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Roland John Wiley


Roland John Wiley was born in California, raised in Nevada, and earned his undergraduate degree in music from Stanford University, with departmental honors in choral conducting. Then followed a term of military service and graduate study at Harvard University, where he took the doctorate in 1974 with a dissertation on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan that year.

Wiley has served as production consultant for revivals of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker by the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, and has made translations for that theatre, the Edinburgh Festival, and the Dallas Opera.

Interests and Current Research

Wiley's research interests are Russian music and ballet within the context of 19th-century music; his current projects are a life and works of Tchaikovsky and a study of the choreographer Marius Petipa.


He has received grants from the Guggenheim and Mellon Foundations, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies, which, in conjunction with the International Research and Exchanges Board, sponsored four research visits to Russia and the former USSR.


Wiley’s books include Tchaikovsky’s Ballets (1985), A Century of Russian Ballet (1990), and The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov, Choreographer of ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Swan Lake’ (1997), for which he was awarded the de la Torre Bueno Prize for the best book in dance published that year. With Malcolm Hamrick Brown he edited Slavonic and Western Music: Essays for Gerald Abraham (1985). Other editions include Two Essays on Stepanov Dance Notation by Alexander Gorsky (1978) and Charles-Louis Didelot, Three Kings’ Theatre Ballets, 1796–1801 (1994). He wrote the entry on ‘Tchaikovsky’ for the latest edition of The New Grove Dictionary.

Teaching at the University of Michigan

His teaching embraces Russian music, celebrated non-Russian composers of the time, and seminar work from music drama to artsong to Tchaikovsky. He has advised Michigan dissertations on Musorgsky, Schubert, Mendelssohn’s revival of Bach, Franz Liszt, music in the Soviet 1920s, and Stravinsky ballet.

Contact Information

Professor Roland John Wiley

School of Music, Theatre & Dance

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI 48109–2085

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower