September 7, 1951
Country of origin
Born in New York, USA.
Mark Isham's dynamic and diverse musical career has included a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award and multiple Grammy, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his material both as a composer and a recording artist/instrumentalist. His wide range of talents and eclectic musical interests have produced over 50 film scores and several albums of electric jazz, classic acoustic jazz and New Age music in addition to dozens of special projects and recordings. As a trumpet player he is highly in demand and has been a guest soloist for some of today's top recording artists in pop, jazz, rock, classical and country music.
Born in New York, Isham began his musical career as a trumpet player, first in classical music and then in jazz. His mother was a violinist and his father taught music and history, and Isham began his studies in classical piano, violin and trumpet at an early age. As a young man he played trumpet in the Oakland and San Francisco Symphonies and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. He went on to play in various jazz and rock bands and in his early 20's he forged into electronic music, becoming a renowned synthesizer programmer. Yet trumpet remained Isham's primary focus as he established parallel careers as a classical trumpeter, jazz stylist, rock guest artist and solo instrumentalist. Since then he has evolved into one of the top-ranked composers in Hollywood. Whatever the creative outlet, Mark Isham continues to be one of the most fascinating, prolific and provocative artists on the scene.
Isham is one of the most sought-after composers in Hollywood today. His film credits number over 50 including Don't Say A Word, Life As A House, The Majestic, October Sky, Kiss the Girls, Rules of Engagement, Blade, Fly Away Home, A River Runs Through It,and his latest release, Moonlight Mile. Since his first film score for Disney's critically acclaimed film Never Cry Wolfin 1983, Isham's musical capability has led him to compose scores for every combination from large orchestras to intimate jazz ensembles to electronic instruments. His musical versatility is well utilized; he composes in any style, often using classical, jazz, and pop music throughout a single score, threading these elements together into the story.
Television Score Composer.
In recent years Isham has ventured into television scoring projects, receiving an Emmy Award for his work on the critically acclaimed series "EZ Streets" (Universal Television) and Emmy nominations for "Chicago Hope" (CBS) and "Nothing Sacred" (20th Century Fox). He has also scored the CBS hit drama "Family Law".
Classic Acoustic Jazz/Electric Jazz Artist.
Isham's latest album, Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project (COLUMBIA), has received great critical acclaim including "Best Jazz Album in 1999" by the London Times. Recorded live in Los Angeles, this album is Isham's reinterpretation of material from Miles Davis' late '60s - early '70s phase, which had a lasting effect on him as a developing musician.
"It blazes with the kind of aural fury that characterized the Davis electric groups. To Isham's credit, the interpretations often transcend the similarities" (LOS ANGELES TIMES). Isham and his Silent Way Project band will perform a highly anticipated tour of Europe and the United States later this year.
Isham's 1995 release, Blue Sun (COLUMBIA), was met with equally high praise from the critics and was chosen by Downbeat as one of the Top 100 Jazz Albums of the Decade. "One of the most emotive new albums of the year... Isham displays a rare combination of a contemporary jazz vocabulary and an almost old-fashioned cool" (TIME OUT).
New Age Artist.
In 1983 Isham received critical recognition as a solo artist with the release of his debut album Vapor Drawings, the first electronic release on the Windham Hill label. He then went on to release two Grammy nominated albums: Castalia for Virgin Records and Tibet for Windham Hill Records. Most notable of his accomplishments as a New Age artist is his 1990 Grammy Award for Best New Age Performer for his album, Mark Isham (Virgin Records).
Mark Isham's distinctive trumpet voice is in constant demand by high-profile artists. He has appeared as a guest soloist with Joni Mitchell on her last two albums and in several concert tours. He is featured on five records with Van Morrison and the two have performed live together on numerous occasions. Over the years Isham has also appeared with artists as diverse as the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Kenny Loggins, Toots Thielemans, Marianne Faithful, Ziggy Marley and Suzanne Vega.
Children's Story Music Composer.
Isham was nominated for three Grammy Awards for his music for the Rabbit Ears series of children's albums. These albums featured classic children's stories with Isham's evocative scores, and they are narrated by award-winning actors including Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons and William Hurt.
Isham's first commissioned orchestral work, "Five Short Stories For Trumpet and Orchestra" for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, premiered in 1992 with Isham performing the solo trumpet role. Since then he has had orchestral performances across the country of his original compositions and film scores, including "On the Threshold of Liberty" and selections from A River Runs Through It, The Moderns,and Quiz Show.
Not one to stay in any one genre, Isham has now returned to his electronic music roots with the newest incarnation of his band. With sampled loops, dance rhythms, electric guitar, keyboards, bass and his distinctive trumpet he is looking to create his own eclectic place in the musical world. His quintet has built a following performing on the Los Angeles club circuit, and this material will provide the focus for his upcoming album on RCA Records.