Whether performing the masterworks of Scott Joplin or the score to Star Wars, Martin Spitznagel is truly at home on the piano bench.
A sought-after performer and decorated composer, he found success early, winning a Yamaha Disklavier at the age of 14 in Calliope Media’s nationwide Crazy for Ragtime competition. His entry, chosen from the hundreds of submissions by a panel of judges that included world‐renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, coincided with the centennial of the birth of ragtime music in 1897.
Despite this early success, Martin was largely self‐guided until 1998, when he met Eastman School of Music pianist and pedagogue Dr. Tony Caramia, who challenged him to “find the surprise” in every performance.
In 2011, Martin was selected as the Scott Joplin Foundation’s Artist in Residence, and in May he claimed the title “World Champion of Old‐Time Piano Playing ” at the World Championship Old‐Time Piano Playing Contest.
In addition to his musical pursuits, Martin holds a B.A. in Creative Writing, a Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and an A.S. in Filmmaking. This diverse skill set has enabled him to work on everything from a documentary film about polio with “St. Elmo’s Fire” screenwriter Carl Kurlander to directing his own epic Star Wars fan film, Star Wars: Hunt for the Holocron.