"Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art."
Yotam Ishay is a Grammy-nominated, Brooklyn-based Israeli pianist & composer. Yotam grew up in Afula, a small town in Israel. His first experience with music was at the age of 9 when he heard his older sisters playing "Heart & Soul" on the piano. Being already passionate about music, and since he couldn't read music yet, he asked them to write the names of the notes played in Hebrew so he could learn the song.
Yotam began formal classical piano lessons before his 10th birthday. From his first steps, he started experimenting with composition while listening to CDs of music by Claude Debussy, who later became one of his deepest influences. His first mentor was Gideon Hazor, who taught him at the pastoral Jezreel Valley Center for the Arts for six years. With Hazor’s wise advice, he added Jazz piano lessons to his studies, which greatly influenced him musically.
Turning 18, Yotam started a mandatory military service as a medic in northern Israel. Not having a piano nearby, Yotam used his free time to explore the guitar. It was then that he discovered the music of Joni Mitchell - another artist who influenced him greatly.
After finishing his service duty, Yotam continued his education at the Rimon School of Music in Israel and Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, where he was a full-tuition scholar. At Berklee, he studied with Prof. Alla Cohen and Prof. Stephany Tiernan.
Since then, Yotam has released three albums - "Opus 1", "SEED", and 'SPROUT' and participated as a finalist in 3 editions of the International Antonin Dvorak Composition Competition, Won the "Beyond Music" competition, where he collaborated with multi-Grammy winners Michael League & Bill Laurance, and received a Grammy nomination on his work for the Berklee Indian Ensemble album - "Shuruaat".