Maria du Toit is a South African clarinettist who currently lives in the Netherlands, where she profiles herself as soloist and chamber musician. She has performed as soloist with various orchestras on three different continents: the Sofia Philharmonic, Cape Town Philharmonic, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic, Free State Symphony Orchestra, Fort Collins Symphony, World Doctor’s Orchestra, Philharmonic Society of Corfu, Marine Band of the Royal Dutch Navy, Nieuw Nijmeegs Chamber Orchestra, Flemish-Brabant Symphony Orchestra, La Banda Municipal de Barcelona, as well as the Dutch Student Chamber Orchestra and Atheneum Chamber Orchestra. Du Toit has won numerous competitions, awards, and prizes both in her home country and abroad - among which, first prize in the international clarinet competition Jeunesses Musicales in Bucharest. She has released three albums and received a South African Music Award (SAMA) nomination for her album Luminous Shade with acclaimed pianist Nina Schumann. Her double cd of the complete clarinet concertos by Louis Spohr with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Arjan Tien has received international acclaim. In 2023 she was invited to perform as a headline artist in the 50th anniversary of the International Clarinet Association’s annual international event ClarinetFest. Maria is regularly invited to give master classes and workshops at universities, conservatoires and other music institutions across the USA, Europe, and South Africa.
As a teenager, after having studied the piano for a few years, Maria took her first clarinet lessons at the Hugo Lambrechts music centre in Cape Town. She fell in love with the instrument instantly and knew there and then that she wanted to pursue a career in music. She obtained a bachelor’s degree cum laude at the University of Stellenbosch and a performer’s licentiate from the University of South Africa with highest honours. Her eagerness to learn subsequently took her to some illustrious institutions overseas - the Manhattan School of Music (USA) where she studied with David Krakauer, the Utrecht Conservatoire (Netherlands) with Bas de Jong as her tutor, and the Sofia Music Academy (Bulgaria) where Petko Radev further coached her. Upon returning to South Africa, she was appointed solo principal clarinet of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, a position she held for 13 years, before moving to Europe. During her tenure at the CTPO she was also major subject clarinet lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch.
Two prominent South African composers, David Earl and Roelof Temmingh, have both been inspired to write clarinet concertos for Maria, and she has given the world premiere performances of both works.
Maria’s chamber music activities include working with many diverse groups, but most notable is her duo with Dutch pianist Vera Kooper. The duo started during the pandemic and has charmed audiences with their positive, fearless energy and alluring on-stage chemistry. They have toured South Africa extensively and have more international tours lined up, and they recorded their first album together late 2023 for Channel Classics.
Maria du Toit is an official Backun artist as well as a Silverstein Inspiring Pro.