Maria de Lourdes Martins was born in 1926 in Lisboa. She was an external student at Lisbon’s National Conservatory, and her mother Maria Helena Martins was her teacher.
In 1944 she finished the Higher Course in Piano having attended Professor Abreu Mota’s class. She also took the harpsichord and clavichord courses with Professor Macário Santiago Kastner and she was a student of Marcos Garin.
In 1948 she was part of the Directing Board of the Musical Education International Society. In the following year she finished the Higher Course in Composition with teachers Artur Santos and Jorge Croner de Vasconcellos.
Maria de Lourdes Martins also stood out as a music pedagogue. She graduated in Orff-Schulwerk from the Salzburg Mozarteum (1965) and was responsible for introducing this system of children’s music learning in Portugal. Between 1983 and 1996 she lectured at Lisbon’s National Conservatory, after which she retired.
She won the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Composition Award twice with the pieces O Encoberto (1965) and O Litoral (1971) and composed for several categories of instruments. Among the more than seventy pieces, the operas Três Máscaras (Three Masks,1984) and A Donzela Guerreira (The Battling Maiden,1995) stand out, not to mention several arrangements for traditional Portuguese melodies.
Maria de Lourdes Martins was one of the founders of the Portuguese Music Sciences Association in 1972.