Acclaim and Awards

2016 Woman of Distinction, Suburban Life Magazine, "As a woman who has made a difference in DuPage County and is a role model and leader in her field and community."


2014 Tribute Award from Chicago a cappella in recognition of her distinguished contributions to the field of choral music in the Chicago area and around the world, as a conductor, teacher, singers, clinician, mentor, and colleague


2013 ASCAP Award from Chorus America for Adventurous Programming with ANIMA


2010 Honorary National Membership in Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, given by Oak Park, IL chapter


2009 Dale Warland Singers Commissioning Award for Nico Muhly's How Soon? with ANIMA and Grammy award-winning chamber ensemble, eighth blackbird


2008 Margaret Hillis Award for Artistic Excellence given by Chorus America for work with ANIMA


2000 ASCAP Award from Chorus America for Adventurous Programming with ANIMA


1999 YWCA Outstanding Woman Leader, Arts and Culture, DuPage County


“Anima and its conductor, Emily Ellsworth, set the artistic standard for every choir of young singers in America! Their flawless singing, brilliant presence and completely engaged faces instantly bring the music to life."  

Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Dir of Choral Activities Emer, UMich, Testimonial

"Together, Emily and ANIMA grew a deep culture of caring and a 21st century ensemble of artistic distinction....recognized nationally and internationally as a vibrant, thoughtful, deeply intelligent, educationally committed, artistically innovative and socially responsible chorus of distinction. It doesn't get much better than that."

Dr. Doreen Rao, AD Emerita, ANIMA; U of Toronto, Emerita, Testimonial

"I happened to hear ANIMA sing for the Michigan ACDA conference recently. Apart from the artful, well-conceived singing; apart from the tremendous attention to programming and cohesiveness; the most pwerful aspect of their performance was the JOY-FULLness on each singer's face and in the freedom of movement in the body. When young people are fully free to be expressive of their inner spirit, one understands the confidence, self-knowledge, and sense of purpose will carry far into their lives. Brilliant."

Dr. Sandra Snow, Prof. Choral Conducting/Mus Ed, MSU, Testimonial

"It is a testament to the leadership of this ensemble (ANIMA), and its director Emily Ellsworth - encouraging them to engage as children while prsenting themselves in a professional manner - that our collaborations have been brilliant successes....They sing wonderfully and with the highest musical standards."

Dr. Donald Nally, Dir of Choral Activities, Northwestern Uni, Testimonial

"Congratulations to ANIMA on your 50th anniversary - five decades of sterling service to vocal music and to the advancement of young lives in this noble art. Everyone you have touched is profoundly grateful. Thank you!"

Duain Wolfe, Director, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Testimonial

"Thanks again for your work with the kids...(who) were flawless. Always impeccable intonation, attentive, never a doubt where to sing or how. That's how a children's choir works."

Carlos Kalmar, Artistic Dir, Grant Park Music Festival, Testimonial

"I thought the kids were fantastic, so responsive and disciplined and with a real sense of enjoyment. Thank you for all your hard work."

Nicholas Kraemer, Music of the Baroque, Chicago, Testimonial

"As for your performance, I, along with all the members of the Lakeside Singers, was blown away by the musicality of your group. Difficult music was performed with care, discipline, and beauty of tone resulting in a level of performance that can only be described as 'world class.'"

Robert Bowker, Founding Director, Lakeside Singers, Testimonial

"Your rendition of How Can I Keep from Singing is wonderful. Just wonderful! Perfect, in fact!"

Gwyneth Walker, composer, Testimonial

"Under the direction of Emily Ellsworth, the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus sing with a depth of emotion that reaches into the soul of everyone lucky enough to experience their sound and their magic."

Nick Page, composer, Testimonial

"Thank you so much (for) the marvelous premiere performance you gave Songs Eternity! ....I was extremely impressed with the musicianship of your singers. You should be so proud of all that you and they have accomplished."

Stephen Paulus, composer, Testimonial

"It is wonderful and very touching to listen to your wonderful choir singing Libertango! And my dear Emily, you are an excellent musician...."

Oscar Escalada, composer, Testimonial

"I have admired your work with young singers for a number of years. You and your choirs are an inspiration to choirs and conductors all over the world."

Pam Schneller, Assoc Dean, Sch of Music, Vanderbilt Univ, Testimonial

"My heartiest congratulations to you on your delightful interest session at the ACDA Central Division it turned out, your session was among the highlights of the convention for me...a reminder of what music is all about as well as a glimpse of a masterful teacher at work."

Dr. John Jost, Prof of Music, Dir of CA, Bradley University, Testimonial

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for singing my piece so beautifully. I can't imagine better performances than the ones I heard at Carnegie Hall and Riverside Church. You are 'Truly Great'!  (ANIMA commission for National ACDA)

Wayland Rogers, composer, Testimonial

"I just have to tell you that I have never been more excited by a concert than I was by yours....We are truly blessed to have someone like you shaping the next generation of choral singers. Thank you!"

Ruth Sieber Johnson, ED, Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity, Testimonial
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