Photo: Emma Riggle

I am so glad to be part of the team at All Classical Portland. My delightful task is to help provide our hosts with research they can share regarding the cultural and historical context of our music. I find that when I learn about what a piece of music meant to the time and the people that produced it, the music starts to speak to me in a more personal and moving way. I hope that my work helps you find new connections with this music we love.

I hail from Pennsylvania and Ohio, where I earned degrees in voice and music history. I taught university courses in voice and music appreciation before venturing west to the gloriously arts-filled city of Portland.

When I’m not busy researching, you’re likely to find me around our city singing and playing early music, or reading and painting in the cozy home I share with my husband Nathaniel and two spunky rabbits.

Latest blog entries from Emma Riggle:

A Playlist of Chamber Music by Women

This playlist will take you on a whirlwind tour of chamber music by women, with appearances from a few of the brilliant composers who have contributed to the genre. We’ll start with some of the earliest chamber music by women, then travel toward the present day! Along the way, we’ll meet composers from many cultures… More


Celebrating Black Voices in Classical Music

All Classical Portland celebrates the music of Black composers and artists year-round, and this month, we invite you to join us as we take a closer look at the contributions that Black composers and musicians have made to classical music. Let’s meet a few of the artists whose music you’ll hear on the air this month,… More


Heroines of Opera

Since the early days of opera, women composers have given us works with fascinating characters and unique perspectives. From Francesca Caccini’s 1625 opera, La liberazione di Ruggiero, to the latest installments of Shirley J. Thompson’s Heroines of Opera series, this list will explore just a few operas by women from throughout history. In these works,… More


Celebrating Composers Who Emigrated to America

In “Coming to America: Composers Speak Out,” Theodore Wiprud interviewed a group of composers who had emigrated to America. When he asked composed Jin Hi Kim how “being a newcomer in America affected [her] career,” she discussed a unique opportunity for artists to share and collaborate in this multicultural country.  “It is only in America… More


Classical Music Inspired By Young People

Some of classical music’s most charming repertoire has been music for, or about, children. Some classics, like Schumann’s Kinderszenen and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, are familiar favorites with audiences of all ages. In this list, we’ll explore a few familiar children’s pieces, as well as some lesser-known gems inspired by young people.


Champions of Music

This piece is dedicated to the unsung champions of classical music: the friends and encouragers who have come together to help the arts thrive. In this list, we’ll meet arts patrons, composers’ roommates, community leaders, aunts, teachers, choir directors, and letter writers. Each, in their own way, gave the support that was needed for music to… More


Composers at Home

Many people are at home right now – working from home, studying at home, isolating at home. Have you wondered what self-isolation would have looked like for classical composers? Let’s explore some historical images and meet some Composers at Home.


What is Art Song?

Today we call them art songs, but when this specific genre first appeared in the late 18th century, they were simply “songs,” nearly always scored for what is now a classic combination: piano and voice. At the time, the Industrial Revolution was helping to create a new class of music lovers. The new Middle Class… More


Composers on Nature

Countless musicians have been inspired by nature, and many have left us quotations describing their feelings for the natural world. Here is a collection of seven quotes about nature from classical composers, paired with compositions that reflect their love of the natural world.


Seven Instrumental Pieces Inspired by Poetry

“Music and poetry have ever been acknowledg’d Sisters, which walking hand in hand, support each other; As Poetry is the harmony of Words, so Musick is that of Notes; and as Poetry is a Rise above Prose and Oratory, so is Musick the exaltation of Poetry. Both of them may excel apart, but sure they… More


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