Biography

Biography

Martin Leung is widely recognized as a classical pianist and as his alter ego, Video Game Pianist. Martin holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) (student of Paul Schenly and Daniel Shapiro), Yale School of Music (student of Claude Frank), and University of Southern California (USC) (DMA student of Stewart Gordon).

In November 2017 Martin performed Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Leipzig Gewandhaus with the Leipzig Academic Orchestra and maestro Horst Förster. He also soloed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, USC Thornton Symphony, CIM Orchestra, Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, Symphony in the Glen, and the University High School Symphony, among others, working with Lucas Richman, Victor Sawa, Carl St. Clair, Tito Muñoz, Frank Fetta, Arthur B. Rubinstein, and Peter Fournier.

Heather Persson from Saskatoon’s The StarPhoenix, after hearing Martin perform Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, wrote that Martin is a “rising talent of the future,” a “refined young man,” has “joyful energy,” and plays with a “precise, skilled attack of the keyboard.” Ann Conway from the Los Angeles Times described Martin’s performance of Chopin Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. posth. as “poised and sensitive.”

Martin won first place at the 2016 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition – Division VII. Concerto, first place at the 2012 USC Concerto Competition, and shared first place at the 2011 University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Art of the Piano Liszt Competition, among others. He performed at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Carnegie Hall Isaac Stern Auditorium, Steinway Hall, Heinz Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Conexus Arts Centre, and TCU Place, among others. He participated in festivals including Pianofest in the Hamptons, Art of the Piano, and the American Liszt Society Festival.

As Video Game Pianist, he is one of the first musicians of the ‘net generation to adapt game music to performance. Leo Cotterell of The Times of London hailed him as a “brilliant pianist.” He won global acclaim at 17 in 2004 with what Seth Schiesel of the New York Times described as his “signature blindfolded performance” of the Super Mario Bros. theme and a spirited Mario medley. His homemade video, filmed in one take and uploaded to the pre-YouTube web 1.0, attracted about 40 million views. He performed at the Hollywood Bowl, Royal Festival Hall, Sage Gateshead, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, National Concert Hall, Caird Hall, Théâtre St-Denis, Tokyo International Forum, Benaroya Hall, Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap Filene Center, Orchestral Hall, Jones Hall, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, among others. He maintains a YouTube channel with over 86,000 subscribers, 19 million video views, and 46 years of total viewership watch time.

Martin composed “Main Menu” and “Level” for Do Like Spike, an indie memory game published in 2016 for Android and iOS. In 2010 Martin collaborated on a piano solo composition with Michael Glenn Williams, a pianist, composer, and technologist. The composition, titled “Poem of the Adventurer,” is inspired by themes from The Legend of Zelda, Frederic Chopin, and Williams. Williams dedicated the composition to Martin, and the composition was published in the March/April 2011 issue of International Piano. Martin gave the world premiere at the Microsoft Theater on June 2011, the 25th anniversary year of The Legend of Zelda.

Martin resides in Los Angeles and studies with Myong-joo Lee. He is an adjunct professor of music at Mt. San Antonio College and a chess expert. He is ranked in the top 2.9 percent of rated chess players in the United States, and a prizewinner in national chess tournaments.

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– Playing piano, age 3 –

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– Performing at a school party in 1996 –

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– Carnegie Hall debut at age 16! –

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– Martin visits his friend Luigi at Luigi’s apartment in summer 2004! –

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– Performing at Tampa Bay Comic Con, 2014 –