LSM Newswire

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Messiah: December 4

The Messiah
Elmer Iseler Singers, Amadeus Choir and Orchestra conducted by Lydia Adams
Friday, December 4th 2009 at Metropolitan United Church at 8pm

”Handel understands effect better than any of us” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Toronto, November 17, 2009: Toronto’s Elmer Iseler Singers and conductor/Canadian Music Centre ambassador Lydia Adams welcome in the holiday season with the vibrant melodies of The Messiah by George Friedrich Handel on Friday, December 4th at Metropolitan United Church. Continuing their annual tradition, the acclaimed Elmer Iseler Singers join forces with the Amadeus Choir to revive the outstanding and ingenious baroque work, possibly one of the most successful pieces ever written.

Handel composed The Messiah in 24 days without once leaving his house. The oratorio was first performed in Dublin on April 13th, 1742, and immediately won huge popular success. “Words are wanting to express the exquisite Delight it afforded to the admiring crowded Audience. The Sublime, the Grand, and the Tender, adapted to the most elevated, majestic, and moving Words, conspired to transport and charm the ravished Heart and Ear..." These were sentiments expressed in Faulkner's Dublin Journal following the first performance in Neals Musick Hall in Dublin. This premiere proved to be a personal triumph to Handel and helped restore his self-confidence during a very difficult time in his life.

This year again, the Elmer Iseler Singers team up with outstanding Canadian soloists: Meredith Hall (soprano), Allyson McHardy (mezzo-soprano), Michael Colvin (tenor) and Peter McGillivray (bass), and welcome back the two featured trumpet players, Robert Venables and Robert DiVito and the distinguished Toronto organist, Patricia Wright. A hand-picked orchestra of accomplished Canadian musicians augments the luscious-sounding choruses of Handel’s Messiah.

Need a stocking stuffer? This Messiah performance is the perfect opportunity to obtain the newly released CD of Peter-Anthony Togni’s “Lamentations of Jeremiah” on the prestigious international ECM label featuring conductor Lydia Adams, the Elmer Iseler Singers with bass clarinet improviser/virtuoso Jeff Reilly and soprano Rebecca Whelan. The biography, ELMER ISELER, Choral Visionary by Walter Pitman – Dundurn Press and various Elmer Iseler Singers’ recordings will also be available.

Handel’s MESSIAH conducted by Lydia Adams
Friday, December 4th 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Metropolitan United Church: 56 Queen St. East (at Bond), Toronto
Tickets: $50 Reg. $45 Sen. $10. Students w/ valid student I.D.
Group Rates Also Available.
For information about tickets and the Pre-Messiah Dinner, please call: 416-217-0537


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Prestigious CD Label Features Canadian Composer

Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae by Peter-Anthony Togni
A deeply expressive piece with ancient origins for modern times

Performance & CD Launch on ECM label – A Canadian First!
Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Anne’s Anglican Church
Elmer Iseler Singers - Lydia Adams, Conductor
Jeff Reilly, Bass Clarinet and Rebecca Whelan, Soprano
Special Guest: Peter-Anthony Togni

Toronto, ON, October 9, 2009: Virtuoso bass clarinetist Jeff Reilly and soprano Rebecca Whelan join the celebrated Elmer Iseler Singers and conductor Lydia Adams for the performance and CD launch of Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae: Concerto for bass clarinet and choir (2007), by Halifax composer Peter-Anthony Togni on Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. (please note starting time) at St. Anne’s Anglican Church in Toronto. The new CD will be available at the November 14 concert, and will become available at Canadian retailers in January 2010.

