"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
Mark Isaacs (b. 1958) has achieved widespread recognition as a composer and pianist working in both classical music and jazz.
As a classical concert hall composer and composer for screen and theatre he has composed over 100 major works. His compositions have been performed and/or commissioned by numerous prominent Australian and international ensembles/performers and he has recorded as a classical pianist and conducted orchestras
As a jazz pianist and composer 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, Vorticity and his own label Gracemusic in Australia; and Naxos, the German label veraBra and New York-based Soundbrush Records internationally.
He was a recipient of a Fellowship from the Australia Council, a prize-winner in the Tokyo International Competition for Chamber Music Composition and was the winner of the inaugural Miriam Hyde Composer-Pianist Award. He received the 2007 Albert H. Maggs Composition Award from the University of Melbourne and was joint winner of the 2012 Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition.
He was twice nominated for an ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album in 2007 & 2009 and in 2008 one of his compositions received the award for “Instrumental Work of the Year” at the 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.
There have been several recent highlights. Mark premiered his composed suite of eighteen pieces for solo piano Children's Songs at the 2012 Adelaide Festival and later recorded the suite for international release by the New York-based label Soundbrush Records. Mark's cello concerto Invocations was premiered by acclaimed cellist Julian Smiles and was one of four finalists in the prestigous Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize. Mark also composed a 45-minute chamber music suite based on the The Wind in the Willows which he recorded at the piano for Hush Music collaborating with musicians drawn from the Goldner String Quartet, Sydney Symphony and Australia Ensemble with narrations by Andrew Ford.
Mark’s first symphony was premiered by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in October 2013.