2023 Winner

2023 Winner

Isaiah J. Thompson

Isaiah J. Thompson is the winner of the 2023 American Pianists Awards and recipient of the Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz. Originally from West Orange, New Jersey, the pianist, bandleader and composer began studying at The Calderone School of Music from an early age. Soon after, Isaiah continued his studies with Jazz House Kids and NJPAC Jazz For Teens and was later admitted to The Juilliard School graduating with both his Bachelor’s in 2019 and Master’s of Music degrees in 2020.

Isaiah has performed with major artists, including Ron Carter, John Pizzarelli, Christian McBride, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Steve Turre and Buster Williams. His recording debut was featured on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Blue Engine Records’ Handful of Keys album with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, and he has since released several recordings as a leader.

He worked on the Golden Globe nominated soundtrack for Motherless Brooklyn, was named a Steinway Artist and has been awarded accolades including, the 2018 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, and second place in the 2018 Thelonious Monk Competition. Isaiah believes that artistry is a direct channel into the mind and soul of an artist, and as such, feels that it is important to not lose sight of one’s individuality or that of others. As a performer, he tries to emit a feeling of joy and convey his personal experiences through the music, and through his everlasting love of jazz.


  • Photos

    Isaiah J. Thompson
    Isaiah J. Thompson
    Isaiah J. Thompson and Dee Dee Bridgewater
    Isaiah J. Thompson at The Cabaret
    Isaiah J. Thompson and Cécile McLorin Salvant
    Isaiah J. Thompson and the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra

  • Press Kit

  • Videos

     2023 Awards Sneak Preview - Dizzy's Club

    "The Cake Walk Dilema" by Isaiah J. Thompson

    "A Prayer" by Isaiah J. Thompson

    “Everything Happens to Me” by Tom Adair

    “Night Mist Blues” by Ahmad Jamal

    “Everything Happens to Me” by Tom Adair


    A Day in the Life of Isaiah J. Thompson

  • Social Media Contact

    Website: isaiahjthompson.com

    Instagram: @isaiahjthompson


  • Request Performance

    To request a performance, please contact bookings@americanpianists.org

  • Discography

    The Power of the Spirit
    Composed in Color
    Isaiah J. Thompson Plays the Music of Buddy Motgomery
    Motherless Brooklyn
    Handful of Keys
    The Isaiah J. Thompson Trio Live From @Exuberance

Sign up for our Newsletter
Our diverse world shapes our music, the artistic language of our contestants. It delights, informs, and inspires us all. It is in this spirit that the American Pianists Association welcomes people of any race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and gender identity, as well as people with disabilities. We commit to learn from diverse talents, ideas, and voices. We pledge to create an environment for our artists, audiences, community partners, board, and staff that is based on the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Further, we commit to enacting strategic and annual plans that provide focused, measurable strategies for living out these values every day.