"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 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 three-year service in the Israeli army 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. At Berklee, he studies with Prof. Alla Cohen and Prof. Richard Carrick. Since graduation, Yotam has also been active in the city of Boston as an educator in the city music program. He has been composing, playing, and arranging for Berklee “Signature Series” shows (Shankar Mahadevan Meets Berklee, Singers Showcase, and more).