Martin Cotton read music at Cambridge University, where he studied with Philip Radcliffe and Robin Holloway, among others. After a year spent teaching in the United Arab Emirates, he worked in the retail record trade for a while, before joining the BBC, where he was first a librarian in the TV Music Library, and then a producer at Radio 3. For the five years before he left the BBC (in 1994) he was Chief Producer of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Since then he has followed a free-lance career as a radio and CD producer, writer (principally in the BBC Music Magazine), and occasional broadcaster. He is on the Organising Committee of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition, a regular adjudicator for BBC Young Musician on the Year, and an examiner for the Associated Board.
The pieces that make up "By George!" are three of several arrangements (mostly of Gershwin and Bartók) that he made for Equale Brass in the late 1970s and early 1980s.