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Henri Marteau

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Henri Marteau (31 March 1874 – 3 October 1934) was a French violinist and composer, who obtained Swedish citizenship in 1915.
Marteau was born in Reims. He was of German and French ancestry. His father, a Frenchman, was a well known amateur violinist in Reims, and took a great interest in musical affairs. His mother, a Berliner, was an excellent pianist, who had studied under Clara Schumann. Through the influence of Camillo Sivori, Marteau's parents were easily persuaded to allow their son to adopt a musical career, and he showed remarkable aptitude in his studies, first under Bunzl, later under Hubert Léonard and from 1891 entered Jules Garcin's class at the Conservatoire de Paris.
Marteau was remarkable both for his individuality and for his development. His debut was made when only ten years old, at a concert given by the Vienna Philharmonic Society, conducted by Hans Richter. A tour through Switzerland and Germany followed. A year later Charles Gounod selected this young violinist to play the obbligato of a piece, Vision de Jeanne d'Arc, composed for the Joan of Arc Centenary Celebration at Reims, where he also performed, before an audience of 2500 people, his teacher Léonard's Violin Concerto No. 5.
Marteau made his professional debut in London in 1888, at a Richter concert. In 1892 he gained the first place prize at the Conservatoire de Paris, and Jules Massenet and Théodore Dubois both wrote a violin concerto especially for his benefit. A further series of tours followed. Twice he visited America, once in 1893, and once in 1898, and he visited Russia 1897-1899.
He was then engaged in teaching, and for a time was professor of the violin at Geneva Conservatoire. On the death of Joseph Joachim in 1907, Marteau was called to the Berlin University of the Arts, where he became head of the violin department. During World War I he was expelled from Germany. The Germans accused him of being a French spy, while the French accused him of being a German spy, so he had to avoid both countries. Instead he moved to Sweden, where he became a citizen in 1915.
Marteau was long an advocate of chamber music. On 13 April 1894, for example, he, pianist Ami Lauchame, a violist named Koert, and a cellist named Hegner were reported to have given their second invitation chamber music concert in New York, performing works of Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré; a third concert was scheduled for the following week. By 1906, Marteau was leading a string quartet that broke up in a dispute over a work by Max Reger. In Berlin, he formed another string quartet with his student Licco Amar as second violinist and Hugo Becker as cellist; later, Becker's student George Georgescu would take over the cello position.
Marteau composed a cantata for soprano, chorus and orchestra, entitled La voix de Jeanne d'Arc.
He died in Lichtenberg, Bavaria at the age of 60.
In order to revitalize the name and works of Marteau, the Hofer Symphoniker organize the International Violin Competition Henri Marteau. The event takes place every three years at Marteau house in Lichtenberg and at the Freiheitshalle in Hof, Bavaria.
This article incorporates text from a publication that prior to 1923, is in the public domain: The Etude, Philadelphia: Theodore Presser Company Missing or empty |title= (help)