Henri Marteau was born in Reims on March 31, 1874. Through his parental home he came into contact with music at an early age – his father Charles Marteau played the violin, his mother Clara, born in Dresden, was a talented pianist. Numerous musical events and evening parties at his parents’ house, as well as early contact with musicians, shaped his childhood. He received his first violin when he was only five years old.
Initially taught by the Swiss August Bünzli (1820-1901), he studied from 1881 in Paris with the famous violin pedagogue Hubert Léonard (1819-1890). The latter arranged the ten-year-old’s debut in front of an audience of 2,000 in Reims in 1884. Henri Marteau’s breakthrough for his world career came in 1887 in Vienna, where he delighted the press and public with the Violin Concerto by Max Bruch (1838-1920) in the presence of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). In 1891/92 he studied at the “Conservatoire National de Musique” in Paris, where he won the internationally important prize of the conservatory. Subsequently, his first two American tours in 1893 and 1894 brought him world fame and exorbitant fees for the time.