Elmer Iseler Singers

Elmer Iseler Singers


The first full length Canadian CD on the prestigious international record label – ECM new series, Manfred Eicher, producer.

LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH by Nova Scotian composer Peter Togni, with Nova Scotian virtuoso bass clarinetist/improviser – Jeff Reilly, and Canada’s Elmer Iseler Singers.


Peter-Anthony Togni’s “Lamentatio Jeremiah Prophetae” is an innovative and multi-faceted work; melodic, exploratory, passionate, and soulful. Since its premiere in Toronto in April of 2007, Lamentations has been performed 9 times throughout Nova Scotia and Ontario. It was recorded in Nova Scotia in 2008 and released on the prestigious label ECM Records in November of 2009.

Lamentations is a deeply moving piece based on ancient texts, but resonating deeply with our own time. The work is based on the sayings of the biblical prophet Jeremiah, whose heart-rending life and true prophesies of dire warning went largely unheeded by those he sought to warn. It is an exploration of grief, atonement, despair and finally, hope.

The Elmer Iseler Singers, conducted by Cape Breton born Artistic Director Lydia Adams, is a 20-voice professional chamber choir based in Toronto, Canada. Founded by the late Dr. Elmer Iseler in 1979, it is one of Canada’s most illustrious professional choral ensembles.

Nova Scotian Jeff Reilly has an international reputation as an innovative master of the bass clarinet. The pure emotional accessibility of his rich, lyrical style often masks a remarkable control over a complex arsenal of extended techniques, as well as total mastery over an extended range of the instrument. He plays with the precision of gesture and clarity of focus that blurs any simple distinctions between improvisation and composition, and does so with a musicality and sensitivity that reminds us that such distinctions are moot.

Nova Scotian Peter-Anthony Togni’s music is spiritual in conception, deeply felt and contemplative in its nature. Togni’s music has been heard everywhere from Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall, the Moscow Conservatory, the Oriental Arts Centre in Shanghai, to the Vatican in Rome for His Holiness Pope John Paul II. His music is broadcast regularly in Canada on the CBC, as well as internationally, including on the BBC, Classic FM, Deutsche Wella and Radio France.

The choir has built an enviable international reputation through its concerts, broadcasts and more than 50 recordings. Known for its unique beauty of sound, the Elmer Iseler Singers bring to life an exciting repertoire that spans 500 years of great choral music. The choir regularly commissions and performs new works. It is featured at national and international festivals.

The Singers are highly valued for their contributions to master classes and educational leadership workshops for schools and community choirs. From 1997 to 2007 the EIS was the professional Choir-In-Residence through the Elmer Iseler Chair at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. For three decades, the organization has been a leader in excellence of choral singing, in creation and performance of new works and in touring, broadcasting, recording and performing throughout the small and large centres of Ontario, Canada and U.S.

The Elmer Iseler Singers often collaborate with Soundstreams Canada, the Canadian Brass, the Toronto Symphony, Nexus, Tapestry New Opera Works in the Toronto Luminato Festival, Ontario Music Festivals and in September 2010 with Peter Togni and Jeff Reilly at the Guelph Jazz Festival. The choir continues its dedication to collaborating with various local, national and international organizations.

November 14, 2009 marked the Toronto launch of the newest CD on the prestigious international record label – ECM, Mannfred Eicher, producer of Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH by Canadian composer Peter Togni, with virtuoso bass clarinetist/improviser – Jeff Reilly, soprano Rebecca Whelan and Canada’s Elmer Iseler Singers with Lydia Adams, conductor. This is a CANADIAN FIRST – first work by Canadian composer, first Canadian soloist and/or ensemble and first Canadian conductor to appear on the ECM Record Label.


Lydia Adams, Artistic Director/Conductor (1998-present)

Elmer Iseler Singers - Lydia Adams, conductor; composer Peter Togni;
Bass Clarinet Soloist/Improviser - Jeff Reilly; Soprano Soloist- Rebecca Whelan;
Canadian Release: 2008 ECM New Series - 4763629 (International Release: 2010)
A CANADIAN FIRST: first work by Canadian composer, first Canadian soloist and/or ensemble and first Canadian conductor to appear on an international ECM Record Label.

