Associate Professor Martin Riseley

Teaching in 2020


MusB Cant, MM DMA Juilliard


  • Head of Strings, Orchestra Coordinator, Classical Performance - Violin
  • Senior Lecturer


A native of New Zealand, Martin Riseley began violin studies at the age of six, and gave his first solo concert when he was ten. After several years of study with the English violinist Carl Pini, he entered the University of Canterbury School of Music as a pupil of Polish violinist Jan Tawroscewicz in 1986, with whom he performed in the Vivo String Quartet in 1987-88. The group received a special award from Lord Yehudi Menuhin at the 1988 Portsmouth String Quartet Competition, the same year that he won the Television New Zealand Young Musicians Competition and Australian Guarantee Corporation Young Achievers Award. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree he went to the Juilliard School in 1989 where he studied with Dorothy DeLay and Piotr Milewski. His other coaches there included Felix Galimir, Joel Smirnoff, Samuel Rhodes, Harvey Shapiro, and Paul Zukovsky. In 1991 he graduated from Juilliard with a Master of Music degree, and in 1996 with his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree.

Martin Riseley assisted Dorothy DeLay as a teaching fellow in the Pre-College Division of Juilliard while in New York, and taught at the 92nd Street ‘Y’. He was also soloist and concertmaster with the Chamber Players of the Juilliard School in their Merkin Hall debut, and in Alice Tully Hall as part of the Mozart Bicentennial celebrations at Lincoln Center. In 1993 he performed in a Young Artists Concert of the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center with violist Paul Neubauer. He was guest concertmaster in 1993 of the Greenwich Symphony, Connecticut, and also of the New York Chamber Ensemble during their residency at the Cape May Music Festival, New Jersey in May 1993.

He has performed with most leading New Zealand orchestras as well as several in Mexico, appearing on both national radio and television in both countries, and has also performed as soloist in Australia, Japan, and Great Britain. In Canada he has been Concertmaster of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra since 1994, and has performedconcertos under conductors such as Grzegorz Nowak, Enrique Batiz, Uri Mayer, Leif Segerstam, Enrique Barrios, Jorge Mester, Marco Parisotto and Raffi Armenian. His solo and chamber concerts have appeared on national CBC radio. He recently gave the North American premiere of the Violin Concerto by Gavin Bryars, and played the Chaconne from the “Red Violin” by John Corigliano at the ESO’s summer festival. He also premiered a concerto written for him by the ESO’s composer-in-residence, Allan Gilliland, in 2002.

He taught as Artist-in-Residence at the Department of Music at the University of Alberta for several years, where with fellow faculty members Stephane Lemelin and Tanya Prochazka he surveyed the complete literature for piano and strings by Brahms and the complete trios of Beethoven. He was also a resident performer at the 2000 Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, where he appeared in concert with Andres Diaz, Andrew Dawes and the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

He played with the National Arts Center Orchestra as both Guest Concertmaster and then Interim Associate Concertmaster for the 2002-2003 season, and also appeared in chamber music performances there with Pinchas Zukerman and Jon Kimura Parker. While in Ottawa he also appeared with Jamie Parker and Lawrence Vine at the Almonte Town Hall concert series for CBC radio. He was also Guest Concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in August 2003.

He has also been Guest Concertmaster of the McGill Chamber Orchestra and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. In 2007 he performed the Brahms B major Trio with William Eddins and Yo Yo Ma at the Annual Fundraising Gala of the Edmonton Symphony. He performed Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio at the Kennedy Center in Washington as part of an Alberta Arts contingent in 2006, which was broadcast worldwide as part of their chamber music series on the Internet.

NZSM: Douglas Lilburn Violin Sonata (1950) from NZSM Events on Vimeo.

Classical Performance research

Dr Martin Riseley has held Concertmaster and Associate Concertmaster positions in orchestras such as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, as well as Head of Strings and Conducting at the University of Alberta. A frequent soloist and chamber musician in many countries with some of the world's leading artists, he brings a diverse background to his position as Head of Strings at NZSM.

Brahms B Major Trio with Yo Yo Ma and William Eddins

In 2007, Dr Riseley performed the Brahms B Major Trio with Yo Yo Ma and William Eddins at the ESO Gala concert at the Winspear Center for the Arts, one of Canada's finest Concert halls.

Teaching in 2020