Emily Richmond Pollock is an Associate Professor of Music. First trained as an oboist and composer, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Harvard in 2006. She subsequently earned her M.A. (2008) and Ph.D. (2012) in music history and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Her first book, Opera after the Zero Hour: The Problem of Tradition and the Possibility of Renewal in Postwar West Germany, was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Paul Sacher Stiftung, and the Class of 1947 at MIT.
Pollock’s articles include “Damage and Renewal at the Württembergische Staatstheater, Stuttgart,” in Twentieth-Century Music (2022), “Pride of Place: The 1963 Rebuilding of the Munich Nationaltheater,” in Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries from the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor, ed. Tom Irvine and Neil Gregor (Berghahn Books, 2018); “Opera by the Book: Defining Music Theater in the Third Reich,” in the Journal of Musicology (2018), which was awarded the Kurt Weill Prize for distinguished scholarship in music theater since 1900; and an article on Bernd Alois Zimmermann's 1965 opera Die Soldaten, published in the 2014 Opera Quarterly issue “Opera and the Avant-Garde.” She has also written for the New York Times and Naxos Musicology International, and was interviewed for the New Yorker in 2022 with collaborator Kira Thurman from the University of Michigan.
Pollock’s research focuses particularly on conservatism, the historicization of modernist musical value, operatic institutions, and the relationship between modern musical style and convention. Her current research project, “Opera on Uncommon Ground,” is a fieldwork-based investigation of the institutional history and aesthetics of five American opera festivals.
Pollock has published several book reviews and a review essay of the 2006 stagings of Mozart’s comic operas in Salzburg. She greatly enjoys presenting her work at conferences and colloquia. In addition, with Anicia Timberlake, she organized an international conference on the topic of Music in Divided Germany. In 2020, she worked with Lisa Jakelski and Caitlin Schmid to co-organize a conference on Music Festival Studies.
Pollock joined Music and Theater Arts in 2012 and regularly teaches 21M.011 Introduction to Western Music and courses on opera, the twentieth century, and the symphonic repertoire, as well as the Advanced Seminar for music majors. She is currently the music major advisor and has served in the past as a Burchard Faculty Fellow and as an advisor to first-years and music concentrators. She remains an active amateur oboist, performing with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra and the Mercury Orchestra. She lives in Belmont with her partner Andy, her son Jonah, and their two rabbits, Figaro and Rigoletto (Figgy and Riggy).