Canadian Brass - Lydia Adams, Conductor - Elmer Iseler Singers - John Tuttle - Organist
2006. Opening Day Recordings. ODR 7337

TOKAIDO - The Choral Music of Harry Freedman
Lydia Adams, Conductor - Elmer Iseler Singers - Aeolian Winds - Amadeus Chamber Singers
Toronto Children's Chorus, Jean Ashworth Bartlle Conductor - Robin Engelman - Rob Piltch -
Dave Young
2006 Centrediscs / Centredisques - Canadian Music Centre CMCCD 11206

Featuring choral music of Ruth Watson Henderson;
Elmer Iseler Singers - Lydia Adams, Conductor
2004 CBC Records MVCD 1167
Nominated for Juno Award 2004

New arrangements of Piae Contiones plainsong melodies by various Canadian composers - featuring: Elmer Iseler Singers - Lydia Adams, conductor - Composers - Eleanor Daley, Derek Holman, Alexander Tilley, Stephen Chatman, Lydia Adams, Donald Patriquin, Eric Robertson, R.W. Henderson, Christos Hatzis, Peter Togni, Mark Sirett, Berthold Carrière, Graeme Wearmouth.
2003. CBC . MVCD 1165
Nominated for Juno Award 2003

INTIMATE – Various Folk Tunes
Featuring Soprano - Eleanor McCain; Elmer Iseler Singers (20); Lydia Adams, cond.
2003 – Private Label – Rob Lanni, producer

Featuring music by Christos Hatzis - - Lydia Adams, conductor
Elmer Iseler Singers - Amadeus Chamber Singers
2002. CBC Records. MVCD 1156-2 - 2 CD set
Nominated for Juno Award 2002

unrecorded choral works of Harry Somers featuring: Elmer Iseler Singers - Lydia Adams, conductor; Ruth Watson Henderson, pianist
2001 Centrediscs / Centredisques - Canadian Music Centre CMCCD 7101 -

THE MAPLE LEAF FOREVER – A Canadian Panorama - traditional and contemporary Canadian songs featuring Elmer Iseler Singers - Lydia Adams, conductor - True North Brass - piano Sandra Fan harp, and Recorded at St. Anne's Anglican Church, Toronto – Nov. 1997.
1998 Opening Day Recordings ODR 9314 -

The Stratford Music of Louis Applebaum; Music arranged and conducted by Glenn Morley, with The Elmer Iseler Singers, Richard Margison, Christopher Plummer, Craig Ashton, Juan Chioran, Colm Feore, Barbara Fulton, Richard Monette and Steve Ross
1999 Marquis Classics 7747 181269 2

Elmer Iseler, Founder and Artistic Director/Conductor (1979-1998)

Bartok Three Village Scenes
Canadian Chamber Ens, Armenian cond. 1981. CBC SM-5014

Celebration: The Lutheran Year, The Mystery of the Incarnation in the Music of Victoria
Rain narr.1983. CBC SM-5025C

Freedman Pastorale L. Cherney hn. 1982. Centrediscs CMC-0983
Glick Northern Sketches
Kuerti pf, Kaplan vn, Bogyo vc. (1989). 4-ACM 34 (CD)

Handel The Electronic Messiah
‘Synthescope’ Digital Synthesizer Ens. 1982. MMG D-MMG-113

‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ and Other Great Bach Choruses
Wright org, Mainly Mozart O.1984 CBC SM-5042C/ (‘Sheep May Safely Graze’) CBC BHSCD-300 (CD)

Musical Toronto: A Concert Party
Landry sop, Dubois ten, Lohnes bar, Campbell cl, L. Cherney ob, instr ens, Beckwith cond. 1984. Marquis MAR-104

Music at Sharon
Instr ens, Beckwith cond. 1981. RCI 554/MEL SMLP-4041/(Three Motets on Swan’s ‘China’) 5-ACM 26

Spectra: Ford - Morawetz - Somers
1981. Centrediscs CMC-0281/ RCI 564/ (Morawetz)
6-ACM 16

Premiere: Prevost Ahimsa
(Graham mezzo, Aitken fl, Orford Str Quar) - Schafer Sun. 1984. 2-Centredisca
CMC-14-1584/RCI 585/(Prevost) 6-ACM 28

Loree sop, Missen ten, Lohnes bass, Adams pf. 1985. Marquis ERA-115

Serenade in Harmony: Zbinden - Willan - Brahms - Strauss
With Netherlands Chamber Choir. (1984). 2-Wat WR-8028-29
Winner of the Grand Prix de Disque-Canada 1985.
Nominated for JUNO Award - Canada 1985

Somers Sacred and Profane Somers
Roslak sop, Kern mezzo, Cooper alto, Missen ten, Lohnes bass, Cadan bass, chamb orch. 1985. Centrediscs CMC-2385

Welcome Yule!:
Holman - Whitehead - Davies - Clarke - Beckwith - Bellefeuille - Willan - Watson - Anderson - Cable - Robertson - Applebaum - Washburn - Carriere - Iseler - Somers.
Toronto Brass Society. 1986. CBC SM-5055
Nominated for Juno Award 1986

Joyful Sounds Canadian Brass
Featuring Elmer Iseler and The Festival Singers. Douglas Hass org.
A tribute to Dr. Elmer Iseler (192