Liza Calisesi Maidens, DMA is the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to her appointment at UIC, she was a member of the conducting faculty at Eastern Michigan University from 2015-2021, where she conducted EMU Vision (formerly Women’s Choir), EMU Voces, and EMU Express. Most recently, EMU Vision was invited to perform at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Michigan Conference and was the featured chorus in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s French Fest performance of Debussy’s Nocturnes at Orchestra Hall.
Dr. Calisesi Maidens received her DMA in Choral Conducting at Michigan State University. While at MSU, she served as a Graduate Fellow for the Residential College for Arts and Humanities, which contributes to the scholarship of teaching and learning in the areas of the arts, humanities, and community engagement. Her research centers around the expansion of the choral canon. In March of 2021, Liza co-presented her research session, “Reconsider the Canon: bringing the past to the present,” at the National ACDA Conference. Her doctoral research, “20th-century British Commissions and the Democratization of Music,” highlights two treble choral-orchestral works by Imogen Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams, commissioned by the two largest women’s organizations in Britain.
Dr. Calisesi Maidens serves as a board committee member for mirabai, a professional ensemble led by Sandra Snow to enhance the artistic expectations of women’s choral singing. She has served on the board for Michigan-ACDA and is an active guest conductor, clinician, and presenter. Liza has sung professionally with the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, mirabai, and sounding light.
Liza is grateful for all of her teachers and mentors - especially David Rayl, Sandra Snow, Jonathan Reed, Joe Miller, Amanda Quist, Steve Pilkington, Mark Babcock, and Brandon Johnson. She holds degrees from Michigan State University (DMA), Westminster Choir College (MM), Central College (BA).