SMUDGE MUSIC is me, Ruth Lee Martin, and this site set up to allow people to listen to my compositions and to share the projects I'm working on. I am a Canberra-based composer and studied composition at the Australian National University where I taught for some years.

My composing is becoming more and more focused on film and television. I am currently working on a project with award winning New York (and more recently Melbourne) film director, Emma Watts – A Diary From the Frontline - a new documentary series on COVID-19. The series documents the lives of those on the frontline during the pandemic including Global Health Reporting Center in NYC (and Cape Town) and doctors and nurses in Philadelphia, Regional England, Cape Town, Vicenza (Italy) San Diego and a South African township. This series has now gone live on PBS Newshour in the US - exciting news!


I also composed the music for Tales from Tinder and the multi-awarded series, No Strings Attached (Raindance Film Festival Official Selection, Orlando Film Festival Official Selection, Vancouver Web Fest Best Documentary, DubWebFest Winner Best LGBT, Melbourne Web Series Festival Best Australian Non-Fiction, Bushwick Film Festival Official Selection, Brooklyn Web Fest Official Selection).

Other films include music for ‘House on the Hill’ for the Electra String Quartet (Sydney), Phil South percussion and Mark Atkins dijeridu. This music for this film was commissioned by the House of Parliament for a documentary on the building of the House (Ronin Films) and for a live performance at the 20th birthday celebrations at Parliament on 10 May 2008. Learning about the symbolism in the House from the incredible architect, Romaldo Giurgola, was a privilege. I was honoured to have a one of my compositions performed in APH at Romaldo’s memorial service in 2016.


Music for ‘A House for the Nation’ commissioned by the House of Parliament for a four-part documentary on the House of Representatives (Ronin Films) was a project I worked on in 2004.

More recently, I am working on a project about the new ways in which families are being constructed and defined. I am also composing the music for a documentary on foster children with a filmmaker in the U.S.

In 2012 I composed ‘The Winter it is Past’ for solo piano, for Joanne Polk, Manhattan School of Music, New York. This work premiered in both New York and Canberra in 2012 via video conferencing.

In 2009 I was awarded an ACT Creative Arts Fellowship that allowed me time to compose a set of sacred choral works that were performed and recorded by the wonderful voices of Trinity Choir, Melbourne.

It also enabled me to work with the talented Halcyon ensemble in Sydney on a setting of the poet, Kevin Hart’s, evocative Wimmera poems. It was an inspiring experience working with such great musicians as we fine-tuned this compositional cycle.

I have always enjoyed crossing boundaries and my project, ‘Circadian Rhythm’, commissioned by Research School of the Humanities for the event ‘Fusion’ held at ANU gave me the opportunity to work with a string quartet, a choreographer, a dance troupe and a DJ. I composed the music for a thirty-minute ballet choreographed by Solon Ulbrich (Adelaide) danced by Quantum Leap (Australian Choreographic Centre) performed by students and staff from School of Music, ANU, in 2005.

I am a fully represented composer at the Australian Music Centre and you can hear some short excerpts from some of my works as well as my scores. Some of my scores are also in the National Library of Australia.


© 2020 Ruth Lee Martin