"Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art."
Yotam Ishay is an Israeli pianist & composer who performs both Jazz and modern music, a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music with a full scholarship. 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 just before his tenth birthday, while experimenting with composition from the first years, and listening to CDs of the music of Claude Debussy, who became his deepest influence through the years. Yotam studied 6 years under the instruction of Gideon Hazor at the pastoral Jezre’el Valley Center for the Arts. With Hazor’s wise advice, he began taking Jazz piano lessons along with classical lessons, which greatly influenced him musically.
From the age of 18 to 21, he served the Israeli army as a medic in an important training base in northern Israel, while using his free time to learn to play the guitar and discovered the music of Joni Mitchell, who also became a major influence.
After finishing his military service, Yotam went to further his music studies at the Rimon School of Music in Israel, and continuing to Berklee where he studies with Prof. Alla Cohen and Prof. Richard Carrick. Yotam Has been highly active in Boston both in and out of Berklee. Composing, playing, and arranging for Berklee “Signature Series” shows (Shankar Mahadevan Meets Berklee, Singer’s Showcase, and more). Yotam is twice finalist in the International Antonin Dvorak Composition Competition.