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Emily Howe is an American ethnomusicologist, conductor, and music educator who through her research and practice explores music and sound as a lens into global history and culture, as well as a means of catalyzing social change in diverse contexts.
Emily's dissertation examines the politics of development and social change in contemporary Cambodia through analysis of music and dance practices. Based on historical and ethnographic research with diverse actors including government officials, community activists, spirit mediums, and pop stars, the project considers the shifting priorities, landscapes, and sounds of development in Cambodia from the colonial era and into the present. Deeply committed to public scholarship, Emily has also used her long-term fieldwork period as an opportunity to spearhead collaborations with Cambodian schools, produce a collaborative audio/visual exhibition and audio documentary series about the lives of women artists called សូរស្ត្រី / Her Sounds, and develop a web-based platform called Sonic Cambodia which documents Cambodian audible culture for a broad audience.
Active as a conductor and music educator, Emily is passionate about working to make meaningful musical experiences accessible to all who might want them. From 2009 to 2017, Emily led ensembles as a conductor for the Boston Children's Chorus, an award-winning organization striving to build a more equitable future for all by fostering musical practice and community dialogue; her teaching with some of the organization’s youngest singers was featured prominently in filmmaker Mary Jane Doherty's documentary Let the River Run (2018). In 2012, Emily became a faculty member of Boston University's Prison Education Program, where she has worked to develop interdisciplinary pedagogical strategies that empower adult incarcerated learners to explore their creative potential. In other teaching engagements at Boston University and Harvard University and conducting engagements around the world, Emily has worked collaboratively with refugee and immigrant communities, people experiencing disability, and women artists, among others, to craft musical programs giving voice to their particular experiences in the world. Emily is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Curry College (Milton, MA), where she teaches undergraduate courses in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts and leads the choral ensemble.
Emily completed graduate work in Ethnomusicology and Conducting at Boston University, and her undergraduate degree is in Music and English Literature from Davidson College. She has authored publications, given presentations, and taught university courses on topics related to music education, choral music, and world music cultures, and she continues to explore issues related to global repertoires, performance, and identity in her scholarly and creative practice. Read more about her work at www.emilyhowe.info.