February 8, 2002
Charlotte Lucille Yvonne Martin, world-renowned pianist and former artist-in-residence at OBU, died in September 2001 at her home in Solvang, Calif. She would have been 80 in February.
Martin taught at OBU from 1969 to 1985.
Born in Mexico City to French-American parents, she was 11 years old when she became the youngest student ever admitted to the renowned Mexico City Conservatory of Music. She was urged by her teacher to study at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, where she also was the youngest student ever admitted. She graduated from the famed Paris conservatory at the age of 16.
Martin debuted in the United States in 1942 at a summer concert of the Boston Symphony. Widely acclaimed for her appearances as Goodwill Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries, where she introduced the Manuel M. Ponce piano concerto, Martin performed for members of the International Peace Court at the Hague and at the Pan American Union, sponsored by the OAS and the ambassador of Mexico to the United States. She premiered the Carlos Chavez piano concerto with the Brussels Symphony under Daniel Sternfield and made many recordings, particularly of Latin-American piano music.
During her career as teacher, Martin also taught at the University of Mexico School of Music and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Martin discovered OBU when her grandmother, the first American female secretary to the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, wanted to move back to the United States. Martin's mother, Dorothy Martin, a travel agent in New York City, wrote various universities in the southwest area of the United States in search of a teaching post for her daughter.
One of the letters was sent to Dr. Warren Angell, then dean of OBU's college of fine arts, and he responded. Martin and her grandmother moved to Shawnee, and were later joined by her mother, who soon established the Martin Travel Agency in Shawnee, the first agency of it's kind in town.
During her time at OBU, Martin continued to perform, travel and perform throughout the United States and Europe.
While at OBU, Martin reacquainted with her father, who lived in France, after several years of searching for him. They had not seen each other since she was a girl.
Martin and her mother returned to Santa Barbara when she retired from OBU.