2023 American Pianists Award winner Isaiah J. Thompson is a New York-based pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator from West Orange, NJ. The Juilliard School graduate has become one of the most recognized young stars in jazz.
Isaiah feels that his generation of JAZZ HOUSE students had a particular energy and talent, and is lucky to have been part of it. That wave of talent helped drive those early formative experiences, both for the students and for the organization. He carries with him today the advice from JAZZ HOUSE instructors who encouraged students to really investigate and research the music on their own. The JAZZ HOUSE community was also instrumental in helping him realize that Juilliard was an attainable goal for his collegiate experience.
One of Isaiah’s many accomplishments thus far has been his 2nd place finish in the 2019 Thelonious Monk Competition, and it has shaped how he understands his participation in this year’s APA Competition.
“Something that has been really cool is to spend more time with Caelan and Esteban, because pianists don’t get to see each other on gigs – it’s not like a big band where you can play with other saxophonists, so it has been enjoyable to see them.”
It is a special time in Isaiah’s life, because in addition to the APA, he is getting married in June and he has just released his first album to feature all of his own original music, The Power of the Spirit, now available on Blue Engine Records and streaming platforms everywhere. The record also features JAZZ HOUSE alum Julian Lee. In addition to his own quartet, Isaiah can be seen as a member of John Pizzarelli’s Trio, with whom he tours extensively.”