I am a composer/pianist/producer. In the last 2 years, I wrote a full opera "HIPOPERA," a social justice orchestral work "Running for Your Life", and "Life in the Age of Covid," a 13 mvtm 72 minute orchestral work based on my own experiences as a Covid survivor. All works are in production this summer with releases in the fall.


Joel A. Martin is a Norwalk CT-based pianist, producer, composer, and arranger who has collaborated with, and/or written music for, Grammy® Award-winners Alan Menken, Kathleen Battle, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, cellist Eugene Friesen of the Paul Winter Consort, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jaimoe of the Allman Brothers.

At age 17 Joel was the youngest and the first African-American pianist to compete in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (1985). He has appeared as soloist with the NY Philharmonic, El Paso Symphony, Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA), Philadelphia Orchestra, Cab Calloway Orchestra, New Hampshire Festival Orchestra, and the Hartford Symphony, among many others.

Trained as a classical pianist at the Hartt School of Music and SUNY, Purchase, he created "Jazzical" in 1995 as a celebration of creative fusion: "the explosive union of classical composition and jazz innovation ignited with a fresh spirit all its own." This concept, form and vehicle "captures the dynamic force of multiple cultures and influences, unleashing a kinetic energy that breaks down boundaries and yields whole new worlds of musical expression." 

In 2016 he created The Sonicals, a piano duo with George Lopez.  And in 2017 he joined with Paul Winter Consort multiple Grammy-winning cellist Eugene Friesen to create the Friesen and Martin Cello/Piano Duo, playing music infused with pop, jazz, rock, and world folk styles.

Joel is currently collaborating, orchestrating and touring the US with multiple Grammy-winning MET opera soprano Kathleen Battle in her production, The Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey.

On June 29, 2019, Joel debuted a concert reading of his first opera, HIPOPERA at the Darien Arts Center. HIPOPERA will be premiered in Dallas in early 2022 in collaboration with the Dallas Black Dance Theater, the first opera of its kind completing integrating modern dance with opera.

This year he will also be premiering his 9th CD “Jazzical: Komitas – Passion of Fire” with a world tour being planned in support of this project.


Describe your music

In many ways there is no way to categorize the music I create. It mixes, marries and fuses together classical, jazz, theater, pop, and more into MUSIC, that hopefully touches the soul with melodies and feelings that you can remember. The music I create is for the artist who performs them, the audiences that listen to it, and it celebrates the joy of living in its myriad of experiences and colors.

Interested in collaborating with

I am interested in working with anyone who wants a different perspective on what the possibilities of creation can bring. I am not afraid to cross the boundaries - as long as we can be true to our feelings and serve the music, I am an open book. Because of Jazzical, my signature trademark genre of music, I have been blessed to be able to collaborate at the  highest levels with Disney composer Alan Menken, opera legend Kathleen Battle (11 years), rock stars and pop stars. It is just music, nothing more, nothing less, but it is everything to me. I hope to discover more the love of life and art through music with everyone I work with.

Additional info

Besides having a major recording studio I work out of, in my home I have the abilities to create productions utilizing the latest technologies: complete Vienna Symphonic Library, Cubase 11, GigaSamples, Finale v 26, a complete sound effects library from Hollywood, and hundreds of thousands of high quality digital samples from around the world. Basically, I am a production machine which is used to create music. It is not solely the ability to compose that makes a work come alive - it requires the technical ability to make real what is inside the brain. I always think about music first, and then how to make it leap off the page in audio form.