 and Nancy Van de Vate’s “Suite for Solo Violin” in December of America’s bicentennial year. In 1979, Martha appeared on Frank Sinatra’s boxed set, Trilogy.

A founding member of the Primavera String Quartet, she joined the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 1982, and frequently acts as leader of the group, which is unique in that it has no conductor. In 1984, she did a 180, musically speaking, on Jeff Tyzik’s jazz-fusion album, Jammin’ in Manhattan. Five years later, she helped accompany Mandy Patinkin on Top Hat, White Tie and Tails.

In 1991, she was a member of the strings section on the compilation, Virtuosity: A Contemporary Look. Her virtuosity served her well on the OCO’s 1994 recording, A Set of Pieces: Music by Charles Ives. In 1995, the OCO teamed up with Gil Shaham on Vivaldi: The 4 Seasons, and Martha was one of several hand-picked musicians Gunther Schuller employed on his recording of Beethoven: Symphony #5/Brahms: Symphony #1.

She has also worked on movie scores, such as 1996’s The Chamber. On 24th January 1997, she was a special guest of the Amabile Piano Quartet in a program that included music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Manuel de Falla, Gabriel-Urbain Faure, and Sergei Prokofiev. It was the beginning of a prolific year for Martha, who appeared on Mandy Patinkin’s self-titled CD, Kathleen Battle’s Grace, and the soundtrack of Ulee’s Gold. In 1998, she was the Concert Master and one of the violinists on Gershwin’s World, the brainchild of Herbie Hancock.

On 2nd February 2000, the OCO performed at Carnegie Hall, in a concert that ranged from Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 23” to contemporary composer Susan Botti’s “Within Darkness”, inspired by the colors and shadows of Vermont. About seven months later, Martha was a guest artist at the Grand Canyon Music Festival for a program that featured Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Quartet for Flute and Strings in G major” and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor”. The same year, she appeared on the soundtrack of Shaft, the remake, starring Samuel L. Jackson.

At the turn of the millennium, Martha performed works of Heitor Villa-Lobos with the suddenly anachronistic 20th Century Unlimited. In 2001, she played violin on Andreas Scholl’s Wayfaring Stranger: Folksongs. On 30th January 2005, she took part in the Placitas Artists Series with Willy Sucre in a concert at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church that included the music of mainstays, Beethoven, Mozart, and Villa-Lobos. In 2007, the OCO unveiled its first new CD in six years, another recording of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, this time with violinist Sarah Chang.  In addition to all of her other musical allegiances, Martha was also one of the artists involved in the Taos Chamber Music Group in its 2007-2008 season.

On 28th May 2008, she contributed her time and talent to a master class for members of the Tucson Junior Strings, as part of the Education Division of Distinguished Concerts International New York. A couple of months later, she was back to performing at the Museum of Fine Arts’ St. Francis Auditorium in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in an all-Baroque affair of music composed by Arcangelo Corelli, Johann Friedrich Fasch, and Georg Philipp Telemann.

Martha Caplin has also served as the Atlantic Sinfonietta’s concertmaster, and is credited with twenty-three seasons with The Group for Contemporary Music.

Frank Sinatra recordings
That’s What God Looks Like To Me
(Stan Irvin/Lan O’Kun)
Reprise RPS 49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)
Theme from “New York, New York” (Fred Ebb/John Kander)
Reprise RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)

Here she is as the violinist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on an excerpt of “Within Darkness” by Susan Botti…