Josh Semans

Award: Recording And Releasing Music (Do it Differently)

Year: 2021

Genre: Classical

Instrument/voice type: Ondes Martenot

Location: North West


Josh Semans is an ondes Martenot player, composer, and producer based in the north-west of England. His work is uniquely textured, employing a range of instruments, sound-sources, and processes. A keen improviser, his creative process is a cocktail of exploration, repetition, and abstraction.

He works tirelessly to bring the ondes Martenot - one of the earliest electronic musical instruments, invented by French cellist and wartime radio operator Maurice Martenot - to new audiences, and is a fierce advocate for the preservation, proliferation, and publication of the unique and seldom heard musical instrument.

Josh regularly performs works and structured improvisations for piano and ondes Martenot, and recently premiered a new interpretation of Messiaen's 'Oraison' for four ondes Martenot as a unique and immersive 'virtual quartet'. In 2019, along with other musicians, he debuted 'Enharmonic’, a composition by Miriam Bean commissioned by Journey's Festival International for piano, cello, double bass, viola, and ondes Martenot.

In June 2020 Semans released his debut album ...And the Birds Will Sing At Sunrise featuring nine tracks of original works for ondes Martenot, piano, and electronics. Inspired chiefly by meditations on the environment and humanity’s relationship with it, the title track features additional ondes Martenot by Takashi Harada and Tomomi Kubo and the single ‘Trust’ was exclusively premiered by radio presenter Elizabeth Alker on her Unclassified programme on BBC Radio 3.

The album was followed by the release of the double sided single Marbles/Holding Pattern in conjunction with Piano Day 2021.

As well as his solo work Josh regularly collaborates and works with other musicians and composers having appeared on tracks by Luke Sital-Singh, Simeon Walker and Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres, has composed and produced soundtracks for short films and feature film soundtracks including performing on Tony Award winning composer Alex Baranowski’s score for Jacqui Morris’ adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

Additionally, he has contributed to articles, academic works and shared the ondes Martenot with the hosts and listeners of several radio stations, including BBC6 Music with Cerys Matthews.

Josh plays a Dierstein ondes musicales, serial #022, built for him in Paris by Jean-Loup Dierstein.
Help Musicians is supporting the production of an album of original music for Ondes Martenot, string quartet, and Juno synthesiser.