Martyn Harry studied Composition with Alexander Goehr as part of his BA at Cambridge University, and Music Theatre Composition with Mauricio Kagel in Cologne on a DAAD scholarship. He has an Associate Diploma in Performance and Communications Studies from the Guildhall School of Music, and a PhD in Composition from City University where he studied with Simon Emmerson, Michael Finnissy, Douglas Young and Robert Saxton.

Martyn became Head of Compositional Studies at the music department of Durham University in 2003-4, where he created a number of innovative music theatre projects with the director Lore Lixenberg, including productions of Berio's A-Ronne, Wishart's Anticredos and Kagel's theatrical tour-de-force Staatstheater, which won approbation from the composer. In 2009 Martyn Harry took up his present post as a university lecturer at the Faculty of Music, specialising in Composition, with tutorial responsibility for music at St Anne's.

His works have been performed by, among others, Northern Sinfonia, Broomhill Opera, the London Sinfonietta, Eos, the Allegri Quartet, Piano Circus, the Reg Vardy Band, the New Music Players and the BBC Singers and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, NDR 3 and WDR 3. They include Restraint for Handcuffed Pianist and Pre-recorded Tape, which has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Hear and Now; his two song cycles The Spell and Chamber Intimacy, both of which were featured in concerts at The Sage Gateshead in 2007; and his powerful Eingestellt for electric string trio and distortion effects, which received a successful world premiere in St Petersburg 2007.