South African clarinettist Maria du Toit has earned the reputation of being one of her country’s foremost instrumentalists, and enjoys a prolific solo career as well as being the principal clarinettist of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. Critics have described her playing as “sensational” and “astonishing”, and often compliment her on her flawless intonation, baffling technique and mellifluous tone. Du Toit has won first prize in six South African instrumental competitions, as well as in the international clarinet competition “Jeunesses Musicales” held in Bucharest, Romania in 2006. She was also awarded a special prize at the 13th international clarinet competition “Gheorge Dima” in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, in 2011.
Maria studied at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in solo clarinet playing cum laude and a performer’s licentiate from the University of South Africa with highest honours. She also studied at the Manhattan School of Music (USA) with David Krakauer, at the Utrecht Conservatoire (Netherlands) with Bas de Jong, and at the Sofia Music Academy (Bulgaria) with Petko Radev. She is a respected clarinet teacher herself, having served as clarinet lecturer on the faculty of the University of Stellenbosch from 2002 – 2014. Her expertise is also in demand internationally, as she has given lectures, master classes and workshops in Cape Town (South Africa), The Hague (Netherlands) and Berlin (Germany), and being a jury member at the prestigious UNISA winds competition (Pretoria).
Maria’s busy schedule includes solo, chamber and orchestral performances throughout the year. She is active at various music festivals and performs as soloist with orchestras such as the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Free State Symphony Orchestra, the Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Student Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of the Royal Conservatoire – The Hague.
She has released two solo cd’s, of which “Luminous Shade”, where she is accompanied by the internationally acclaimed pianist Nina Schumann, has been nominated for a South African Music Award. In addition, she has recorded all four concerti by Louis Spohr with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under Dutch maestro Arjan Tien for the Amsterdam based label Brilliant Classics. Her musical artistry has inspired two of South Africa’s leading composers to dedicate their newly composed clarinet concertos to her, namely David Earl and the late Roelof Temmingh. Maria gave the world premiere of the Earl concerto with the Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in October 2013.