The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance educates the artists, scholars, educators and entrepreneurs of the future. Students are prepared with expert skills, instilled with passionate enthusiasm, and emboldened to challenge and inspire the world through the power of the performing arts.
After spending their summers working for top performing arts organizations, four undergraduates help promote their host organization's performances in Ann Arbor.
SMTD has partnered with the Gershwin family to bring the music of George and Ira Gershwin to students, scholars, performers and audiences across campus and worldwide.
Associate Dean for Productions, Programs and Partnerships and Associate Professor of Music
Office: 2304 Moore
B.Mus., Crane School of Music (SUNY-Potsdam)
M.Mus., Indiana Univ.
D.M.A., Manhattan School of Music
John Ellis is the Director of Graduate Studies in Piano Pedagogy, administers the community and preparatory programs and the class piano curriculum. He is in demand, nationally and internationally, as a master class clinician, adjudicator and lecturer on piano pedagogy. His recent travels have taken him to the University of South Florida, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, and Hawaii. Professor Ellis speaks regularly on pedagogy topics to teachers groups throughout Michigan. As a pianist, he has performed as soloist, lecture-recitalist, and collaborative artist in New York City (Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall), Rutgers University, SUNY Purchase, Notre Dame University, Montclair Museum of Art, the University of Helsinki and the Sibelius Academy (Finland), and Freiburg in Breisgau (Germany). He has recorded the piano music of Arthur Cunningham.
As a scholar in the field of pedagogy, Professor Ellis combines music theory, musicology, and the humanities with the more traditional pedagogical methods. His article on the piano method of Marguerite Long appeared in American Music Teacher in 2013. He has worked with the Musical Signification Project of the International Congress on Musical Signification (ICMS) since 1996, presenting papers on musical meaning and pedagogy at the University of Bologna, the Université de Provence, the University of Helsinki, and the New England Conference of Music Theorists at Wellesley College. His articles have been published by CLUEB (Bologna)/International Semiotics Institute (Finland), and Acta Semiotica Fennica. He has presented his research at the conferences of the Music Teachers National Association and the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy.
His primary teachers were Mr. Cunningham, Frank Iogha, Michel Block, and Constance Keene. Prior to coming to Michigan, he served on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. He has taught on the piano faculty of the University of Michigan All-State program at Interlochen and coordinated the piano program at the U-M Summer Arts Institute.
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