Isaac Schankler

Adjunct Instructor

  • Program:
    Composition / Theory and Analysis
  • Division:
    Classical Performance and Composition


Isaac Schankler is a composer, pianist, accordionist and electronic musician living in Los Angeles. Lauded as “extraordinarily eclectic” and “masterfully composed” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), his music is inspired by improvisation, indeterminacy, spoken language, narrative, and puzzles.

Schankler’s recent honors include awards and grants from Meet the Composer, the National Opera Association, the American Composers Forum, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the American Prize. He is a past winner of the USC Sadye J. Moss Composition Prize and the ASCAP/Lotte Lehmann Foundation Art Song Competition, as well as a finalist in the ASCAP/SEAMUS Commission Competition. Recent commissions include works for the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, wild up, Lorelei Ensemble, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Aron Kallay (piano), and Andrew Tholl (violin).

As a composer for collaborative works, Schankler has worked with poets Amaranth Borsuk (The Familiar Spirit) and Jillian Burcar (Light and Power), video game designers Christine Love (Analogue: A Hate Story), Zoe Quinn and Patrick Lindsey (Depression Quest), and Mitu Khandaker (Redshirt), filmmakers Quintan Ana Wikswo (Sonderbauten), Christopher O’Leary (Blocking the Exits), and Sandra Powers (The Nomad Song), and computer scientists Elaine Chew and Alexandre François (MIMI: Multimodal Interaction for Musical Improvisation).

As a writer and researcher, Schankler is the West Coast Regional Editor for NewMusicBox, the multimedia publication from New Music USA. In 2013 he was a winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism. His writing has also appeared in the International Journal of Arts and Technology, Computer Music Journal, and the proceedings of international conferences including MCM (Mathematics and Computation in Music), ISPS (International Symposium of Performance Science), and ICME (International Conference on Multimedia & Expo).

Schankler is an artistic director of People Inside Electronics, a concert series for live electroacoustic music, and a resident artist with the interdisciplinary arts organization Catalysis Projects. In May 2010, Schankler completed his doctoral studies in composition at the USC Thornton School of Music. He also holds degrees in composition (MM, BM) and a degree in English (BA) from the University of Michigan. He currently teaches music technology at the University of Southern California and music theory at Chapman University.

Academic degrees

  • DMA - University of Southern California
  • MM - University of Michigan
  • BA, BM - University of Michigan