“A beautiful, sensitive musician who can play in many styles, from pop to latin to swing. A natural.”
(John Hoffman – Lecturer in Jazz, Qld Conservatorium)
Isaac Cavallaro is an Australian musician with experience as a music director, producer, composer and educator, currently undertaking his Masters of Music Research at Griffith University’s The Queensland Conservatorium. Here, Isaac is exploring the processes of developing augmented drumset vocabulary which includes the addition of a midi keyboard to the traditional drumset.
This study has recently led to Isaac accepting an offer to attend the Artist in Residence Program hosted by Vijay Iyer, in Florida. Here Isaac will present his augmented drumset compositions to Vijay and the other artists in residence for critiquing. The program will also include collaborations with the fellow participants, where Isaac hopes to find new approaches to making music on his augmented drumset.
Graduating from Ferny Grove State High School in 2007, Isaac was top of the class in both classroom music and music extension (2007), and received the school cultural award (2006, 2007). Isaac continued his studies at Griffith University’s The Queensland Conservatorium, earning his Bachelor of Music, majoring in advanced performance for jazz drums. During his time there, Isaac received the Sid SJ Bromley Jazz Award for Outstanding Student (2015) and Griffith awards for Academic Excellence (2013, 2014, 2015).
“Isaac is a highly skilled and well-trained musician with excellent communication skills. His knowledge of music from a wide range of genres and his ability to work in various ensemble settings make him an ideal band leader for any scenario.”
(Steve Newcomb, Director of Jazz Qld Conservatorium)
His passion for education has seen Isaac run his own private teaching business across Brisbane and teach at Ferny Grove State High School as a contracted instrumental instructor for percussion and guitar ensembles. Here, Isaac arranged material specific to players’ skills and interests, bringing out the best in each individual’s performance.
“Isaac is a very accomplished musician and an intelligent, creative and resourceful teacher.”
(Stephanie McCaw – Former head of Instrumental music FGSHS)
Isaac has since been contracted by Griffith University to deliver live improvised performances with Steve Newcomb (Director of Jazz Qld Conservatorium) and share his experiences as a working musician at The Queensland Conservatorium’s jazz workshops.
This passion for education extends beyond the classroom to Isaac’s self-managed online blog where he interviews various artists from all over the world, with his most well received posts featuring interviews between himself and Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Donny McCaslin) and Greg Saunier (Deerhoof).
Outside of drumming and educating, Isaac also runs and directs his self-titled solo electronic project, fusing his composition and drumming abilities to create silky pop melodies and experimental electronic textures. His solo music has been played on internationally recognised radio stations with his production skills receiving a number of positive reviews.
“Lush layered production that leaves me feeling all warm.”
(Nat Tencic, Triple J presenter)
“It’s like the sun breaking through rain clouds. To me, this song has that same uplifting, euphoric feeling.”
(Dom Alessio, Former Triple J presenter)
Isaac has been commissioned to compose and produce music for various businesses, artists and ensembles. One such commission included Isaac working with the Australian travel agency, Escape Travel where his music was featured daily during the international tennis tournament, The Australian Open, reaching nearly three million viewers (2015). Other commissioned works include original compositions for instrumental music programs and arrangements for bandleaders working with freelance musicians.
In September 2018, Isaac finished a three-year stint working full-time for Royal Caribbean International, travelling all over the world, working in a variety of roles including Musical Director, Assistant Musical Director, Band Leader, Guest Entertainer and Orchestra Drummer as well as DJ’ing private weddings on board The Allure of the Seas (2015 -2018).
“Isaac has excellent communication skills. In addition, he is an extremely organised, reliable team player who keeps the communication open regarding any concerns to his area.”
(Elvis Pinto – Cruise Director, RCCL)
Isaac’s ability to communicate honestly and sincerely, both on and off his instrument, has earned him drumming positions with a wide variety of artists. Some of which include: Toni Childs (USA), Elisa Furr (USA), RIVAH, The Kite String Tangle, Dustin Tebbutt, Torfason and Inigo to name a few.
Acting as a drummer, producer and music director whilst often reverse- engineering electronically produced beats to be recreated and performed live, Isaac has continually gained the respect and trust of each artist’s vision he works with.
“During our time together Isaac was professional, focused and ambitious and it’s clear to me that he will have a career in music in whatever discipline he decides to pursue.”
(Danny Harley, The Kite String Tangle)
“He is an excellent drummer, detail-oriented director and always able to communicate and find a solution to any obstacle. His technical and music production skills are highly proficient and he made touring easy and enjoyable for both artists and production crew.“
(Bec Laughton, RIVAH)
In 2019, Isaac was awarded a scholarship to attend The Australian Art Orchestra’s creative music intensive held in Tasmania. Here, Isaac had the opportunity to perform and study with faculty members Simon Barker, Bae Il Dong, Chris Hale, Sunny Kim, Peter Knight, Scott Tinkler and Vanessa Tomlinson.
Currently, Isaac is working with various artists functioning as either their music director, co-writer, producer, sideman or, at times, a combination of these positions. Isaac’s wide array of experience and skills are leveraged to help artists best deliver the product they wish to create.
With a constant desire to learn more, Isaac plans to continue his study of music, whilst striving to create honest and relevant art.
“I’ve seen Isaac push his level of talent by continuously striving to be better than he already is with hours of rehearsal and practice on his own time to improve and really be the best at what he does.”
(Bryan Cheatham, Headline act RCCL)