Emily Pinkerton

Emily Pinkerton

Assistant Professor, Music Industry (Songwriting/Composition)


Ph.D EthnomusicologyThe University of Texas at Austin
M.MEthnomusicology The University of Texas at Austin
B.A. Music, Spanish, FrenchButler University

Professional Experience

Songwriter and ethnomusicologist Emily Pinkerton combines folk, popular and classical traditions in her original work. She is a founding member of The Early Mays, a band who has topped the National Folk-DJ charts and was recently featured on NPR’s Mountain Stage. Her latest album Rounder Songs —an Appalachian Song Cycle co-composed with Patrick Burke—was released on New Amsterdam Records and received a 2019 Independent Music Award.

Emily lived for three years in Santiago, Chile, becoming an ardent listener to songwriter Violeta Parra and studying the 25-string guitarrón with Alfonso Rubio, Osvaldo Ulloa and Santos Rubio. She recently drew from these experiences to create an original score in 2019 for Looking for Violeta—a folk opera by María José Galleguillos (produced by Quantum Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA).

Emily joined the music department at The College of Saint Rose after eleven years as an Ethnomusicology Instructor at the University of Pittsburgh and as Music Director at First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh. Her research and performance projects have received support and recognition from the Fulbright Commission, The Organization of American States, New Music USA, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, The Heinz Endowments, and the Pittsburgh Foundation. Emily is an avid performer of Appalachian and Andean folk music, specializing in fiddle, guitar, clawhammer banjo, charango and other stringed instruments.

Teaching Interests

Songwriting, World Music, Latin American Music, Old-Time Music and Dance, Folk Revivals, Music and Gender

Research/Creative Works


  • Rounder Songs,Emily Pinkerton, Patrick Burke and NOW Ensemble,New Amsterdam Records2017
  • Chase the Sun, The Early Mays, Bird on the Wing Records, August, 2017
  • The Early Mays, The Early Mays, Bird on the Wing Records, 2014
  • Ends of the Earth, Emily Pinkerton, Green Jeans Records, 2012
  • Out Under the Sky,The Early Mays, Bird on the Wing Records, 2012

Reviews and performances

  • National reviews and features on WNYC’s New Sounds with John Schaefer, Textura, NoDepression and PopMatters —November 2017-January 2018
  • Recent performances at NPR’s Mountain Stage, Appalachian String Band Music Festival,National Sawdust, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series, Tutti Festival


  • Latin American Music Review,review ofAquí me pongo a cantar… El Arte payadoresco deArgentina y Uruguayby Ercilia Moreno Chá (Fall 2018)
  • A Latin American Music Reader: Views from the South, Translation of “Indigenous Music and Identity: Musical Spaces of Urban Mapuche Communities”by Jorge Martínez Ulloa (University of Illinois Press, 2016)
  • Soundscapes from the Americas: Ethnomusicological Essays on the Power, Poetics andOntology of Performance,“Feminine Flowers among the Thistles: Gendered Boundaries of Performance in Chilean Canto a lo Poeta” (Routledge/Ashgate, 2014)
  • New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians,Entries on “Nueva Canción,” “Violeta Parra,” and“Victor Jara” (2014)