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Michigan Muse Magazine

Fall 2013

Message from the Dean

“The performing arts have the creative capability to address the outstanding challenges of our time.”

This is a very special and important year for the University of Michigan and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. With U-M’s bicentennial just four years away, the University has set the stage for unprecedented growth and achievement by launching one of the biggest fundraising campaigns in its history.

For the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, this campaign will help us to achieve our vision for the future— an exciting and ambitious plan that builds on our position among the top performing arts schools in the nation and aspires to new levels of achievement in excellence and engagement. Our goal is to raise $90 million, with 50 percent focused on building scholarship support. It will have a transformative impact on the lives of our students for generations to come.

The performing artists and scholars educated at Michigan—the next generation of creative visionaries—are versed in the transformational power of the performing arts. By sharing their gifts, skills, and inspiration, they harness that power to positively affect the way the performing arts address the complexities of our world.

The performing arts have the creative capability to address the outstanding challenges of our time. They reflect, explore, explain, and envision the state of the world. They eliminate boundaries, create a universal language, unify disparate factions, and engender dialogue while creating an avenue for personal expression.

To best prepare tomorrow’s visionaries, we must sustain the disciplinary depth and breadth of our programs and invest in the future. That future lies in building our scholarship base so that the most talented students, regardless of means, can attend U-M and not be burdened by unsupportable debt when they graduate. We are also committed to innovation in a curriculum of established excellence, incorporating entrepreneurship, engagement, and new technologies along with depth of research and practice.

We now begin the work of sharing our enthusiasm and belief in the future with all of our constituents, demonstrating all that we have achieved to date, and communicating our vision. In this issue of Michigan Muse, we feature stories that are directly related to that vision.

We hope you will join us in the conversation about our needs, and our challenges in reaching our goals. Your participation—as a devoted alum, a friend of the School and the University, an ardent lover of the performing arts—is a key factor in helping us ensure that SMTD remains among the most prestigious, dynamic, and forward-thinking performing arts schools in the nation.

Christopher Kendall, Dean
Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music
School of Music, Theatre & Dance


In this issue

  1. Rhapsody in Maize & Blue

    The University of Michigan/Gershwin Initiative establishes SMTD as an epicenter of study on the music of George and Ira Gershwin It would be no surprise to find scholars at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance whistling “Nice Work If You Can Get It” these days. One of the many sparkling songs…

  2. The Road to Success is Paved with…. SCHOLARSHIPS!

    It may be true that talent creates its own opportunities. But just as fundamentally, when opportunity is provided to the talented, success is not far behind. In the performing arts, opportunity comes in many guises—from getting that first big break to meeting someone influential in the field, to simply being in the right place at…

  3. Learning From the Best–A Student Celebration of SMTD Faculty

    Like many School of Music, Theatre & Dance students, Henry Nettleton, a musical theatre junior, chose U-M based on the faculty. While in high school, he attended SMTD’s “MPulse” summer program for musical theatre, run by Department of Musical Theatre chair Brent Wagner. “I was astounded at Professor Wagner’s scholarship and specificity, and his attention…

  4. Building the Future of Dance

    Since moving into its first official headquarters on Maynard Street 120 years ago, the teaching and performance facilities of U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance have slowly but steadily evolved (see timeline). That evolution continues in 2014 when the 50-year-old Moore Building is slated to undergo a major renovation and expansion, bringing the Eero…

  5. A Sound Investment In Musicianship

    Music study often starts at the keyboard. For centuries, the majestic and versatile piano and its forebears have served as the basic teaching tool for any school of music–and, more broadly, as the foundation of a viable performing arts education. “Keyboard skills are considered basic musicianship,” says Robert Grijalva, director and assistant professor of piano…

  6. Technology Takes the Stage

    There is much about the study and performance of music, theatre, and dance in the new millennium that hasn’t changed in centuries: talent, practice, knowledge, inspiration, and passion are still essential ingredients that drive the performing arts. Yet while these elements remain constant, in recent years performing arts technologies have evolved in unprecedented ways. As…

  7. Inspiring the Michigan Experience

    What is a quintessential “Michigan experience”? For many, it’s that initial thrill of seeing the Michigan Marching Band enter the stadium…the stirring pride of hearing a U-M ensemble perform “The Victors”…the buzz of excitement in a packed Hill Auditorium that precedes the start of the annual Collage Concert. The fact is, a large number of…