Cellist Gabriel Martins (b. 1998) is the winner of the 2020 Sphinx Competition and the 2020 Concert Artists Guild / Young Classical Artists Trust Grand Prize Winner. Additionally, he has won major prizes in the 2013 David Popper International Cello Competition, 2014 International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, 2018 Orford Music Award, 2018 Prague Spring International Music Competition, and 2020 Schadt String Competition. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in venues such as Carnegie Zankel Hall, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Maison Symphonique in Montréal, Teatro Gran Rex in Buenos Aires, and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. According to esteemed cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, he has “revealed heart, passion, intellect, and a finely-nuanced palette of colors in a compelling manner worthy of a seasoned artist.”
Martins has appeared in concerto performances with the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra, Fukuda Ensemble (São Paulo), Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Modesto Symphony Orchestra, New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, USC Thornton Symphony, and has given solo recitals on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts and IU Summer Music series. His upcoming debuts include the Allentown, Arkansas, Elgin, Memphis Symphony Orchestras, Merkin Hall in New York City, and Wigmore Hall in London. His performances have aired on National Public Radio’s From the Top, New York’s WQXR, and Chicago’s WFMT. He has collaborated in chamber music with artists such as Paul Biss, Miriam Fried, Ara Gregorian, Edgar Meyer, Csaba Onczay, Steven Tenenbom, and the Borromeo String Quartet. From 2017-2019, he was a member of the critically-acclaimed SAKURA Cello Quintet. In 2019, Martins was invited to tour with Miriam Fried and Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, giving concerts in Boston, Chicago, New York City and elsewhere. In 2020 he was added to the Young Artist roster of the Center for Musical Excellence (CME) in New York City.
Born of American and Brazilian heritage, Martins grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. He began playing the cello when he was five, studying with Susan Moses at the Indiana University String Academy. He later served as a teaching assistant at the Academy’s summer program. He has attended the Orford Music Academy, Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Yellow Barn Music Festival, Four Seasons Festival Winter Workshop, and Aspen Music Festival and School, where he won the Low Strings Concerto Competition. He went on to pursue his undergraduate studies as a Presidential Scholar at the USC Thornton School of Music (Class of 2019) with Ralph Kirshbaum. In his freshman year at USC, he won the school’s concerto competition as well as its Bach competition. Presently, he is a graduate student with Laurence Lesser at the New England Conservatory of Music. Since 2020, Martins plays on a composite Francesco Ruggieri cello made in Cremona, c. 1690 and a François Nicolas Voirin bow made in Paris, c. 1880.