The South African cellist, Peter Martens, started cello lessons at the age of 7 with Harry Cremers. From 1984 he studied with Dalena Roux at the University of Stelenbosch. In 1989 he won a scholarship to go to Interlochen, USA, where he led the cello section of the World Youth Orchestra and received his first conducting lessons. In 1990 he was accepted for study by Professor Heidi Litchauer at the Mozarteum in Salzburg where he obtained a Kleines Diplom. He also had master-classes with Heinrich Schiff, William Pleeth and Ivan Monigetti.
In 1993 Peter Martens returned to South Africa and occupied principal positions in a number of orchestras before moving to the University of Stellenbosch where he currently holds the positions of Artistic Administrator and Director of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival.
Peter Martens is a member of the Amici String Quartet and has enjoyed other chamber music parnerships with, Leon Bosch, Lamar Crowson, Nina Schumann, Luis Magalhães, Benjamin Schmid, Daniel Rowland, Wolfgang Schmidt, Mirijam Contzen, Suzanne Martens, Ivry Gitlis and members of the Osiris Piano Trio, Amsterdam. 2012 Chamber music engagements included the Schubert Quintet with the Brodsky String Quartet in London, Friedrich Gulda’s Cello Concerto at the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival and performing at the Bulawayo International Festival with pianist, Leslie Howard. Concerto engagements have resulted in collaborations with a number of fine conductors including Victor Yampolsky, Bernard Gueller, Douglas Boyd and Jonas Alber. He has participated in festivals in Holland, Salzburg, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Portugal as well has having performed in the UK and USA. Many South African composers have written for him, the most notable composition being the Cello Concerto by Allan Stephenson, which he recorded for Meridian Records with the Cape Philharmonic.
Peter Martens won the 2011 Classical Music SAMA for his recording of the complete Sonatas for Cello and Piano by L.v. Beethoven. Joanne Talbot of the Strad wrote, “Martens delivers brilliantly incisive and spirited accounts of all these works”. His latest CD of the Bach Solo Suites is available from TwoPianists Records.
Peter Martens is Artistic Director of the award winning Stellenbosch University Camerata who recently teamed up with Joshua Bell in performances of Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.
Peter Martens plays on a Locky Hill Cello and is married to violinist, Suzanne Martens.