Martha Chapman is originally from eastern Pennsylvania, where she began playing the violin in a string program offered by her elementary school. As a student she attended the Temple University Music Festival, which drew talented musicians from across the country to its summer programs. She also attended the Meadowmount School of Music where she studied with the famed violinist Ivan Galamian. Chapman continued her training at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree.
Before joining the Houston Symphony in 1980, Martha was a participant in the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals.
Chapman and her husband Peter raised two sons in Houston along with their wonderful golden retriever Joe. Their sons have gone off to pursue their academic studies in California and Michigan, but Joe stayed behind to help fill her spare time.