Emily Richmond Pollock
Associate Professor

Emily Richmond Pollock is an Associate Professor of Music. A native Oregonian, Pollock was first trained as an oboist and composer and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Harvard College in 2006. She subsequently earned her M.A. (2008) and Ph.D. (2012) in music history and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Through a series of case studies on operas by Boris Blacher, Hans Werner Henze, Carl Orff, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann, her dissertation, “Opera after Stunde Null,” explored the broad range of possibilities for new opera composition in West Germany following the end of World War II. The expanded book version, currently under review, foregrounds questions of institutional history, reception, and architecture as they pertain to the reconstruction of operatic life in the post-war era. Archival research for the project in Stuttgart, Berlin, Basel, Munich, Mainz, and Kassel was supported by fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Paul Sacher Stiftung, and the Class of 1947 at MIT. Pollock’s most recent work in her subfield includes "Pride of Place: The 1963 Rebuilding of the Bayerische Staatsoper," an essay on the reconstructed opera house in Munich; "Opera by the Book: Defining Music Theater in the Third Reich and After," an article draft about modern German opera canons at the end of the Third Reich; and an article on Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s 1965 opera Die Soldaten, published in the Opera Quarterly issue “Opera and the Avant-Garde” and accompanied by a set of original English translations of the composer’s essays.
Pollock’s research interests include opera from the bel canto era to the present, twentieth-century concert music, and the politics of musical style. Methodologically, she has focused particularly on the historicization of modernist aesthetic value and a critical reappraisal of source studies. She has recently begun to map out a new project on the institutional history and aesthetics of opera festivals. Her most recent talks have been at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Ohio State University, the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, and the First Transnational Opera Studies Conference in Bologna. Other venues at which Pollock has presented her research include CUNY and Harvard, the German Studies Association (2012, 2013), the International Conference on Music Since 1900 (2011, 2013), the national meeting of the American Musicological Society (2010, 2013); topics conferences on Germany, opera, music and the written word, music notation, Giuseppe Verdi, voice and affect, and electroacoustic music; and symposia in Basel, Dresden, and Graz. With her colleague Anicia Timberlake, she organized an international conference in September 2011 on the topic of Music in Divided Germany. Pollock has also published a review essay concerning “radical” stagings of Mozart’s comic operas in Salzburg.
Pollock joined Music and Theater Arts in 2012 and teaches the introductory Western music survey (21M.011) and courses on opera, the twentieth century, and the symphonic repertoire. She has served as a Burchard Faculty Fellow and as an advisor to freshmen and music concentrators. She remains an active amateur oboist, performing with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, the Mercury Orchestra, and the Boston Chamber Symphony.
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