Bob Culver

Bob Culver

Every morning at 7:30 a.m., Professor Bob Culver shows up at the Stearns Building to teach a class in string techniques, a class he’s taught for 33 years, in a time slot inherited from Professor Elizabeth Green before him. Culver is in the business of string pedagogy, preparing music students to go out into the world to build their own music programs in schools in Michigan and beyond. This spring he retired.

Culver, who joined the faculty at Michigan in 1977, is also a performing violist and conductor. As a strings specialist, he has been key in the development of school orchestra programs throughout the country. One of the most sought-after consultants, clinicians, and conductors in his field, Culver has been invited to forty-seven states and twelve countries. Now also known as an expert in feasibility studies, he is routinely invited to evaluate programs and staff both here and abroad.

Through the Michigan chapter of the American String Teachers Association (MASTA), Culver was actively engaged in outreach, developing MASTA elementary string camps and restructuring MASTA junior high string camps. Collaboration with James Froseth in major methods classes for instrument music teachers built the platform for the development of graduate-level work in string pedagogy. Culver's video and manual, The Master Teacher Profile, are widely used in school districts and teacher training institutes. As a conductor, he has been active in thirty-six all-state orchestra festivals and in many more regional activities.

Culver has been violist with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony, and the Hughes Quartet of Ohio State University. He is past president of the American String Teachers Association, past Artistic Director of the Banff Festivals of Youth Orchestras, and founder-director of the American String Workshop.


Michael Udow

Michael Udow

Michael Udow retired this spring after twenty-five years of leading the percussion program at Michigan. He retired from his principal percussion position with the Santa Fe Opera at the end of the 2009 season, after more than thirty years.

His post-retirement plans, though, will hardly find him idle, as he continues to compose and teach internationally. Michael has enjoyed an expansive and diversified career in both symphonic and opera repertoires as well as contemporary solo and chamber music. He has been a member of groups as divergent as the New Orleans Philharmonic, Summit Brass, the Tone Road Ramblers, and the Galaxy Percussion Group, which included numerous collaborations and recordings with marimba legend Keiko Abe. Udow has also designed innovative percussion instruments and accessories that are used by percussionists throughout the world. As president of the Equilibrum recording label, he has released a large output of recordings, many of them by U-M faculty colleagues and ensembles.

Most recently, Michael has been traveling to Asia, both performing and conducting master classes and clinics. His latest composition, Moon Shadows for solo percussion and symphony band, was dedicated to the University of Michigan Symphony Band, under Michael Haithcock, with whom he performed the work in December 2009.

“Mike’s influence in percussion pedagogy, instrument design, and performance has been profound,” says former winds and percussion chair Fritz Kaenzig. “He has been one of the giants in University teaching, with former students performing and teaching worldwide."

"One of his former students, Joseph Gramley, now serves as percussion coordinator. Udow’s legacy will continue long after his retirement.”