Emily Cardwell - composer, electronic musician, vocalist

"Music can act as a statement, as a moment of deep connection between people, as a call to action, and as a positive outlet for difficult emotions. I am passionate about both advocating and breaking-down music for the newly initiated, as well as helping experienced musicians finesse their work and find focused direction. Through mentorship, collaboration, inspiration, and knowledge, I will help your natural talents blossom."


Work Samples

Bio and CV

    Emily began as a classical vocalist, taking music theory and vocal technique since age five. After entering university and discovering the world of contemporary composition and improvisation, she began composing, song-writing, and discovering her own compositional voice through extended vocal technique and digital synthesis and processing. 

    She has collaborated with visual artists, filmmakers, choreographers, and other musicians from Texas, to New York, to Oakland, California. She has created fixed and aleatoric chamber works, multi-media collaborative installation pieces, and electronic music for the last seven years, self-described as "classical neofolk fusion."

    Emily's works are inspired by nature, vulnerability, globalism, and experimentation, and express both traditional and contemporary styles of music.

    She has performed with diverse ensembles: from NYC-based Trilogy Ensemble and the Sarah Lawrence College improv and experimental ensembles, to Canto Chamber Choir in Texas and the international Rodrigo Barriga Quartet.

    Emily was the assistant conductor for Sarah Lawrence Experimental Orchestra in 2017 and guest conductor for Mills CPE and Improv. Ensemble in 2018—2019.

    She is an alumna of the Tanglewood Institute (2009), Oberlin in Italy (2011), and obtained her BA in music composition and experimental music at Sarah Lawrence College in 2016.

    She has studied composition with Russell Riepe, John Yannelli, Chris Brown, Maggi Payne, Laetitia Sonami, and John Bischoff, and improvisation with Katherine Westwater, Zeena Parkins, and Tomeka Reid

    Emily founded Thistledown Productions, a music production and publishing company in 2016. Emily began teaching in 2018, and received her MFA in electronic music and recording media at Mills College in Oakland, California in January of 2020.

MFA Thesis:

"The Ecstatic Female Voice: Discovering Happiness, Agency, and Artistic Identity"


Dec. 2019


2009 – 2013

MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media, Mills College

BA in Experimental Music Composition, Sarah Lawrence College

Classical Vocal Performance, Lousisiana State University & Texas State University


2018 – present

2018 – 2020

2017 – present

2015 – 2017

2015 – present

Self-employed: voice and composition private lessons

Mills College: Center for Contemporary Music Fellow, video TA

Founder and owner of Thistledown Productions: producing and publishing

Sarah Lawrence College: assistant conductor, electronic music & concert recording TA

Live vocalist and electronic musician for dance and chamber performance in NYC and SF


June 2019

May 3, 2019

April 7, 2019

March 7, 2019

Summer 2018

Dec. 5, 2018

Greenermind Summit 

Composition Studio Concert (composer, performer)

California Electronic Music Exchange Concerts (coordinator) 

Signal Flow - Mills College graduate music festival  (composer, lighting head, vocalist)

Light Grey Art Lab Artist Residency, Norheimsund, Norway (sound artist resident)

Contemporary Performance Ensemble Concert (composer, vocalist, assistant conductor)

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2020 Emily Cardwell