50 Mainers Shaping the State

50 Mainers Shaping the State

“I resist the sterile way in which we experience classical music in the twentieth and twenty-first century. I want to return classical music to its natural habitat, which is social and weaved in to people’s everyday life,” Isaacson says. Another goal of the festival is to draw people to Portland who will boost the local economy. “Entrepreneurship is a core part of the Maine spirit, and it’s in the arts, too,” she says. “You just need to work really hard and have a great idea.”

Read More

Meditation and Grandeur in Handel's Messiah

 Meditation and Grandeur in Handel's Messiah

Isaacson brought together the large forces of the Oratorio Chorale, at full strength, and an expert chamber orchestra of players from the rosters of the Portland Symphony Orchestra and other groups. The choir was at the top of its game here. Without exception, its singing was solid, tight and texturally transparent, and whether Handel demanded vigor or introspection, the choir delivered it with admirable precision. And the orchestra, though playing modern instruments, produced a tight, focused sound that had the incisive edge of a period instrument group.

Read More

Love Maine Radio interviews Dr. Emily Isaacson

Love Maine Radio interviews Dr. Emily Isaacson

"I got access to these musicians that were like in another stratosphere of creativity. Because I had this solo, and because the piece was quite complex, I had a number of private coaching sessions with June Hahn (harpist) and Jeff Milarsky (conductor). I have such vivid memories of....working together, and feeling like I was part of art in a way I had never experienced before, that I was part of something transformative for myself, and also expressive of something so much greater than the three people in this room and the little town of Brunswick.

Read More

Radio New Zealand

Radio New Zealand

Can you imagine listening to Bach in a bowling alley? What about in a beer hall with raucous people sitting around you? 

Listening to Bach outside the traditional concert hall environment is what the Portland (Maine) Bach Festival is all about, and while it might not be for everyone, it's attracting new people to classical music.

Festival Co-founder Emily Issacson says it’s about establishing connections between the old and new

Read More

PORTLAND BACH FESTIVAL MAKES CLASSICAL MUSIC COOL

PORTLAND BACH FESTIVAL MAKES CLASSICAL MUSIC COOL

When people come into Bayside Bowl, they will receive a menu. One side lists the food and beverages that are available, and the other side offers a menu of musical options. “You can watch Brandenburg Concerto #3 from the second-floor balcony, hear a double choir motet performed from opposite lanes or watch the sunset from the rooftop deck as you enjoy the Double Violin Concerto,” Isaacson said.

Read More

Multi-Media American Spirituals Concert

Maine-based Oratorio Chorale will accompany a world-renowned countertenor in a concert production called “Amazing Grace: The American Spiritual.” The multimedia performances are designed to convey how the music helps to tell the story of the nation itself.

Isaacson says she wants audiences to experience the connection between the music and how it has been shaped by changes in American society and religion.

SWEETEST IN THE GALE’S BAROQUE BEAUTIES

SWEETEST IN THE GALE’S BAROQUE BEAUTIES

Director Emily Isaacson has a knack for choosing scores that perfectly illustrate her concert titles, in this case “Beauties of the Baroque,” and that offer something to every member of the audience. The choir she has founded and coached is little short of phenomenal, and her choice of soloists, Mary Sullivan, soprano, and Jenna Guiggey, alto, complements it very well.

Read More