"In music and life I always try not to mix up confidence and ego. One is driven by trust, the other by greed."

Martin Zenker

Contrabassist, Arranger, Composer, Educator


Martin Zenker, born in 1970 in Germany, has been juggling an extremely busy life on the road with several educational projects for the last 30 years. Graduating as a classical bass player, he soon discovered his passion for jazz and became a freelancing musician. Between 1990 and 2008 he averaged around 275 concerts a year, worldwide, as a leader and sideman, including festival appearances in Hawaii, Shanghai, Sydney, Cologne, Edinburgh, Baltimore, Washington D.C., just to name a few.

Travelling and discovering music and musicians from other parts of the world have always been a driving motivation for him. In 2008 his career took a severe turn into education and mentoring, when he became a full-time professor at the prestigious Department for Postmodern Music at Kyeong Hee University in Seoul. For four years he was operating out of South Korea, extensively cooperating with the music scenes in Asia.

In 2010 he visited Mongolia to participate in the 100k Ultramarathon and during this visit planted the first seeds for establishing jazz in Mongolia. In 2012 Martin started the development of a program for Jazz and Popular Music in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, which subsequently lead to the first bachelor program of that kind in Mongolia. For a couple years he also hosted a weekly radio show for Mongolian National Broadcaster.

Around 2016 another opportunity to expand his musical environment opened, when the Cape Town Music Academy reached out to him for some cooperation. Currently Martin is heading up the jazz department in Mongolia, but also teaching at Munich Academy for Music and consulting them in international affairs, as well frequently cooperating with South African Musicians. He has been the driving force behind several projects, that combined musicians from all over the world and he is constantly striving to expand his network, by performing and teaching. 

Martin has worked with such legends as Jimmy Cobb, Billy Hart, Ed Thigpen, Steve Grossman, Jesse Davis, Al Porcino, JIm Snidero, Herb Geller and many more and his work is documented on more than 40 CDs. In 2016 he received the second highest state medal of Mongolia for his achievements in music education and in 2019 he became honoured Professor of the Mongolian State Conservatory, both as the first foreigner in the history of Mongolia. In addition to his worldwide experience with different cultures Martin completed a degree as an Intercultural Coach from Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena in 2019.



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