South African cellist, Peter Martens and Portuguese pianist, Luis Magalhães, won the 2011 Classical Music SAMA for their recording of the complete Sonatas for Cello and Piano by Beethoven. Joanne Talbot of theStrad wrote, “Martens delivers brilliantly incisive and spirited accounts of all these works”
Of his most recent CD, the Bach Cello Suites, Robin Stowell, in the October 2013 edition of theStrad wrote, “Peter Martens’s interpretations are thoughtfully prepared and generally commendably executed, balancing modern performance practices with the simple clarity of period style. […] Martens brings aristocratic poise, poetry and rhythmic flexibility to the preludes. […] His courantes are generally fast and light and his sarabandes are profound and freely contemplative. […] Martens is playful in the gallantries, giving spring to the pairs of menuets in nos. 1 and 2, playing the bourées in mischievous vein […] and injecting the gavottes with a sense of fun..
Peter Martens studied with Dalena Roux at Stellenbosch University, Heidi Litchauer at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and holds a Masters Degree from the University of Cape Town. In 1993 Peter returned to South Africa and occupied principal positions in the New Arts Philharmonic and Cape Philharmonic before moving to the University of Stellenbosch where he currently holds the positions of Director of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival and Artistic Administrator of the Department of Music.
He is a member of the Amici String Quartet and has enjoyed other chamber music partnerships with Leon Bosch (double bass), Lamar Crowson (piano), David Juritz (violin), Nina Schumann (piano), Luis Magalhães (piano), Benjamin Schmid (violin), Daniel Rowland (violin), Wolfgang Schmidt (cello), Mirijam Contzen (violin), Suzanne Martens (violin), Ivry Gitlis (violin) and members of the Osiris Piano Trio, Amsterdam. Recent concert activity includes the Schubert Quintet with the Brodsky String Quartet in London; several performances of the Gulda Cello Concerto; various chamber music performances with pianist, Leslie Howard; several performances of the six Bach Cello Suites and a performance of Beethoven cello sonatas for the Salzburger Schloßkonzerte with pianist Ariane Haering. Concerto engagements have resulted in collaborations with a number of fine conductors including Victor Yampolsky, Bernard Gueller, Douglas Boyd, Nicholas Cleobury and Jonas Alber. He has participated in festivals in Russia, Holland, Salzburg, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Portugal as well has having performed in the U.K. and U.S.A. 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. He has subsequently given the world premiere of Peter Klatzow’s sonata for cello and piano. His latest CD of the Bach Cello Suites, available from TwoPianists Records was launched in March 2013 with a three-hour recital including all six suites, streamed live from the Endler Hall Stellenbosch.
Peter is now Artistic Director of the award winning Stellenbosch University Camerata that recently teamed up with Joshua Bell in performances of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. Together with the SU Camerata, he has performed the Beethoven ‘Triple’ concerto with Benjamin Schmid and Luis Magalhães, as well as with Suzanne Martens, his own transcription for cello of the solo viola part of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante KV 364, which is available from Stellenbosch University Press.
Peter ordinarily plays on a Lockey Hill cello, but inspired by the Historically Informed Performance Practice movement, has recently acquired a Baroque cello too. Thus far, he has performed on Baroque cello with the University of Stellenbosch Baroque Ensemble, Camerata Tinta Barocca and most recently with L’Orfeo Baroque in celebrating Dr. Barry Smith’s 50 years of music making in Cape Town. He is married with two children to violinist, Suzanne Martens.