Biography

Martin Leung holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California, where he studied with Stewart Gordon, a Master of Music from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Claude Frank, and a Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Schenly and Daniel Shapiro. Martin currently studies with Myong-joo Lee, whom he also studied with from 1998-2004.

In November 2016 Martin won the Zoltán Rozsnyai Memorial Prize at the Los Angeles International Liszt Piano Competition, Division VII (Concerto). As a result of winning first prize in the competition, Martin has been invited to play Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in November 2017 with the Akademisches Orchester Leipzig and maestro Horst Förster. Martin won first prize in the University of Southern California Concerto Competition (2013), shared first prize at the Art of the Piano Liszt Competition at University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music (2011), first prize at the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition (2007), and third prize the Oberlin International Piano Competition (2003), among others.

Martin has performed Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the University of Southern California Symphony Orchestra and conductor Carl St. Clair (2014), the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra and conductor Victor Sawa (2013), and with the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra and conductor Tito Muñoz (2008). Martin has performed Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Regina Symphony Orchestra and conductor Victor Sawa (2011). He performed Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and conductor Victor Sawa (2011). In 2003 Martin appeared on NPR’s “From the Top,” where he played Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 – III. Presto with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and conductor Lucas Richman. In 2003 Martin gave his Carnegie Hall debut, performing Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 – III. Presto with the University High School Symphony Orchestra and conductor Peter Fournier.

While growing up in Irvine, California, Martin combined his enjoyment of playing the piano and video games. He played video game music by ear on the piano while friends listened over the phone. Also, he transcribed video game music. As a senior in high school in 2004, Martin, filmed by his friend Luigi, performed the Super Mario Bros. Theme blindfolded and other themes from the Super Mario series. Martin and Luigi uploaded the video onto the internet, and the video became viral.

A few weeks later Martin and Luigi uploaded a 10-minute Super Mario Medley video, which also went viral. In March 2007 in San Francisco, Martin performed excerpts from Super Mario Medley in the presence of Nintendo legends Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Super Mario, and Koji Kondo, composer of many Super Mario soundtracks. On 18 October 2007 on YouTube, Super Mario Medley video became the highest rated video in Japan, the most discussed video in Japan, and the most favorited video in Japan.

Martin has performed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Penny Arcade Expo, San Francisco Comic Con, Tampa Bay Comic Con, Indianapolis Comic Con, German Games Convention, Brasil Game Show, and in 18 countries with Video Games Live. Martin continues to enjoy engaging with audiences both online and offline.

Martin’s performances of video game music have been reviewed or mentioned in the New York TimesThe Times (United Kingdom), The Washington PostLos Angeles TimesWired, and more. Martin was featured on an MTV series called “The G-Hole.”

In September 2016 Martin became an adjunct faculty member at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California.