Merle J. Isaac

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Merle J. Isaac
Born Merle John Isaac
October 12, 1898
Pioneer, Iowa
Died March 11, 1996(1996-03-11) (aged 97)
Des Plaines, Illinois
Nationality USA
Education Bachelor of Musical Education, Vandercook College of Music
Bachelor of Science, Lewis Institute
Occupation Music Arranger

Merle John Isaac (October 12, 1898 – March 11, 1996) was a prolific arranger who focused on arranging famous pieces for performers of lower experience, especially school orchestras. After graduating from the Vandercook College of Music in 1932, he began to teach at John Marshall High School, in Chicago, Illinois. While he was there, Isaac realized that there was little good music available to lower-level orchestras, and began to arrange music for his orchestra, beginning with Bohm's Perpetual Motion. After 35 years working in Chicago area schools, he retired from education, though he continued to be a clinician and guest conductor around the country, and also continued arranging. In 1993, the American String Teachers Association gave Isaac a lifetime achievement award, and annually through 1997 continued giving awards under his name.[1] They also have an annual Merle J. Isaac composition contest to "encourage the composition, publication, and performance of music of quality for the benefit of school orchestra programs." [2] Isaac's family included his wife, Margaret, and their daughter, Margrethe (May 6, 1927 - August 14, 2007).


  1. ^ "ASTA Awards and Citations". Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "ASTA Merle Isaac Composition Contest". Retrieved 2008-01-31.