Weaving an intricate, universal tale of a prophet who speaks the truth and is disregarded, Jeff Reilly, often improvising the bass clarinet, Rebecca Whelan, and the 20-voiced ensemble offer a poignant interpretation of Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae (Lamentations of Jeremiah), a compelling and expressive piece that was commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts. This is the first work by a Canadian composer to appear on the prestigious ECM label (under the guidance of producer/guru Manfred Eicher) as part of the ECM New Series, which has launched the careers of some of the world's most famous contemporary composers. In the year of its 40th anniversary, ECM Records has been named both Classical and Jazz Label Of The Year by the world's leading publications in these genres, Gramophone and Downbeat respectively.

After a world premiere in Toronto in 2007 and a 2008 tour in Nova Scotia, Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae was recorded in Halifax in October 2008 in the richly acoustical All Saints Cathedral in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As Keith Horner explains in his CD liner notes, Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae is “a virtuoso concerto, incorporating improvisation and choral support”. Composer Peter-Anthony Togni points out that the origins of the word ‘concerto’ embrace the concept of ‘playing together.’ “So I wanted this sense of performing together, and still have the bass clarinet as concerto virtuoso and improviser, and then combine this with the challenge of telling a story,” adds Togni.

"Togni's music is deeply felt, simply put well-crafted and irradiated by a personal sense of the divine… Jeff Reilly is an undisputed master of the Bass Clarinet who has gone to the end to explore its sonic universe."
– Halifax Herald

Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae (Lamentations of Jeremiah): Concert/CD Launch
Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.
The Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams, conductor
Soloists: Bass clarinetist/improviser Jeff Reilly, soprano Rebecca Whelan
Special Guest: Peter-Anthony Togni
St. Anne’s Anglican Church: 270 Gladstone Avenue, Toronto
For tickets (Reg. $35/ Sen. $30/ Students $10) please call 416-217-0537
Group rates available

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Gibbons to Gospel: Elmer Iseler Singers Launch 31st season

Elmer Iseler Singers share the stage with Nathaniel Dett Chorale
Lydia Adams, Conductor
Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, Guest Conductor

Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church

For Immediate Release - Toronto, ON: September 14, 2009: Toronto’s renowned vocal ensemble, the Elmer Iseler Singers begin their 31st season with an evening of eclectic music. On Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., Lydia Adams and her twenty singers share the stage with the celebrated Nathaniel Dett Chorale and their founder and conductor, Brainerd Blyden-Taylor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. “From their very recent appearance at U.S. President Barack Obama’s inauguration, we are thrilled to welcome Brainerd Blyden-Taylor and the renowned Nathaniel Dett Chorale”, comments Dr. Lydia Adams. As tireless representatives of Afrocentric choral music, this professional ensemble truly “builds bridges of understanding, appreciation, and acceptance between communities of people…”

The evening brings together both choirs to bring the timeless choral works of Byrd, Tallis, Gibbons, Whitacre and Tomkins, as well as the empowering music from the legacy of Nathaniel Dett and selections from the wealth of a jubilant and uplifting Gospel repertoire. This concert will honour the 35th anniversary of the Toronto Arts Council.

The Elmer Iseler Singers, conducted by Artistic Director Lydia Adams, is a twenty-voice professional chamber choir based in Toronto. Founded by the late Dr. Elmer Iseler in 1979, the Elmer Iseler Singers are one of Canada’s most illustrious professional choral ensembles. Reviewers have remarked on the Elmer Iseler Singers’ “flawless intonation, rhythmic vitality and great sensitivity to the expressive power of phrasing.”

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale is Canada’s first professional choral group dedicated to Afrocentric music of all styles, including classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues. These 21 classically trained, outstanding vocalists have shared the stage with internationally recognized artists such as Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy, opera star Kathleen Battle, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Artistic Director Brainerd Blyden-Taylor was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from York University on June 29, 2009. The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s mission is to build bridges of understanding, appreciation and acceptance between communities of people, both Afrocentric and other, through the medium of music.

Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

The Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams, conductor

Special Guest Artists: The Nathaniel Dett Chorale & Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, conductor

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church

78 Clifton Road at St. Clair, Toronto (West of Mt. Pleasant)

For tickets (Reg. $40/ Sen. $35/ Students $10) please call 416-217-0537

Group rates available.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kyiv Chamber Choir Makes Awaited Return

Roy Thomson Hall: Friday, April 24 at 7:30PM

For Immediate Release – Toronto, March 24, 2009: Platinum Concerts International (PCI) proudly presents the world-renowned Kyiv Chamber Choir and conductor Mykola Hobdych at Roy Thomson Hall on Friday April 24 at 7:30 p.m. This concert is part of a Canadian tour which includes 12 Canadian cities and marks the much-anticipated return of this award-winning ensemble, which last appeared in Canada in 2006 to public and critical acclaim. The Toronto performance is unique however, as the Kyiv Chamber Choir joins forces with renowned choral ensembles Elmer Iseler Singers, Vesnivka Choir, and St. Michael’s Choir School for an evening of classical Ukrainian choral works sung in the antiphonal style, with the sounds of these Choirs coming from around Roy Thomson Hall.

Kyiv Chamber Choir performances always bring audiences to their feet. Presenting programmes that combine choral works drawn from a rich Ukrainian musical history dating back over 1,000 years, the 21-voice ensemble has earned a world-wide reputation as the foremost proponent of Ukrainian choral music, and has won three Grand Prix awards in European choral competitions. Ukrainian folk music, arranged by the finest contemporary composers, is also a part of the Choir’s dynamic performance, featuring costumes, instruments and choreography. The Kyiv Chamber Choir’s outstanding performances are unlike anything else in the world of music. “This is an ensemble of rare quality, a purveyor of music at its transcendent best”, wrote Bill Richardson in The Georgia Straight after the KCC’s last Canadian visit.

In addition to their touring and concerts, the celebrated Kyiv Chamber Choir has recorded over 30 CDs, featuring the best music of their homeland, delivered with outstanding skill and overwhelming passion. The Kyiv Chamber Choir’s 2009 spring tour (taking place April 22 to May 5) includes Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Kitchener-Waterloo and (for the first time) Victoria B.C. and St. Catharines, Ont.

Platinum Concerts International is a Toronto-based organization whose primary goal is to bring the ‘hidden treasure’ of great Ukrainian choral music to mainstream arts and music audiences in North America. For more details, please visit PCI’s website -

Kyiv Chamber Choir / Mykola Hobdych, conductor

With the Elmer Iseler Singers (Lydia Adams, conductor)

Vesnivka Choir (Halyna Kvitka Kondracki, conductor)

St. Michael’s Choir School (Jerzy Cichocki, conductor)

Roy Thomson Hall – Friday, April 24 at 7:30PM

For tickets: $65, $55, $45 (incl. all sales taxes), please visit

or call the box office at 416-872-4255

Tickets are also available through PCI toll-free at 1-877-266-2557

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30th Anniversary Concert: Elmer Iseler Singers


30th Anniversary Concert

Friday, April 17, 2009 at 7PM

Metropolitan United Church

For Immediate Release – Toronto, March 23, 2009: The Elmer Iseler Singers conclude their 30th anniversary celebrations with a glorious concert entitled CELEBRATE! Founded by the late Dr. Elmer Iseler in 1979, the Elmer Iseler Singers are one of Canada’s most illustrious professional choral ensembles. On Friday, April 17, the celebrated twenty-voice chamber choir shares the stage with mezzo-soprano Andrea Ludwig and EIS guest alumni for an evening of stunning music, all under the direction of Lydia Adams, who also celebrates her 10th anniversary as Artistic Director and Conductor. This salute to the ensemble’s 30 year journey (which has featured Canadian composers, the classics, folk, gospel and the first performance of an opera in Cree, among others) features works by Aaron Copland, Benjamin Britten, Imant Raminsh, Srul Irving Glick, Healy Willan and Arthur Honegger.

