Emily R. Pollock is the Class of 1947 Career Development Professor and an Assistant 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.
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 aesthetic value and a critical reappraisal of source studies. Venues at which she has presented or will present her research include 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 opera, music and the written word, music notation, and Giuseppe Verdi; and symposia in Basel, Dresden, and Graz. Archival research in Berlin, Basel, Munich, Mainz, and Kassel was supported by fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Paul Sacher Stiftung. With her colleague Anicia Timberlake, she organized an international conference in September 2011 on the topic of Music in Divided Germany.
At MIT, Pollock teaches the introductory Western music survey (21M.011) and topics courses on opera and the symphonic repertoire. She also serves as an advisor to freshmen and to music concentrators. As the principal oboist of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra and co-principal oboist of the Mercury Orchestra, she remains active as an amateur performer.