Henri Marteau was born in 1874 in Reims as the son of the textile manufacturer Charles Marteau and his wife Clara. In their salon, his parents regularly welcomed the European elite of art and science. It was there that Marteau, aged five, met Ernesto Camillo Sivori, a student of Niccolò Paganini, who gave the enthusiastic child a small violin and his first violin lessons. As a child prodigyhe gave his debut in 1884 in Reims in front of an audience of 2000 people. In 1887 he fascinated Johannes Brahms, the press and the public alike at a concert of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna. Since 1904 he was friends with Max Reger, whose work he promoted tirelessly. They perfomed together in more than 50 concerts. In 1908 he succeeded Joseph Joachim as Professor at the Academy of Music in Berlin. He builthis villa in Lichtenberg from 1911 to 1913. Marteau lost his professorship during World War I due to his French citizenship. He was placed under housearrest in Lichtenberg in 1916. In 1920 he became a Swedish citizen.
Until his death in 1934 Marteau taught many students from around the world in his home in Lichtenberg, thus establishing the masterclasses which still take place today. In addition, he held teaching posts in Prague, Leipzig and Dresden.