The Bezirk Oberfranken has been running an international music centre in the listed home of the former world star Henri Marteau since 1982.

Table Group in the "Master Room" of Haus Marteau
Henri Marteau worked on his compositions in the "master room". (Photo: Frank Wunderatsch)
Haus Marteau 1913
A postcard from 1913 shows the newly built Villa Marteau with servants and Henri Marteau's two older daughters in the foreground. (Photo: J. A. Schmidt)
Villa Marteau as Family Residence
Henri Marteau with Family and Students
The Villa Marteau was both a residence and an educational institution when the master violinist (centre, with his wife and daughters, circa 1926) taught gifted students in his house. (Photo: unknown)

Haus Marteau was built in 1912/13 by the then world-famous violin virtuoso Henri Marteau and his second wife Blanche (1887-1977). The plans were drawn up by the Swiss architect Hans Schwab (1875-1950).

Originally intended as a summer residence, the house became the Marteau family’s main home after the First World War. During this time, the rooms in the basement were used for storage and economic purposes. The ground floor was dominated by the prestigiously designed reception and private rooms, furnished with French fabric wallpaper, numerous paintings and valuable porcelain. On the upper floor were children’s rooms, guest rooms, a playroom and the so-called “master room” as Henri Marteau’s workroom.

Henri Marteau had been giving violin lessons to his most talented pupils there since 1913 – partly privately, partly in so-called “summer academies”. His students came from Europe and the USA and stayed with Lichtenberg families during this time. The public final concerts of the “summer academies” in the Lichtenberg gymnasium were also a thank-you for the hospitality of the Lichtenbergers.

Henri Marteau died in 1934; the house remained in family ownership. After the death of his wife Blanche in 1977, Marteau’s eldest daughter and his grandson, Raymonde Linsmayer-Marteau (1910-2012) and Peter Linsmayer (1935-2005), endeavoured to continue the musical use of the villa.

International Music Centre of the Bezirk Oberfranken

In 1980, the Bezirk Oberfranken acquired the property, mediated by the Regierung von Oberfranken and supported by the Oberfrankenstiftung, including a large part of the original furnishings. In this way, the special atmosphere of the artist’s villa could be preserved. However, some conversion work was necessary for the planned use. Thus, the open sequence of rooms from the former boudoir to the library to the dining room became a large teaching and concert room on the ground floor. The former bedroom of the Marteau couple was converted into another classroom. On the upper floor, all the rooms were converted into practice rooms. Only Henri Marteau’s study, today’s “master room”, remained unchanged.

The opening of the International Music Centre Haus Marteau took place on 22. October 1982. Since then, a variety of master classes for young international professional musicians have been held in this historic setting. The basic concept was developed by Prof. Dr. Günther Weiß (1933-2007) from the Munich Academy of Music, who shaped Haus Marteau as Artistic Director for a quarter of a century. Under the artistic responsibility of Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Peter Sadlo (1962-2016), professor of percussion at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at the Munich University of Music and Theatre, the renowned institution was further developed and the decision was made to add a concert hall. After Peter Sadlo’s untimely death in 2016, the structural expansion began in September 2017 under his successor Prof. Christoph Adt, then Vice President of the Munich University of Music and Theatre.

This involved connecting a concert hall to the basement from 2017-2021 according to plans by Munich architect Peter Haimerl. The basement was also completely redesigned to make it usable for course operations. The basement floor was lowered by 60 cm and is now accessible without barriers, just like the ground floor and the concert hall. In addition to a snack room, there is now a spacious reception foyer and three additional practice rooms.

View into the Library
The historically preserved rooms on the ground floor now serve as practice rooms. (Photo: Foto-Faktorei/Dirk John)