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Mark Isaacs : Represented Artist

Believing in the power of melody, chromatic harmony, lyricism and polyrhythms are at the heart of Isaacs's craft.

Random Audio Sample: The beloved : small jazz ensemble by Mark Isaacs, from the CD Duende

Photo of Mark Isaacs

Photo: Wolter Peeters

Artist website: http://www.markisaacs.com

Mark Isaacs (b. 1958) has pursued a fertile career path as a composer/pianist in both classical and jazz/improvisation music, attaining international distinction in both.

Believing in the power of melody, chromatic harmony, lyricism and polyrhythms are at the heart of his craft. He is interested in cross-fertilising the concert hall composing tradition with musical dialects of Western jazz and jazz-related/improvisation based music.

His connection to concert hall composing began at the age of 12 when he began to compose chamber and orchestral works. During his teens he received several awards and scholarships for his compositions and studied with distinguished Australian composer Vincent Plush at the age of 14.

Isaacs completed a Master of Music degree in composition at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in the United States. In 1996 he was awarded a two-year Fellowship by the Australia Council. He was a prize-winner in the first Tokyo International Competition for Chamber Music Composition and, in 2002, received the inaugural Miriam Hyde Composer-Pianist Award. In 2007 he was awarded the Albert H. Maggs Composition Award.

Isaacs's commissioned works have been performed and broadcast both nationally and internationally by various orchestras, ensembles and soloists. He has also composed for film, television and the theatre including a 2001 commission for the Sydney Theatre Company production of Three Days of Rain by acclaimed New York playwright Richard Greenburg. Isaacs has written two books of piano preludes for himself as performer and a major oratorio based on the Joan of Arc story, which he conducted at the Sydney Opera House with over 1,000 performers.

In 1994 Isaacs performed in the premiere of his own piano concerto in St Petersburg Philharmonic Hall with the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra.

His career as jazz pianist and composer has taken him on numerous tours around the world (including six tours of Russia) and he has collaborated with some of the artform's most distinguished performers and played at major international festivals such as the Tokyo Jazz Festival and Finland's Pori Jazz as well as releasing many internationally-acclaimed CDs of jazz and improvised music. He currently performs with his Resurgence Band and has been nominated for two ARIA Awards and three Bell Jazz Awards.

He has also given concerts and made recordings as a classical pianist, including performances as pianist for the cello & piano duo Tapas with former Sydney Symphony principal cellist Trish O'Brien, and been involved in jazz festival curation and music commentating.

Mark Isaacs — current to November 2011

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2016 Art Music Awards: Award for Excellence in Jazz Finalist for sustained contribution over four decades and 2015 Queensland Regional Tour
2013 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize Highly Commended Invocations
2012 Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition Winner (Joint) Children's songs
2010 Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition Highly Commended Miniatures & Variations
2008 Classical Music Awards - Instrumental Work of the Year Winner Walk a golden mile
2007 Albert H Maggs Composition Award First Prize String Sextet

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
The Quieter path : flute and guitar duo Commissioned by Virginia Taylor, Tim Kain.
Chamber symphony : large chamber ensemble (2014) Commissioned by Harry and Julie Johnson
Symphony No. 1 : full orchestra (2013) Commissioned by Kim Williams for performance by Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
The Wind in the Willows : suite for mixed chamber ensemble and narrator (2012) Commissioned by HUSH Music Foundation.
Digital sheet music sample Invocations : for cello and orchestra (2011) Commissioned by Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra.
Miniatures & Variations : for piano solo (2010) 'Theme & Variations' commissioned by Theme & Variations Piano Services for Gabriella Pusner

Analysis & Media

- Review: The Song Company Viewing 30 May 1999

- Video: Invocations: cello with orchestra, by Mark Isaacs

- Video: Chamber Symphony by Mark Isaacs