View from the Pond
SMTD dance students in Paul Taylor Dance Intensive


Dance and technology at SMTD joined forces last summer in a demonstration of trans-global education when the Department of Dance streamed a live master class for dignitaries at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Featuring students enrolled in the Paul Taylor Dance Company summer intensive, the event celebrated a new 10Gbps link between Internet2 (a community of international academic and governmental leaders who collaborate via innovative technologies) and the Chinese Research and Education Network (CERNET). The live performance, coordinated by Internet2’s Ann Doyle, was hosted at the James and Anne Duderstadt Center on U-M’s North Campus, with technical support from the Computer Aided Engineering Network and the Duderstadt Center Video Studio teams.


“This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to experience simultaneously the thrill and theatricality of live performance and kinetic engagement with state-of-the-art technology,” said Dr. Angela Kane, Chair of the Department of Dance. “That Paul Taylor's work could be shared live across continents was both incredibly uplifting and inspiring.”


A truly international endeavor (the collaborative effort also included Ann Arbor’s Merit Network, Inc. and the Czech Republic Research and Education Network), the performance was transmitted over more than 6,000 miles. “Dance was an ideal genre to share via this technology as we could demonstrate uni-and bi-directional movement at a variety of tempi,” said associate professor of dance Christian Matijas-Mecca, who coordinated and directed the dance component of the event. “The layers of movement through space showed the capability to have live, performance-quality music and dance delivered in real time across the globe. It was an excellent demonstration of the possibilities made available by this technology.”



Lera Auerbach


Composer Lera Auerbach spent two weeks in February leading lectures, rehearsals, lessons, performances, and master classes as part of the 2013 William Bolcom Guest Residency. A virtuoso pianist as well as a composer, poet, and visual artist, Auerbach is known for writing operas, ballets, symphonic music, and chamber works. She has published three volumes of poetry and prose in Russian, contributes regularly to the Best American Poetry blog, writes her own librettos, and has recently been working on a series of Gesamtkunstwerk (total art) installations. Her full-length ballet The Little Mermaid was the winner of the 2012 ECHO Klassik award, and has already received more than 150 performances worldwide. A native of Siberia, Auerbach wrote her first opera at age 12 and was invited for a concert tour of the United States in 1991. She continued her studies in piano and composition at the Juilliard School. Auerbach has been awarded the prestigious Hindemith Prize by the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, and Deutschlandfunk’s Förderpreis. She received a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship and recently was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.



Priscilla LindsayStephen Rush


Two SMTD professors were among the first to benefit from MCubed, a new two-year seed-funding program designed to stimulate innovative research. The $60,000 grants empower interdisciplinary teams of U-M faculty to pursue new initiatives with major societal impact. The SMTD recipients were Priscilla Lindsay, associate professor and chair of the Department of Theatre & Drama, and Stephen Rush, professor of performing arts technology. Lindsay will partner with Nick Tobier, associate professor at the School of Art & Design, and Larry Grant, professor of social work at the School of Social Work, on a project titled “Building a Bigger, Broader Creative Class.” Rush will partner with Gregory Tarlé, professor of Physics at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and Jim Cogswell, professor of art and design at the School of Art & Design, for a project titled “In the Dark,” which will produce a multimedia event (dance, video, digital imagery, music, and art) based on the principle of dark energy.


The MCubed program minimizes the time between idea conception and research results by providing immediate startup funds for high-risk and transformative research projects. The projects utilize U-M’s overall excellence and must involve three researchers from at least two units.





ArtsEngine—the collaboration of North Campus deans Christopher Kendall, David Munson, Gunalan Nadarajan, and Monica Ponce de Leon to better integrate "arts practice" into the research university—has created a national organization. The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, or a2ru, grew out of ArtsEngine's May 2011 Michigan Meeting, "The Role of Art-Making and the Arts in Research Universities." a2ru gathers “peer-reviewed research about integrating arts practices in the research university and examples of original transdisciplinary university-based research involving arts practice.” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a2ru a $500,000 grant to create the first comprehensive guide to best practices in the integration of arts practice in U.S. research universities. In response, U-M created UARTS250, a class co-taught by representatives of each of the North Campus colleges, noted for its effectiveness in helping students listen critically to audio and video media and analyze problems in ways that consider unusual alternatives. Recent classes have cast bronze bells, taken trips to France, and used the PicoCricket invention kit to build computer motors. U-M and all a2ru founding partners are determined to put arts and design practice where they belong: at the heart of the research university. Visit for more information. 




UM Symphony Band album cover


The University Symphony Band, under the direction of Michael Haithcock, has released a new CD titled Points of Departure, which celebrates the talent of SMTD students, faculty, and alumni. The album features works by current SMTD composition professors Michael Daugherty and Evan Chambers, professor emeritus of composition William Bolcom, and alumni Roshanne Etezady (DMA ’05) and Frank Ticheli (MM ’83, DMA ’87). Soloists include violin professor Yehonatan Berick (on Daugherty’s Ladder to the Moon for solo violin, wind octet, double bass, and percussion); clarinet professor Daniel Gilbert (on Ticheli’s Concerto for Clarinet); and recent musical theatre graduates Ali Gordon, Grace Morgan, Chelsea Wilson, and Alex Akin on the CD’s title work by Etezady, a 20-minute song cycle that uses the theme of different modes of travel as a unifying factor through the voices of four different personae. Points of Departure, on the Equilibrium label, is available at their website as well as and other retails sites, and can also be purchased on iTunes and other music websites.



 William Revelli (r.) with students in 1960


A  new website of the U-M Heritage Project, launched last winter by the Office of the Vice President for Global Communications and the Bentley Historical Library ( will be the University's lead vehicle for telling the U-M story through powerful historical narratives. The site is considered a “living resource” and will add 10–12 new feature-length stories each year, including video and photographic resources. One of the first stories is an in-depth profile of SMTD’s own William Revelli, from his days as a five-year-old violin student to the 20th anniversary of his retirement at the Big House in 1992. Other remarkable U-M community members explored on the site include Raul Wallenberg, an architect and alumnus responsible for saving over 100,00 Jews during the Holocaust; Yale Kamisar, a '60s-era law professor known as the father of Miranda rights; and Ruth Buchanan, a U-M employee who comforted and corresponded with almost 2,200 students, alumni, faculty, and staff serving in World War I. In covering such a unique range of University "celebrities," the Heritage Project will help U-M reconnect with its past and inspire the current generation to keep making history.