Dr. Elizabeth MacIsaac
Elizabeth is the founder and Artistic Director of Ensemble Laude. She hails from Victoria, Canada, where she was trained both as a pianist and vocalist. After graduate studies in musicology at the University of Victoria, Elizabeth’s love of Early Music took her to England and then France, for six years, where she toured as a soprano soloist and taught school choirs.
Upon her return to Canada in 1996, she joined the music faculty of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and Brentwood College School in Mill Bay. Her ensembles at Brentwood College achieved provincial and national accolades. Ensemble Laude and her sister choir Encanta won first and second prize at Kathaumixw in 2012. In the same year, MacIsaac was awarded the BCCF Herbert Drost Award for ‘Distinguished service and support of choral music in BC’.
Profoundly committed to new music projects, MacIsaac has had the pleasure of commissioning and premiering numerous new compositions by contemporary composers, including Victor Zupanc, Dorothy Chang, Linda Bouchard, Sarah Quartel, Kathleen Allen, Nicholas Fairbank, Andrea Young, David Loeb, Hyo-Shin Na and John Abram, among many others. Elizabeth was Assistant Conductor for the University Chorale at the University of Washington in Seattle where she completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting (April 2018) under Giselle Wyers and Geoffrey Boers.
The Canadian University Women’s Organization awarded Elizabeth their Massey Scholarship to work on her doctoral dissertation which unearths many unknown motets for women’s voices from the Ursuline Archives of Quebec. In November of 2017, Elizabeth was again honoured by the BCCF, becoming this year’s recipient of the Amy Ferguson award. This award is given to an outstanding choral director who is also an excellent vocal teacher fostering superior vocal practice.
Carolyn Howe is Ensemble Laude’s Associate Director. While Elizabeth MacIsaac was undertaking her doctorate in Choral Conducting in Seattle at the University of Washington (now completed), Carolyn would lead rehearsals every other week in Victoria. Carolyn Howe brings her talent as a director, warm personality, and beautiful singing voice to the choir.
Carolyn Howe received her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Victoria, and has long been an active member of Victoria’s music community. In 2006, Carolyn joined Hexaphone, a collaborative chamber ensemble of six voices, specializing in unaccompanied repertoire sung one voice to a part. Highlights of her work with Hexaphone included performing in the Victoria Symphony New Currents Festival of Music, at the Voice ++ Festival at Open Space, premiering BC 150 Project: Five Songs For BC, and winning the Elmer Iseler Prize in 2012 at the International Choral Kathaumixw.
From 2006-2014, Carolyn was choral director of the Mood Swing Chorus for the Friends of Music Society, a partnership program for people with mental illness and members of the wider community. In addition, she is recognized as an outstanding children’s music educator. Since 2005 Carolyn has been the music teacher at South Park Elementary, a fine-arts-focused school in Victoria, where she teaches a general music program, and directs two award-winning children’s choirs.
Photo Credits: Ute Muller © 2013, 2014