“The choir’s mastery of dynamics, attacks and the other paraphernalia of musical expression gives them the broadest possible palette of hue and colour from the palest tint to the most richly saturated hue.” – Chronicle Herald

The legacy of the Elmer Iseler Singers has set standards for all choirs. For 30 years the organization has been a leader of excellence in choral singing, in creation and performance of new works and has led the way in touring, broadcasting, recording and performing throughout the small and large centers of Ontario, Canada and U.S. The Elmer Iseler Singers have recorded extensively and have had a profound impact on the international artistic field, with a discography of over 50 recordings. This has been the backbone of repertoire development for conductors and choirs throughout Ontario, Canada and worldwide. Known for the unique beauty of their sound, the Elmer Iseler Singers bring to life exciting repertoire that spans 500 years of great choral music.

Program: In the Beginning – Aaron Copland

Rejoice in the Lamb – Benjamin Britten

Magnificat – Imant Raminsh

Psalm Elegy – Srul Irving Glick

Lady Motets – Healy Willan

Laudate Dominum (final movement) – Arthur Honegger


30th Anniversary Concert

Featuring Andrea Ludwig, mezzo-soprano & Guest Alumni of the Elmer Iseler Singers

Lydia Adams, conductor

Friday, April 17, 2009 at 7PM

Metropolitan United Church: 56 Queen Street East, Toronto

For tickets ($35 Regular and $30 Seniors/Students), call 416 217-0537

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Classics: Elmer Iseler Singers


Friday, February 13, 2009

Glenn Gould Studio - Toronto (7:00 P.M.)

The Elmer Iseler Singers continue their 30th anniversary celebrations with a splendid concert entitled CLASSICS. Lydia Adams, who also celebrates her 10th anniversary as Artistic Director and Conductor, has designed a programme which highlights the ensemble’s “pure mastery and virtuosity” through J. S. Bach’s rousing Motet BWV 230, Lobet den Herrn and Lutheran Mass #4. The evening also includes the serene Responsorium in Memoriam Annon Lee Silver by British composer John Tavener and Arvo Pärt’s beautiful Berliner Messe. The EIS share the stage with a hand-picked chamber orchestra led by concertmaster Jacques Israelievitch, with the participation of organist Christopher Dawes at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio on Friday, February 13, 2009 at 7:00 P.M.

Lobet den Herrn (Sing to the Lord a New Song) is one J. S. Bach’s famous and beloved six motets. The text comes from the Bible (Psalm 117). His Lutheran Mass #4 (Mass BWV 236 in G major) is one of four Lutheran Masses, which were the standard type of Mass composition to be performed in the Lutheran worship service in Leipzig on high feasts of the church year. Celebrated composer John Tavener (born in 1944), who has been closely linked with religious music, is much admired throughout the world. His best-known (or at least most widely heard) piece is the 'Alleluia' sung at the close of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. Responsorium in Memoriam Annon Lee Silver, composed in 1971, is one of Tavener’s most profound memorial works. Born in 1935 in Estonia, Arvo Pärt is recognized worldwide as one of today’s most significant composers. He has written a succession of magnificent sacred choral works. The Berliner Messe (or Berlin Mass) uses Pärt's tintinnabuli technique (from the Latin, little bells), while at the same time following in form standard mass settings.

This concert will be recorded for future broadcast on 94.1 F.M. CBC Radio Two, Choral Concert, hosted by Peter Togni.

“The Iseler Singers demonstrated at the top of the show just why they are one of the world's great chamber choirs. They sing with a single intent. Their tone is luminous, thrillingly tuned, blended into bloom like the colour of a hybrid rose.” - Stephen Pedersen (Chronicle Herald)


The Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams – conductor

With Orchestra - Jacques Israelievitch, Concert Master; Christopher Dawes, Organist

Friday, February 13, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Glenn Gould Studio – 250 Front Street West, Toronto

For tickets (Reg. $40/ Sen. $35/ Students $10) please call 416-217-0537

Group rates available.

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