Emily Isaacson

Affiliation: Music
Teaching Associate in Music

Dr. Emily Isaacson is a conductor fiercely committed to reimagining classical music for today’s audience. She is founder and artistic director of Classical Uprising, a performing arts company that believes classical music must rise up, challenge current norms, and re-envision where, how, and for whom we are making music. Classical Uprising serves over 5,000 musicians and music-lovers through its programs Oratorio Chorale, a symphonic chorus and professional orchestra, Portland Bach Experience, a series of immersive music festivals, and Horizon Voices, a youth choral program for singers K-12. One of only a handful of female conductors (and moms) in the country, Isaacson was named the 2018 Maine Artist of the Year by the Maine Arts Commission, one of 50 Mainers Leading the State by Maine Magazine, and the 2018 face of Maine’s Women’s Work. In 2008 Isaacson helped to launch Roomful of Teeth, a GRAMMY-winning new vocal music ensemble, and in 2015 and 2018 won third place in the American Prize in Choral Conducting. 

She has taught at Clark University, Bowdoin College, and the University of Illinois. A St. Andrews Society Scholar, Isaacson holds a masters degree in musicology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; a masters degree in conducting from the University of Oregon; and a doctorate in conducting from the University of Illinois. She lives in Portland, ME with her husband, daughter, and son. 


Office Hours (Gibson 206):

Thursdays, 5:00 - 6:30 pm

Emily Issacson headshot


  • DMA, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • MM, University of Oregon
  • MM, University of Edinburgh
  • BA, Williams College