Mark Isaacs is an internationally-acclaimed composer, pianist and conductor in classical music and jazz, as well as being a film composer and songwriter.
Isaacs has composed over 100 works, many commissioned by some of Australia’s most distinguished orchestras, ensembles and musicians. His output includes three symphonies, six concertos, orchestral film music, chamber, choral, vocal and solo works . He has received many awards including an Australia Council Fellowship, the Albert H. Maggs Composition Award and the Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition and has twice been nominated for the ARIA Award.
As a jazz pianist, he has recorded and toured worldwide, including with some of the artform’s most legendary international figures, releasing many acclaimed albums on prestigious international and Australian labels. As as classical pianist, he has released two solo albums and accompanied distinguished Australian instrumentalists. He has conducted his own concert works and film music with major Australian orchestras and ensembles, and written popular style songs, including lyrics.
Isaacs is also a trained and accredited telephone crisis supporter at Lifeline Australia, the nationwide suicide prevention service.
“Your gift is so unusual, because you compose pieces that are light-hearted very well – a bit jazzy, whatever, with harmonies that are not often used and yet you compose a symphony, that’s very serious, and totally different, like a different composer, but as convincing as your short pieces. That’s quite unusual…I enjoyed your symphony very much: a masterful piece, logical in the use of the material and very well orchestrated”
“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.”
“I am delighted to endorse Mark Isaacs as one of the finest contemporary symphonists working in Australia. His symphonies are amongst the most attractive Australian orchestral works of the last decade.”
“Isaacs, with every release, has refined his systematic approach to post-modernity jazz to the point that his sound defines what jazz should sound like at the advent of the 21st Century.”
“This wonderful cycle is highly inventive and inspiring, accessible to children and adults alike. Very enjoyable and touching!”
“With each new [jazz] release Mark finds a new angle of addressing his prodigious talents…there is a sophisticated musicality at work that is special and rare…He is a serious musician looking to solve deep questions.”
“His scoring is highly sophisticated; he can use all the colours of a full orchestra as well as anyone…..resembling Richard Strauss at his most exuberant.”
“Propelled by a winning combination of sharp rhythms and lyrical melodies.”
“Music, at its absolute best, touches the realm of infinity. This is the feeling I have always had with Mark Isaacs’ music, delirious with the beauty and depth of his masterful storytelling, sensitive technique and razor-sharp intelligence.”
“The great modern Australian pianist/composer is no stranger to Moscow audiences….pure, crisp and vehement…I never thought that jazz was still so much alive.”
“Here were dialogues to restore the faith. As the world crumbles into vulgarity, vitriol and worse, one felt blessed–privileged, even–to hear solo performances by pianists of the calibre of Mark Isaacs.”
“At heart, the work of a full-blooded romantic, though one with plenty of rhythmic vitality.”
“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.”