Composer and conductor, Dr. Emerson Eads has devoted himself to music of social concern. His Mass for the Oppressed, a setting of the Ordinary of the Mass featuring textual interpolations by his brother Evan Eads, and a Credo adapted from the diary of Pope Francis before his ordination, holds particular poignancy for the social issues of our time. The Mass was written for the release of the Fairbanks Four (native Alaskan’s from the composer’s home town) who spent 18 years in prison wrongfully. His newest cantata “…from which your laughter rises.” for mezzo-soprano, oboe, and orchestra, was written for the mothers of the Fairbanks Four, and was paired in a concert featuring Haydn’s Stabat Mater, conducted to acclaim. His newest opera, The Princess Sophia, about the sinking of the SS Princess Sophia in October of 1918, will be premiered in Juneau, Alaska in October 25th, 2018. Dr. Eads studied choral conducting with Carmen-Helena Tellez at the University of Notre Dame working with eminent choral conductors such as, Joseph Flummerfelt, Stephen Cleobury, Anne Howard Jones, and Peter Phillips among others. He studied composition with Alaskan composer John Luther Adams.
Eads released his first album, Mass for the Oppressed, in the summer of 2017. It features his arrangement of the spiritual, He's Got The Whole World In His Hands, his own setting of the De Profundis, and the title work, with internationally acclaimed soloists, Tess Altiveros, Toby Newman, Barry Banks, David Miller, Jaunelle Celaire, and Emorja Roberson. The live concert recording was produced by Grammy-winning Five Four Productions.
Eads just recently released his newest cantata "...from which your laughter rises." written for the mothers of those wrongfully accused. This work for chorus, orchestra, piano and oboe, featured Grammy-winning oboist Thomas C. Moore and mezzo soprano, Toby Newman.
His song cycle, Robinsonade with poetry written by Patrick Milian, will be premiered in the fall of 2017 by internationally acclaimed lyric tenor, Barry Banks, for whom it was composed. His newest song cycle for soprano, Arwen Myers, and mezzo soprano, Laura Thoreson, The Gleaners, also by poet Patrick Millian, will be premiered in Portland in November 2018.
Opera Fairbanks commissioned Eads to write, Homeland, a cantata for orchestra, mixed choir, and soloists for the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Alaska's Statehood with Vivica Genaux, conducted by Gregory Buchalter. His compositions have been performed at the National Saxophone Conference, by Dr Jun Watabe, also by the BBC brass, University of Iceland Reykjavik's Choir, the University of Alaska's Choir of the North, and by the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra.
Eads' Song of the Sikuliaq, a song for mezzo-soprano and orchestra commissioned for the dedication of the newly built Research Vessel Sikuliaq, was debuted in the Fall of 2012 with mezzo-soprano, Marlene Bateman, and the Arctic Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Eduard Zilberkant.
In March of 2014, Opera Fairbanks commissioned him to write The Color of Gold, his first opera, with a libretto by Cassandra Tilly. He conducted the premiere to a rave review in Opera magazine. Music critic Mike Dunham declared it one of the musical high points of 2014 in the Alaska Dispatch News.
Starting in 2012 he was hired as the chorus master and founding director of the Fairbanks Symphony Chorus. In the fall of 2014 he became the founding director the Fairbanks Symphony Children's Chorus, and served as chorus master for numerous Opera Fairbanks productions.