Lydia Adams

Associate Professor
Director - Western University Singers
Office: TC 419
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x83742

Winner of the prestigious Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (2013) and the Roy Thompson Hall Award of Recognition (Toronto Arts Foundation Awards 2012) for recognition of her outstanding achievements and contributions to arts and culture, Lydia Adams is Artistic Director and Conductor of the renowned Elmer Iseler Singers and the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto. An Ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre, she has been hailed by the CMC as “the new leading exponent of the Canadian choral composer”. Ms. Adams is a national leader in the commissioning, premièring, performing and recording of Canadian choral works, with an extensive discography. She has conducted complete recordings of the works of Canadian composers Christos Hatzis, Harry Freedman, Ruth Watson Henderson and Harry Somers, among many featuring the work of Canadian composers.

Under her direction, her choirs have received national awards for innovation and excellence. Her choirs also perform regularly with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and her collaborations have included working with many esteemed musicians, including Sir David Willcocks, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bramwell Tovey, Bernard Labadie and Peter Oundjian, among many.

A native of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Ms. Adams received her musical education at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, with post graduate studies at the Royal College of Music in Piano, Voice, Collaborative Piano, and Conducting (Winner, Sir Adrian Boult Conducting Award), and the National Opera Studio, London, England. In 2000, she received the Mount Allison University Charles Frederick Allison Distinguished Alumni Award, and in 2003, she received an Honorary Doctor of Music from Mount Allison for her service to music in Canada. An accomplished pianist, Ms. Adams served as accompanist for 17 years with the Elmer Iseler Singers under the baton of Dr. Elmer Iseler and worked as a collaborative pianist and coach. She has toured extensively, and has guest conducted throughout Canada and the United States including several Provincial Youth Choirs and the National Youth Choir of Canada, and premièred and toured the world’s first Cree opera, Pimooteewin: The Journey, by Tomson Highway and Melissa Hui. Ms. Adams has presented over 40 new commissions in the past 10 years. A published composer/arranger, Ms. Adams’ works are performed internationally.

Most recently, Ms. Adams was a co-recipient of the Parks Canada CEO Award for Excellence (2016) for her collaboration on the music drama presentation The Bells of Baddeck (Lorna MacDonald, Dean Burry) and is honoured to have been appointed as Visiting Associate Professor in choral studies at the Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University, commencing in the fall of 2016.