Biography (long form)

 

Copyright 2007 Mainya Music Entertainment

Photographer: Jose Freeman

Isadar has been involved with music all of his life.  Born and raised in south Louisiana, Fabian Isadar Thibodeaux was inspired as a child by the classical music his father listened to and his brother performed, and began playing the piano “by ear” at a very early age.  His oldest brother, Dexter, began teaching him about  the piano at the age of five, and by the time Isadar was ten, he had already won an  impressive number of awards in local competitions.

Piano study continued off and on, shifting to a focus on woodwinds in junior high.  Isadar started with the flute, played piccolo in the marching band, and also learned oboe, earning numerous music awards along the way.

In his junior year of high school, Isadar’s involvement with his high school’s annual musical production rekindled his interest in the piano and triggered improvisational skills which segued into songwriting.  He has been composing music ever since, building his catalog to several hundred titles, including many piano solos.

A music major at the University of Louisiana, Isadar began to professionally record his original compositions, financed by part-time jobs after school and later by a full-time position at the University’s Library.  These early recordings evolved into his 1997 vocal release, “Dream of the Dead,” (watch music video here) and were heavily influenced by British recording artists such as Kate Bush (in particular, her 1982 masterpiece, “The Dreaming”), Thomas Dolby, Peter Gabriel, and US/NYC based performance artist Laurie Anderson.

While at the University, Isadar became involved in two of the theater department’s major annual productions.  There he found kinship (and his niche) in the crass humor, sincerity, and openness that was missing in the more academic music department.  The results of this association were profound and resulted in Isadar’s original score of Megan Terry’s musical, “Viet Rock.”

Isadar changed majors from Music to General Studies, finding the formal music program to be incompatible with his creative intent and vision.  He graduated from UL in 1989 with an Associate of Arts degree, and continued working in the State Library.  “Dream of the Dead” was recorded from 1987-1990 in local studios in southern Louisiana, and included performances by local Cajun musicians.  Due to the high cost of producing and manufacturing the album, Isadar put this complex project on hold until he could afford to complete the project to his satisfaction.

Inspired by a 1988 Baton Rouge performance by pianist Liz Story (Windham Hill / RCA Novus / DMI), Isadar briefly changed his focus to the piano and recorded his 1990 debut album, “Near the Edge of Light,” in a similar spirit.  The album was well-received and was nominated as the year’s Best Instrumental Jazz Recording by regional entertainment media.

Hoping for a major publishing and/or recording advance to help secure financing for his more artistic work, Isadar concentrated on composing mainstream, pop/dance-oriented music in the early 1990’s.  During this time, he also composed and recorded “Elevations (Electronic Soundscapes).”

In early 1993, Isadar decided to relocate to New York City to further pursue his music and recording career.  His first break came about a year later when a major advertising firm in New York hired him to create the soundtrack for a Ralph Lauren “Safari” perfume and cologne TV ad.

Isadar began a five -year employment term with Sony Music Entertainment in 1995.  His background in music as well as library science earned him a unique place in the company’s Business Affairs Department, managing the legal files for the company’s artists.  During that period, he completed  the final mixing and mastering for “Dream of the Dead” at Sony Music Studios.

In 1996, Isadar launched his website, ISADAR.com, in preparation for the official release of “Dream of the Dead,” focusing on the Internet for exposure and CD sales.

Two years later, Isadar acquired a Fairlight CMI Series IIx originally created for Herbie Hancock.  Hancock recorded his classic hit “Rock It!” (and also appeared on Sesame Street) with this instrument, which was the world’s first sampler and predated MIDI technology.  The CMI (Computer Musical Instrument) was initially released in 1982 with a price tag that was well out of most musicians’ budgets, but it became a staple of the early ’80s pop music sound.  With this inspiring new instrument, Isadar began recording his pop-vocal album “Cycles” – his first project recorded entirely at home.  The pressure of hourly studio rates was no longer a factor in the creation process, but the lack of professional sound-processing ability required for the rich, atmospheric sound of the Fairlight caused frustration, and the CMI was eventually sold to a private collector.  Since then, Isadar has taken advantage of the tremendous advancements in recording software he uses to create music.

In late 1998, Isadar refocused his attention on solo piano and recorded two albums in a one-day session, “Active Imagination” and “In Search For The Meaning Of Christmas.” Both earned critical acclaim in 1999 and charted well.

In 2000, Isadar left New York City with the intention of leaving the music industry altogether, but fortunately, that didn’t happen.  After becoming a certified massage therapist, he returned to Louisiana and recorded and released another piano album, “The Journey.”  He also began creating mechanical reproductions of his solo piano recordings for playback in the Yamaha Disklavier and The PianoDisc systems, contemporary player-pianos.  Isadar’s interest in mechanically re-produced music further developed into creating sound recordings of Regina, Polyphon, Symphonion, Troubadour, and Kalliope antique music boxes.  Isadar and his brother, Dexter, then transcribed “Near the Edge of Light” into sheet music form.  Transcriptions have since been made for all of Isadar’s solo piano works.

In mid-2001, a former associate from Sony offered Isadar a newly-created position with BMG Music that would utilize his music industry knowledge, records management, and library skills.  Isadar accepted the position and moved back to Manhattan a few weeks before the tragedy of  9/11.  His most recent piano album, “The Purple Heart,” contains almost an hour of live solo piano improvisation, and is dedicated to the lives lost during the terrorist attacks.

Over the past several years, Isadar has concentrated on recording vocal projects  (“Lessons In Love,” “Private Property,” “LiFe v.2.0,” and “The Omega Point”) primarily consisting of material that he has accumulated over the years while technology caught up in order to allow affordable realization.

In March 2012, Grammy award winning guitarist and founder of Windham Hill Records, William Ackerman produced a solo piano project for Isadar at his Imaginary Road Studio in Windham County, Vermont. The project, titled “Reconstructed,” is a re-working and re-recording of tracks Ackerman felt were the strongest from the six solo piano albums Isadar released since 1990. After working together, Ackerman stated, “The music we recorded ranged from the achingly beautiful to the breathtakingly technical, all of this rendered expertly through the unique musical lens that Isadar offers us.” The album peaked at the #2 chart position of the Zone Music Reporter for June of the same year and was nominated for “Album Of The Month” for July, and subsequently nominated for “Album Of The Year” by the Spanish website, ReviewsNewAge. The album went on to be submitted for consideration into 5 categories for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.

Isadar resides in New York City.  He continues to write, record and make music videos to accompany his work as he has time, and is currently a manager within Sony Music Entertainment’s department of Vault and Archives.  His music is distributed globally through iTunes.

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(June 2013)

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