Emily Doolittle

  • Composer

Canada-born, Glasgow-based composer Emily Doolittle’s music has been described as “eloquent and effective” (The WholeNote), “masterful” (Musical Toronto), and “the piece…that grabbed me by the heart” (The WholeNote). Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Emily was educated at Dalhousie University, the Koninklijk Conservatorium in the Hague, Indiana University and Princeton University. From 2008-2015 she was Assistant/Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Cornish College of the Arts. She has been at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she is an Athenaeum Research Fellow and Lecturer in Composition.

Emily’s work is regularly performed across the UK, Canada, the US, and Europe, and she has been commissioned by such ensembles as the Vancouver Symphony, Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Toronto), Symphony Nova Scotia, the Vancouver Island Symphony, Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, Paragon, the Kapten Trio, and such soloists as sopranos Suzie LeBlanc, Janice Jackson, Patricia Green and Helen Pridmore, pianist Rachel Iwaasa, violinist Annette-Barbara Vogel, viola d’amorist Thomas Georgi and viola da gambist Karin Preslmayr.

Emily has an ongoing research and musical interest in zoomusicology, the study of music-like aspects of animal songs. She has explored this in a compositions such as WoodwingsBowheads, and Reedbird, as well as in her doctoral dissertation at Princeton and in collaborative research with biologists and ornithologists. Recent zoomusicological publications include “Hearken to the Hermit Thrush: A Case Study in Interdisciplinary Listening,” “Zoomusicology: a Quick Guide” (co-authored with Bruno Gingras), and “O Canto do Uirapuru: Consonant intervals and patterns in the song of the musician wren” (co-authored with Henrik Brumm). She is also interested in art and environmental activism, and was recently awarded Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Workshop funding to co-organize the talk and concert series Art-Making in the Anthropocene with colleagues Sarah Hopfinger and Stuart MacRae. Other recurrent research and compositional interests include folklore, musical story-telling, music and gender, parenthood and creativity, and making music for and with children.

Emily has received a number of awards for her music, including an Opera America Discovery Grant, the Roberta Stephenson Award, a Sorel Organization Recording Grant, the Theodore Front Prize, two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, and the Bearn’s Prize. Her work has been supported by grants and commissions from Creative Scotland, the Hope Scott Foundation, the Hinrichsen Foundation, the Canada Council, the Nova Scotia Arts Council, Socan, FIRST Music, the Montreal Arts Council, the Conseil des arts et Lettres du Quebec, the Artist Trust, the Eric Stokes Fund, The Culture and Animals Foundation, and ASCAP, and with funded artist residencies at MacDowell, Ucross, Blue Mountain Center, Banff, and the Center for Contemporary Art in Glasgow. Her chamber music CD all spring was released on the Composers Concordance label in 2015.