South African clarinetist Maria Du Toit is widely regarded as one of her country’s foremost instrumentalists and finest export musicians. After serving as the principal clarinetist of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra for thirteen years, she now lives in the Netherlands, where she is pursuing a solo and chamber music career across Europe, while still regularly performing in her home country of South Africa.
Critics have described her playing as “sensational” and “astonishing,” and often comment on her flawless intonation 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 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. She received a performer’s licentiate from the University of South Africa with highest honors. 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 to 2014. Her expertise is in demand internationally, as she has given lectures, masterclasses and workshops in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece and the United States of America. She has been a jury member at the prestigious UNISA winds competition (Pretoria) and the Dutch National Competition for Youth Orchestras (Utrecht).
Du Toit can be heard as soloist and chamber musician on stages across Europe, as well as in South Africa and the United States. She is active at various music festivals and performs as soloist with such orchestras as the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Free State Symphony Orchestra, the Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Student Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of the Royal Conservatoire – The Hague. She has released three CDs, of which one, entitled “Luminous Shade,” on which 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.