Martin Spanjaard studied composition with Cornelis Dopper in Amsterdam and Friedrich Gernsheim in Berlin. He primarily made a career as a conductor. Most of his compositions date from the beginning of his career, before he was appointed as conductor of the Arnhem Orchestral Society. An increasingly busy schedule, serving as guest conductor in Berlin, Vienna, Budapest and Prague left little time for composing. After 1933, he conducted exclusively in the Netherlands, until that was also prohibited. Martin Spanjaard was murdered in Auschwitz.