Lydia Adams

Lydia (Muriel) Adams. Piano accompanist, choral conductor, arranger, b Glace Bay, NS, 18 May 1953; B MUS (Mount Allison) 1975, B ED (Mount Allison) 1976, ARCM vocal performance 1979, hon D MUS (Mount Allison) 2003. Lydia Adams studied voice and piano at New Brunswick's Mount Allison University, and after graduation moved to London, England, where she attended the Royal College of Music. While in England she was répétiteur for the National Opera Studio, and accompanist for the Bach Choir of London under Sir David Willcocks. Adams won the Sir Adrian Boult Scholarship in conducting in 1980.

Lydia Adams returned to Canada in 1981 and became piano accompanist for the Elmer Iseler Singers that year. In 1984, she also became conductor of the Amadeus Choir of Scarborough. She accompanied the Toronto Children's Chorus and the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus on recordings in 1985 and 1989 respectively, and was also accompanist and assistant conductor of the Ontario Youth Choir 1990-1. She was interim conductor of the Elmer Iseler Singers during Iseler's illness in 1997; the following year she became that choir's conductor and music director.

Other choirs Lydia Adams has conducted include the National Youth Choir of Canada (2002), the Ontario Youth Choir (1992 and 2005) and several other provincial ensembles. She has guest conducted choirs in Canada and the United States.

Lydia Adams has collaborated with many Canadian composers such as Louis Applebaum, Berthold Carrière, Harry Freedman, Srul Irving Glick, Christos Hatzis, R. Murray Schafer, Harry Somers and Ruth Watson Henderson. She is also an arranger of choral music, notably of songs by fellow Nova Scotians Leon Dubinsky and Allister MacGillivray, and has composed other choral works, eg, "Mi'kmaq Honour Song." She edits the Amadeus Choir Choral Series published by Gordon V. Thompson.

Lydia Adams was honoured by the City of Scarborough (1996), the Women's International Network (1997), the Ontario Choral Federation (1996), and Mount Allison University (distinguished alumni award, 2000). In recognition of her contributions to Canadian music, Adams was named a Canadian Music Centre ambassador in 2009.


Everlasting Light. Footprints in new snow. The music of Christos Hatzis. Lydia Adams, cond. Elmer Iseler Singers, Amadeus Chamber Singers. CBC 1156-2

Sing all ye joyful: the works. Ruth Watson Henderson. Lydia Adams, cond. Elmer Iseler Singers. CBC 1162

Puer Natus in Bethlehem, Alleluia! Lydia Adams, cond. Elmer Iseler Singers. CBC 1165

The Maple Leaf Forever: A Canadian Panorama. Elmer Iseler, Lydia Adams, Howard Cable, conds. True North Brass, 1997. ODR 9314

The Christmas Album/Canadian Brass. Lydia Adams, organ. Elmer Iseler Singers, Canadian Brass. Phillips 426835