Born in the Netherlands he began his studies at the Utrecht Conservatory with Henny Yana Diemer and then he continued his opera studies at the University of Music in Vienna with Vahan Mirakian and Edith Mathis. He was also a member of the Dutch National Opera Studio. After winning a first prize at the Nico Dostal Singing Competition, he made his debut as Papageno during the Wiener Mozart Woche in the baroque theater Schönbrunn and as Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola at the Rheinsberg Festival.
Subsequently he sang roles like Figaro and Conte Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro-Mozart), Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni-Mozart), Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte-Mozart), Pimpinone (Pimpinone-Telemann), Uberto (La serva padrone-Pergolesi), Maitre Jean (La Colombe-Gounod), Escamillo (Carmen-Bizet), Riccardo (I Puritani-Bellini), Basilowitsch (Der Graf von Luxemburg-Lehár), Demetrius (A Midsummer Night’s Dream-Britten), Patrocles (King Priam-Tippett) and Sacha (Moskva Cheryomushki-Shostakovich). Which he interpreted at the Wiener Kammeroper, Stadttheater Baden, Opera Zuid (NL), Nederlandse Reisopera, Dutch National Opera and various international festivals.
He also established himself as a concert singer at several of the most important concert halls in Europe and Japan. He is especially a regular guest in the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam (among others in the prestigious Matinee Series) in works like Handel’s Messiah, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and Requiem, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem and Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen.
With the philharmonie zuidnederland under Michael Tabachnik he sang Joseph in Berlioz’ L’enfance du Christ and with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra under Edo de Waart he was heard as L’ami in Debussy’s La chute de la maison Usher. With that same orchestra this time under the direction of Alexander Liebreich he performed the Don Quichotte songs by Ravel and Ibert.
He furthermore sang with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Flanders Symphony Orchestra, Dutch Chamber Orchestra and worked with conductors like John Nelson, Jun Märkl, Matthias Bamert, Lawrence Renes, Jaap van Zweden, Frans Brüggen, Ingo Metzmacher, Tan Dun, Peter Dijkstra and Etienne Siebens.
In 2006, he made his debut with the Bavarian Radio in the Munich Philharmonic Hall as Vitellius in Massenet’s Herodiade (with Agnes Baltsa and Vladimir Chernov) and returned there later as Johann in Massenet’s Werther, conducted by Marco Armiliato. In the same year, he sang in the Belgrade Music Festival the role of Jovan in a successful production of Isidora Zebeljan’s opera Zora D.
Later opera engagements are Schrecker’s Die Gezeichneten (Amsterdam), Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro, Tokyo), Junius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (Bangkok and Hanoi Opera House) and Escamillo at the opera festival Klosterneuburg (Austria).
In the seasons 2010-2013 Martijn Sanders was a member of the soloist ensemble of Opera Zuid (NL) where he was heard as Papageno, Figaro, Popolani (Barbe Bleue-Offenbach), Sagrestano (Tosca-Puccini), Bonzo (Madama Butterfly-Puccini), Escamillo, Bretigny (Manon-Massenet) and Tonio (I Pagliacci-Leoncavallo). In November 2010 Martijn Sanders was given the honour of singing the baritone solo in Rachmaninov’s The Bells at the Prince Claus Concert in the presence of the former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. In January 2012, he sang successfully his first Nabucco in a series of concerts with the New Philharmonic Orchestra in several concert halls in the Netherlands.
Recently he performed Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen under Heiko Förster, Falke in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus with Opera Zuid and Marcello (La Boheme-Puccini) at the Dutch National Opera Festival and he jumped in successfully in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century in the role of Figaro, which he later again performed with Opera Zuid.
In December 2018 he will be soloist in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 8 with Jules van Hessen.