From the Heart #300

We all have had experiences that push us to go beyond what we know in our daily lives. Today we speak with Dr. Emily Isaacson, the artistic director of the Oratorio Chorale and Maine Chamber Ensemble, about her unique commitment to music and how she came to make her life’s choices. We also explore ideas of grief in childhood, with psychologist Dr. Mary Plouffe, author of the memoir I Know It in My Heart.


Dr. Emily Isaacson

Dr. Emily Isaacson serves as the director of choral activities at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the artistic director of the Oratorio Chorale and Maine Chamber Ensemble, a symphonic chorus and professional orchestra in Maine. Considered a dynamic emerging leader, in 2015 she was awarded third place for the American Prize in Performing Arts, Choral Conducting. In 2008 Isaacson helped to start Roomful of Teeth, a Grammy-winning new vocal music ensemble, and in 2016 Isaacson joined faculty from the Juilliard School to launch the Portland Bach Festival, a professional festival celebrating the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Isaacson is known for forging a magnetic rapport with audience members and creating inspiring musical experience in both familiar and progressive formats that help listeners bridge the musical traditions of the past with the cultural gems of today. Emily lives in Portland with her husband, three-year old daughter, and one-year old son.

Mary Plouffe, Ph.D

Mary Plouffe, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist who received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut. She also holds a master’s degree from Boston University in rehabilitation counseling. She has been in private practice in greater Portland for 35 years, working with both adults and children. She was on the faculty of Maine Medical Center’s General Psychiatry Residency program for 14 years, teaching courses on adult psychotherapy, objects relations theory and practice, and models of child clinical supervision, and held an adjunct faculty post at University of Vermont Medical School. She is a fellow and past president of the Maine Society of Forensic Psychologists, past president of the Maine Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and served two terms on the Maine Board of Examiners of Psychologists. She was a longtime member and president of the Board of the Collaborative School, a private therapeutic setting for youngsters with behavioral, emotional, and autism spectrum disorders, and has served on the executive committee of the Maine Psychological Association. She has consulted with K-12 public and private schools throughout southern Maine, and provided expert witness testimony to courts throughout the state. Her memoir, I Know It in My Heart: Walking Through Grief with a Child, is forthcoming in May 2017, and she is currently working on a book of essays on listening.