Vale Martin Armiger, gifted musician, composer and teacher

Martin Armiger.

Martin Armiger, composer or music arranger of such movies as Yahoo Serious’ Young Einstein, Alex Proyas’ Dark City, Cherie Nowlan’s Thank God He Met Lizzie, Jane Campion’s Sweetie and Kriv Stenders’ Red Dog, has died in France, aged 70.

UK-born, he began his career as a singer, songwriter and guitarist for legendary Melbourne-based rock band The Sports.

In 1972 he embarked on composing, initially on a short film called Drac. From From 1984 he was the musical director for the the ABC series Sweet and Sour as well as providing backing vocals, lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drums and lyrics and producing the soundtrack album.

His other screen credits include the series The Secret Life of Us, The Surgeon, Come In Spinner and Police Rescue and the documentary Cane Toads.

For 14 years he was the head of screen music at the Australian Film Television and Radio School, where he ensured music was a key discipline taught at the school, teaching and inspiring countless students. In 2017, he was honoured with the inaugural APRA / AGSC Distinguished Service to the Australian Screen Award.

Nell Greenwood, AFTRS director of curriculum and student registrar, said: “It is hard to put into the words the extraordinary contribution that Martin made to the school and to the industry. His skill and generosity shaped the careers of so many students.

“His incredible intelligence, his musical genius, his kindness, his wit and his daring, disrupting mind influenced so many of us and will be so missed.”

Among many industry tributes, composer Guy Gross said: “Such a forever youthful exuberant energy. Gorgeous giggle. Super supportive educator. We sat together on many an AFTRS panel and were both past presidents of the AGSC. His quiet wisdom a comforting constant. Australian screen music has lost a great friend today.”

AGSC president Caitlin Yeo said: “Absolutely devastated that Martin Armiger has passed away. Martin, thank you for sparking a tenacious love of the craft of composing in me. Your legacy will be heard through music from many for a long time to come.”

Graham Bidstrup said: “We worked together many times recording film scores in the early 80s including the ABC series Sweet and Sour….. I loved his persona and vibe not to mention his musicianship.”

On Facebook Martin posted recently: “This is a sort of goodbye. I’m finishing with fb. For the past few months I’ve only put up stuff about going into or getting out of hospital. And that’s usually been out of date. Well I’m in hospital again, in Brive-la-Galliarde, and can’t really follow or access messages easily.

“Thanks for all the posts, links, stimulations, and provocations. My closest friends have my email address, which I can still reach, though I can’t write much. Love to all and good luck with everything.”

Survivors include his wife Maureen and daughters Kelly and Claudia.