Composer, pianist, accordionist, and electronic musician. Most of my time is split between writing concert music and writing music for indie video games, and I'm especially interested in the interaction between popular and experimental forms. Recent projects include soundtracks for critically acclaimed games (Analogue: A Hate Story, Depression Quest), an award-winning electroacoustic chamber opera (Light and Power), collaborations with video artists (Sonderbauten, Blocking the Exits), and live performances with software and hardware for human-computer improvisation (Multimodal Interaction for Musical Improvisation, Magnetic Resonance Piano).
As an accordionist, I play gypsy cowboy punk with AK and Her Kalashnikovs.
Isaac Schankler is a composer, pianist, accordionist and electronic musician living in Los Angeles. His music is inspired by improvisation, indeterminacy, spoken language, narrative, and puzzles.
In 2011 Isaac composed the chamber opera Light and Power with libretto by Jillian Burcar. Commissioned by Juventas New Music Ensemble, Light and Power has been recognized by awards and grants from the American Prize, the National Opera Association, and Meet the Composer. Other recent honors include a grant from the American Composers Forum, a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the USC Sadye J. Moss Composition Prize, and the Damien Top Prize in the ASCAP/Lotte Lehmann Foundation Art Song Competition. Isaac has also given talks on composition, improvisation, electronic music, and music theory at the University of Southern California, the California Institute of the Arts, Machine Project, Brevard Music Center, and the MacPhail Center for Music.
As a composer for video and interactive media, Isaac has worked with Christine Love (Analogue: A Hate Story), Quintan Ana Wikswo (Sonderbauten), Christopher O'Leary (Blocking the Exits), and Sandra Powers (The Nomad Song). As an accordionist, he plays klezmer and Eastern European folk music regularly with The Shpil and AK and Her Kalashnikovs, and has performed with Nevenka, Killsonic, and wild Up. As an improviser with electroacoustic contraptions, he has performed with TempWerks at the Sacramento Festival of New American Music, and with Alexandre François' Mimi (Multimodal Interaction for Musical Improvisation) and Andrew McPherson's Magnetic Resonance Piano at Wilton's Music Hall in London, UK.
Isaac maintains a weekly blog at NewMusicBox, a multimedia publication from New Music USA, where his long-form articles have been praised by Scientific American and The New Yorker's Alex Ross. His writing has also appeared in the International Journal of Arts and Technology, Computer Music Journal, and the proceedings of international conferences including MCM (Mathematics and Computation in Music), ISPS (International Symposium of Performance Science), and ICME (International Conference on Multimedia & Expo).
Ensembles and venues that have featured the composer's work include Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), the Ussachevsky Memorial Festival, the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), the IEEE International Conference on Multimedia & Expo (ICME), Le Centre Artistique de Piégon (France), Juventas New Music Ensemble, University of Southern California Contemporary Music Ensemble, University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, Midwest Composer Symposium, Threshold Electroacoustic Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Boston Conservatory, and the University of Arizona.
Isaac is co-director of People Inside Electronics, a concert series for live electroacoustic music, and a resident artist with the interdisciplinary arts organization Catalysis Projects. In May 2010, Isaac completed his doctoral studies in composition at the USC Thornton School of Music. He also holds degrees in composition (MM, BM) and a degree in English (BA) from the University of Michigan.