"Your gift is so unusual...I enjoyed your symphony very much - a masterful piece, logical in the use of the material and very well orchestrated"
VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY on Mark Isaacs's first symphony
“The work of an artist capable of matching the rich elements of classical composition with the flowing rhythms of jazz . .the product of a splendid musical mind”
LOS ANGELES TIMES
"This wonderful cycle is highly inventive and inspiring, accessible to children and adults alike. Very enjoyable and touching!"
VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY on Mark Isaacs's piano suite Children's Songs
"A serious musician looking to solve deep questions" PAT METHENY
"Propelled by a winning combination of sharp rhythms and lyrical melodies"
NEW YORK TIMES
"At heart, the work of a full-blooded romantic, though one with plenty of rhythmic vitality" GRAMOPHONE Magazine
"In many ways Mark Isaacs's personality could be compared with that of Leonard Bernstein - the same boundless energy, enthusiasm for a broad range of music, pianistic skills and passionate concern for the performance bring to mind similar impressions to those I received from the few occasions I was lucky enough to work with Maestro Bernstein"
JOHN HARDING Former Concertmaster & Associate Conductor, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
"I've never really heard a more distinctive composer in recent times than Mark Isaacs" SIMON TEDESCHI concert pianist
"Every sound has such sublime musicality that Isaacs's middle name could be 'Nuance'" SYKE ON STAGE
Hailed as “a splendid musical mind” by the Los Angeles Times, Mark Isaacs (b. 1958) has achieved widespread recognition as a pianist and composer working in both classical music and jazz.
He has performed as a classical pianist, conducted orchestras and as a classical concert hall composer he has composed more than 100 major works, many commissioned by some of Australia’s most prestigious ensembles, orchestras and soloists and ranging across orchestral, chamber, choral, solo pieces as well as scores for film, television and the theatre.
His music has received numerous awards and accolades, including the inaugural Miriam Hyde Composer-Pianist Award, the 2007 Albert H. Maggs Composition Award, and the 2012 Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition. Isaacs has also been a prize-winner in the Tokyo International Competition for Chamber Music Composition, and was a finalist in the 2013 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize.
As a jazz pianist he has toured extensively in Europe, Russia, Asia, the USA, Australasia and the Pacific performing at major festivals including the Tokyo Jazz Festival and Pori Jazz, Finland. He has collaborated with some of the most distinguished figures in international jazz including Dave Holland, Roy Haynes, Kenny Wheeler, Adam Nussbaum, Vinnie Colaiuta and Bob Sheppard and has released many internationally-acclaimed CDs on labels such as ABC, Naxos, Soundbrush, Vorticity and his own label Gracemusic.
Isaacs has twice been nominated for an ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album and his composition Walk a Golden Mile received the award for “Instrumental Work of the Year” at the APRA/Australian Classical Music Awards. In 2010 & 2011 he was nominated for several Bell Jazz Awards and for Best Independent Jazz Album at the Jägermeister Independent Music Awards.
Mark’s first symphony, commissioned by former media executive Kim Williams AM, was premiered by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 2013, and the TV program of the premiere - which Mark co-produced – has been screened on Foxtel in Australia and Sky TV in New Zealand. Mark premiered his solo piano cycle Children’s Songs at the 2012 Adelaide Festival and recorded it for international release on the New York label Soundbrush Records. Children’s Songs was hailed by classical music luminary Vladimir Ashkenazy as a “wonderful cycle [that] is highly inventive and inspiring”. His Chamber Symphony - conducted by the composer - was premiered in July 2015 at the City Recital Hall, Sydney, by the Omega Ensemble with soprano Lee Abrahmsen and in September 2015 he conducted the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra in a program of his orchestral works.
Mark holds a Master of Music degree in classical composition and piano performance from the Eastman School of Music, New York.
Full biography here