Oratorio Chorale

Music Director Emily Isaacson

A native of Brunswick, Maine, Emily Isaacson is a conductor, singer, and music educator recognized for her versatility and energy on the stage. Isaacson is equally at home in orchestral and choral conducting, chamber and large ensembles, and with early to contemporary music. Most recently, Isaacson conducted the Grammy-nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire, Yale School of Music’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival Choir, and members of the professional ensemble Lorelei. Isaacson is currently a visiting faculty member in music at Bowdoin College, where she directs the Chamber Choir. She is also assistant music director of the Juventas New Music Ensemble in Boston.

A strong advocate of new music, Isaacson has commissioned or conducted early performances of works by Loren Loiacono, John Rommeriem, and Scott Ordway, whose “Kyrie,” from his Festival Mass, was premiered in Maine at the Chorale’s November 2013 concert.

Isaacson also assisted in the creation of the new vocal music ensemble “Roomful of Teeth,”providing research, grant-writing,  strategy, and board work.  “Roomful of Teeth” is an eight-voice ensemble directed by Brad Wells that has earned wide acclaim for its virtuosic mix of vocal techniques and commissioning of new music. Partita for 8 Voices, composed by Caroline Shaw and performed and recorded by the ensemble, was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music. “Roomful of Teeth” has just received the 2014 GRAMMY award for Best Chamber Group/Small Ensemble Performance.

In addition to her life on the podium and in the classroom, Isaacson is an active scholar. Following her graduation from Williams College in 2004, she was one of two U.S. citizens awarded the St. Andrews Society Fellowship for graduate study in Scotland, where she earned a master’s degree in musicology from Edinburgh University. Additional research and educational experiences have brought her to Cuba, Sweden, Estonia, and Italy. She holds a second master’s degree from the University of Oregon and is currently a candidate for the doctorate in musical arts in choral conducting at the University of Illinois, where she is writing her doctoral dissertation, “The Binding of Isaac: Comparative Musical Perspectives on Conflict and Faith in the Age of Modernity.” Isaacson currently lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband and baby daughter.