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While a student at Thomas Aquinas College, David Isaac (’05) was delighted when his peers performed his musical compositions, including two string quartets and a piano quintet. And his senior thesis, “On the Harmonic Unity of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune,” was awarded distinction. So it should come as little surprise that, since graduating, Mr. Isaac has pursued a promising career in musical composition.

This pursuit first brought him to California State University, Northridge, where he undertook studies in music. He then returned to his hometown of Tucson, Ariz., where he co-founded Orpheum Music Productions, LLC, which creates high-quality orchestral realizations for independent films and other productions. He has composed for various media, ranging from solo violin, piano, and guitar to large orchestra, in styles as varied as classical, baroque, and romantic to atonal, minimalist, neo-romantic, blues, rock, and jazz.

In 2009, Mr. Isaac completed his first symphony, Death and Light, in the Beethoven- Brahms symphonic tradition. Soon thereafter, he also completed The Legend of Orion and March to Hades, both of which recount battles from Greek mythology. His works have been performed by members of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic. (For more information, see davidimusic.com.) Mr. Isaac credits the music class in the junior year of the Thomas Aquinas College curriculum, notably its emphasis on tonality, with much of his professional success.

“That provided me with some insight about how music works that other composers and theorists just don’t have,” he says. When not composing, he is working on two CDs of guitar and piano music, and he teaches mathematics at a local community college.