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Emeritus Professor Glenn Watkins to Speak at SMTD Commencement


The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance has announced that Glenn Watkins, the Earl V. Moore Emeritus Professor of Music History and Musicology, will be the featured speaker at the School's commencement on Friday, May 2, at 2:00 PM in Power Center. Professor Watkins replaces the previously announced guest speaker, José Antonio Abreu, who is unable to travel to the United States from his native Venezuela due to illness.

Glenn Watkins, is one of the most distinguished musicologists of our time. A specialist in Renaissance and 20th-century studies, he is the recipient of a Fulbright Award (England), an American Council of Learned Societies Grant, and Senior Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities. He has published numerous articles, reviews and editions and is co-editor of the complete works of Gesualdo; his critical study of that composer, which carries a preface by Igor Stravinsky (Oxford University Press, 1973), was a 1974 National Book Award nominee. It was translated into Hungarian in 1980 and into German in 2000, and a second revised English edition was published in 1990.

Watkins's editions of the works of Sigismondo d'India and Carlo Gesualdo have been recorded by numerous international groups, including the Deller Consort, the Consort of Musicke, the Tallis Scholars, La Venexiana, and Les Arts Florissants. His comprehensive text Soundings (Schirmer Books, 1988) offers a synthetic overview of music in the 20th century, and his book Pyramids at the Louvre (Harvard University Press, 1994) argues the idea of collage as a foundation for musical Modernism and a catalyst for the rise of Postmodernism. Proof Through the Night: Music and the Great War (University of California Press, 2003) investigates the variable roles of music during World War I, primarily from the angle of the Entente nations' perceived threat of German hegemony, and his most recent book, The Gesualdo Hex (Norton, 2010) with a preface by Claudio Abbado, offers a meditation on cultural memory and how music and history are repeatedly reinterpreted in light of contemporary experience.

Watkins has lectured widely in America for universities, orchestras, and art organizations, and his interest in both late Renaissance and 20th-century studies is reflected in numerous invited papers for international conferences as well as in projects for Columbia, Nonesuch, Pye, Oiseau Lyre, Harmonia Mundi, Glossa, and Deutsche Grammophon records and for BBC, German, and Italian television. In 2005 he was awarded the Premio Internazionale Carlo Gesualdo and was elected as an Honorary Member of the American Musicological Society.

In 1996, Watkins received the Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater, the Eastman School of Music (ESM), where he earned his PhD, and he was the recipient of the University of Rochester's Distinguished Scholar Award in 2012. He established the Glenn Watkins Lecture at ESM in 2003 to bring exceptional lecturers in the field of music and related humanistic disciplines to speak at the school. 

At SMTD, Watkins made a major gift for the current renovation and expansion of the E.V. Moore Building. His contribution funds a state-of the-art lecture hall, which will provide the best possible environment for academic studies and will be able to accommodate a distinguished lecture series on North Campus. Previously he had provided a gift for a major renovation of the School's music library, which provided a new audio-visual seminar room, a renovated circulation desk, and new flooring, lighting, and furniture.



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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower