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. Her direction of the Brahms Requiem was heralded as “one of the most moving musical events of the decade” by the Portland Press Herald and “sublime” by the Times Record. Her direction of more than 150 performers in Mozart’s Requiem was called “an outstanding event” (Maine Today), and her 2015 direction of Bach’s Magnificat “sparkled,” according to the New Maine Times. Ms. Isaacson serves as the artistic director of the Oratorio Chorale and Maine Chamber Ensemble. A graduate of Williams College, she was awarded the St. Andrews Society Fellowship for graduate study in Scotland, where she earned a master’s degree in musicology from Edinburgh University. She holds a second master’s degree from the University of Oregon and a doctorate in musical arts in choral conducting and literature from the University of Illinois.
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” also received the 2014 GRAMMY award for Best Chamber Group/Small Ensemble Performance.
Isaacson lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband, four-year-old daughter, and one-year-old son.