Principal clarinettist of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra in Cape Town (since 2002), Maria du Toit is not only recognised as a distinguished orchestral musician, but indeed as one of South Africa’s finest solo instrumentalists. She has won first prize in six South African instrumental competitions, including ATKV forte (2001), PJ Lemmer overseas study competition (University of South Africa, 2001) and Mabel Quick overseas bursary competition (2002) among others, as well as second prize in the SASOL competition (1999). She is also the first prize winner of the international clarinet competition Jeunesses Musicales held in Bucharest, Romania (2006). Du Toit was also awarded a special prize at the 13th International Music Competition “Gheorghe Dima” that was held in Cluj Napoca, Romania (2011), for her performance of the piece "Martie" by Martian Negrea.
Du Toit’s musical training began with piano lessons at the age of 8, and at age 15 she started playing the clarinet at the Hugo Lambrechts music centre in Cape Town. From 1996 to 1999 she studied music at the University of Stellenbosch under the tutelage of Jim Reinders, where she was awarded just about every possible study prize, merit bursary and academic award available at the university (including the Molteno prize for the best first year music student and the Konservatorium Stipendium for the best overall music student). After completing a bachelor’s degree in solo clarinet cum laude (University of Stellenbosch) and a Performer’s Licentiate with highest honours (University of South Africa), she was accepted to study at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where she studied clarinet under David Krakauer (2000). She was appointed first clarinet of the school’s two top orchestras, the MSM Symphony and the MSM Chamber Sinfonia. Moving on to Europe, she studied with Bas de Jong at the Utrecht Conservatoire (Netherlands, 2000/2001) and finally with Bulgarian clarinet legend Petko Radev in Sofia (Bulgaria, 2003, 2004, 2006).
Du Toit has appeared on various occasions as soloist with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (1998, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2010), as well as with the Free State Symphony Orchestra (2002, 2011) and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (2006, 2012). In 2012 Maria performed as soloist with the World Doctor’s Orchestra, giving concerts in Cape Town, Elandsdoorn and Johannesburg. Later this year she will make her European debut, performing the Mozart Concerto in six major cities in the Netherlands with the Netherlands Student Chamber Orchestra, and giving three performances of the Nielsen Concerto with the Atheneum Chamber Orchestra (Netherlands). Active also as recitalist and chamber musician, her performance credits include the Stellenbosch International Chamber music Festival, Aardklop Arts Festival, Klein Karoo Klassiek, Darling Festival, Greyton Festival, Cape Town Concert Series, Stellenbosch Festival, International Classical Music Festival South Africa and UNISA Concert Series, among others.
Apart from her full-time position in the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Maria du Toit is also a part-time lecturer of clarinet at the University of Stellenbosch and the University of Cape Town College of Music.
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twopianists - 17 Nov 2012