about us

Nico Brown and Martin Brunsden are experienced multi-instrumentalist musicians whose collaborators range from classes of infants to PJ Harvey.

They are active composers and performers of their own music for film, theatre, dance, recorded and live performance.


Born in 1957, Nico Brown was brought up in London where his primary school music teacher was Ivor Cutler. After work on North Sea trawlers, adventure playgrounds and as a puppeteer he took a degree in French at UEA, Norwich and turned to fulltime music and theatre. He moved to Ireland in 1990 and has written and performed music for countless productions there and abroad, including for The Young National Trust and The Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Musician in residence at The Ark, Dublin 1995-2000, he has always specialised in music for children and families, regularly running workshops at the National Concert Hall and touring Irish and international festivals. A multi-instrumentalist, he has composed and played original music for TV and film, including Mike Leigh’s ‘High Hopes’, and for artists ranging from Dustin the Turkey to PJ Harvey.

He has two daughters and two grandchildren and is married to writer Frances Kay.


Martin Brunsden plays the double bass, the singing saw and the harp. He has worked with artists, musicians, holy men and women, poets, sculptors, dancers and theatre companies – plus a magnificent herd of children. He continues to appear on many professional recordings and festival stages and has travelled the world extensively.

The last twenty five years have seen constant touring, numerous performances of interactive musical shows for children at the Ark in Dublin, several residencies at Artplay in Melbourne, Australia, an ongoing relationship with Playeum in Singapore and many media appearances around the world.

As well as his extensive work with children he has built a steadily growing reputation as an accompanist to some of the cream of International musicians.

panel1-picInstant Orchestra

‘Instant Orchestra’ has toured schools, festivals and venues around the world, and approaches its 1000th performance. No previous experience is needed to enjoy being part of this dynamic and always unique occasion for group musicmaking with the Javanese angklung, a tuned bamboo rattle.

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panel2a-picImaginative Musical Journeys

Nico and Martin are renowned for their work with children and families and specialise in creating the atmosphere for imaginative musical journeys.

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“Instant Orchestra is a brilliant distillation of all that is good about interactive arts engagements with children… Nico and Martin really are two of the best animateurs in the business”. (Simon Spain, Director, ArtPlay, Melbourne)