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Brian Isaacs



Instrument: Viola




American violist Brian Isaacs is passionate about developing meaningful musical experiences for both performers and audience members alike. In pursuit of this, Brian is based in Berlin as a member of both the Karajan-Akademie der Berliner Philharmoniker and the class of Tabea Zimmermann (Konzertexamen, Frankfurt HfMDK). 

Brian's accolades include the Verbier Festival Academy's 2023 Edwin Caplin Foundation Award for Viola, a 2023-24 grant from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund, the Martinů Foundation Prize and an Honorary Mention at the 2023 Oskar Nedbal International Viola Competition, and Third Prize at the 2019 Anton Rubinstein International Viola Competition. He has advanced to the semi-finals of major international competitions such as ARD, Primrose, Prague Spring, and Kodaly. At Yale, Brian won both the School of Music's Woolsey Hall and the College's William Waite Concerto Competitions and also received the Wrexham Prize in Music, the Joseph Lentilhon Selden Memorial Award, and the Terry E. and Irene A. Sharp Prize. He has appeared as a soloist with the Münchener Kammerorchester and Yale Symphony Orchestra, and will perform with the Yale Philharmonia under Peter Oundjian in April 2024. Brian has performed as a soloist in masterclasses for artists including Misha Amory, Yuri Bashmet, Noemie Bialobroda, Alfred Brendel, Ettore Causa, Nobuko Imai, Lawrence Power, Nadia Sirota & Nico Muhly, Steven Tenenbom, Lars Anders Tomter, Lech Antonio Uszynski, and Tabea Zimmermann. His pre-college teachers include Barbera Berg, Molly Carr, Caeli Smith, and Jonathan Weber. 

Brian has been fortunate to perform chamber music around the world with remarkable musicians. A recent highlight was a series of chamber music concerts in South Korea, where he performed in Seoul, Gimhae, and Heyri. Brian has participated in numerous chamber music festivals in recent summers, including the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival, Geneva International String Academy (2023/2022), Gstaad Menuhin Festival String Academy, Moritzburg Festival Academy, NUME Festival Academy, Taos School of Music, Thy Chamber Music Festival, Viridian Strings (2023/2022), and Verbier Festival Academy (2023/2022). He has collaborated and performed with established artists including Peter Bruns, Ettore Causa, Jose Gallardo, Annette von Hehn, Ida Kavafian, Hye-Jin Kim, Mihae Lee, Mi-kyung Lee, Ivan Monighetti, Tony Nys, and Marcy Rosen.

An avid orchestral musician, Brian will participate in numerous performances of the Berliner Philharmoniker over the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons as a scholarship-holder of the Karajan Academy. He served as a section violist in the New Haven Symphony Orchestra from 2019-23, joining at the time as its youngest member. Brian has additionally served as principal violist with the Yale Philharmonia and with several renowned youth orchestras including NYO-USA, in which he participated in concert tours across Asia and Europe, the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra, New York Youth Symphony, and the Yale Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Brian attended the 2018 and 2019 New York String Orchestra Seminars and the 2020 Detroit Symphony Orchestra Summer Institute. 

A native New Yorker, Brian attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and graduated in 2018. He then studied with Ettore Causa from 2018-2023 at Yale University, where he received his MM in Viola Performance and his BA in Sociology. Brian plays on a 2011 Douglas Cox viola, on generous loan from the Virtu Foundation.

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