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 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.