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:

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

Classical Music to Welcome Spring

There’s a rich assortment of music about springtime in the classical repertoire, ranging from Schumann’s Spring Symphony Op.38, to Beethoven’s “Spring” Violin Sonata Op.24 (not that Beethoven himself ever called it a “Spring” Sonata), to Vivaldi’s perennially popular (pun definitely intended) violin concerto, “Spring” from The Four Seasons. In fact, there’s so much classical music… More

Nine Black Women Who Changed Opera Forever

In this list, we’ll celebrate some of the great Black opera singers who have passed on into history, and paved the way for Black artists who are still with us. Their stories and recordings are a treasure for listeners and an epiphany for vocalists.

The Stories of Twelve Famous Carols

When it comes to traditional Christmas carols, separating history from legend can be as tricky as detangling holly and ivy. Looking forward to our Festival of Carols, which will run from 7PM on December 21 through December 25, we’d like to share some of the true stories behind our favorite carols.