In a career that spanned five decades, Elmer Iseler proved himself pivotal to the development of choral music in Canada. After founding Canada’s first professional choir in 1954, he became artistic director and conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. In 1979 he established Canada’s leading chamber choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers. He also enjoyed a long association with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducting more than 150 performances of Handel’s Messiah and premiering complex twentieth-century music.
Under his baton, choirs achieved international stature for technical brilliance and artistic versatility. He has, in the estimation of many, created a vibrant, world-class choral infrastructure in Canada.
The most decorated musician in Canada, honoured with many awards nationally and internationally, Iseler has made an impact that will continue undiminished through his many recordings, the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting, and the Elmer Iseler National Graduate Fellowships in Choral Conducting at the University of Toronto.