Mark Clague

Interim Executive Director, U-M Arts Initiative; Professor of Music; Director of U-M Gershwin Initiative; Co-Editor-in-Chief MUSA


Mark Clague is a musicologist who strives to understand the social impact of the arts in the United States of America and to share this understanding with students, scholars, and the public. His recent projects focus on the United States national anthem (“The Star-Spangled Banner”); diversity in music historiography and education, most recently through the exploration of African-American song; career trajectories in the performing arts; and critical editing, especially as editor-in-chief of The George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition. His scholarly interests center on questions of how music forges and shapes community relationships, amplifying the art of sound as a social force that is simultaneously personal and communal, both a powerful emotional expression and an everyday tool for living.

Professor Clague is a full professor of musicology with tenure at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan. He also enjoys affiliate appointments at the University of Michigan in American Culture, African and Afro-American Studies, Non-Profit Management, and Entrepreneurship. He currently serves in the Provost’s Office as Interim Executive Director of the University of Michigan’s Arts Initiative. He is co-advisor to the student organization Music Matters.

Professor Clague’s 2022 monograph O Say Can You Hear?: A Cultural Biography of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (W.W. Norton) was favorably reviewed by The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Economist and has led to dozens of speaking engagements at the U.S. National Archives and the Fort McHenry National Landmark as well as media appearances for ABC, BBC, CNN, C-Span, NPR, PBS, and WFMT, among others. His edition of George Gershwin’s symphonic tone poem An American in Paris led to a recording by the Cincinnati Symphony under the direction of Louis Langrée that was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award.

Before joining Michigan’s faculty, Professor Clague served as executive editor for Music of the United States of America, a series of scholarly editions of American music published by A-R Editions for the American Musicological Society. He also held editorial positions for the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago, where he helped complete the International Dictionary of Black Composers under the direction of Dr. Samuel Floyd. His dissertation for the University of Chicago—“Chicago Counterpoint: The Auditorium Theater Building and the Civic Imagination”—was completed under the direction of Professors Philip Bohlman and Richard Crawford and won the 2003 H. Wiley Housewright Dissertation Prize of the Society for American Music. He also holds a certificate in MBA Essentials and Entrepreneurship from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

His first book is an annotated edition of The Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr.: First Black Bandmaster of the United States Navy (University of California Press, 2008) and subsequent publications include the Star Spangled Songbook: A History in Sheet Music of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as well as the forthcoming manuscript Black Song: A Manifesto for Music and Justice, written as part of a U-M Humanities Collaboratory project with ten other members of the Singing Justice Collective.

His writings on teaching music history and arts entrepreneurship appear in the journals College Music Symposium and Music History Pedagogy and in the books Teaching Music in Higher Education and Disciplining the Arts: Teaching Entrepreneurship in Context. Most recently, he published “Emerging Artist Resilience Needs: Transitional Education for a Post-Covid Creative Sector” with Susan Booth (Eastern Michigan University) and Jeremy Peters (Wayne State University) in the Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society.

Professor Clague’s music research appears in the journals American Music (on the film Fantasia and critical editing), Black Music Research (on bandmaster Alton Adams), Michigan Quarterly Review (on Motown), Opera Quarterly (on Chicago’s Auditorium Building), and in the book American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century (on early orchestra organization models) as well as in the International Dictionary of Black Composers, The Encyclopedia of Chicago, and African American National Biography. In addition to being a contributor, Professor Clague served as project editor and cities and institutions editor for the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, Second Edition (Oxford University Press). He co-edited a special issue of the journal Artivate, focused on arts entrepreneurship in the city of Detroit.

Professor Clague has lectured throughout the United States and in China, England, Germany, Korea, and Portugal. He has presented papers at national meetings of the American Musicological Society, American Studies Association, Brevard Conference on Music Entrepreneurship, Center for Black Music Research, Centro de Estudos de Sociologia e Estética Musical (Lisbon, Portugal), College Band Directors National Association, College Music Society, Experience Music, Feminism and Music Theory, Institute of Musical Research (London, U.K.), Michigan Music Educators Conference, Music and the Moving Image, National Association of Schools of Music, Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts, Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Society for American Music. He has offered talks at universities throughout the United States, including Bowling Green, Columbia College Chicago, CUNY Graduate Center, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Northwestern, Peabody Conservatory, University of Chicago, University of Iowa, University of Kentucky, the University of Southern California, Utah State University, and Yale University.

His awards include an Public Scholar Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the University of Michigan’s Albert A. Stanley Medal, a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, the University of Chicago’s Wayne C. Booth Teaching Prize, the 2003 Wiley Housewright Dissertation Prize of the Society for American Music, 2004 and 2006 Teaching with Technology Fellowships, an 2007 UROP Advisor Award, 2009 Advisor of the Year from the University of Michigan Leadership Awards, a 2013-14 Humanities Institute Faculty Fellowship, a 2013 Sight and Sound subvention for his recorded history of “The Star-Spangled Banner” from the Society for American Music, and a 2013 NEH grant for $200,000 to host a month-long K-12 teacher institute titled “Banner Moments: The National Anthem in American Life.”

Professor Clague currently serves on the board of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival and is a member of the Long-Range Planning Committee of the Society for American Music. He co-chairs the University of Michigan’s Innovation Roundtable.

Before joining the Michigan faculty, Professor Clague was principal bassoonist with the Chicago Civic and Rockford Symphonies and played periodically with the Grant Park and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. In March 2003, he performed André Jolivet’s Concerto pour basson, orchestra a cordes et piano (1954) as the Concerto Competition Winner of the University of Michigan Campus Symphony Orchestra. He has given pre-concert talks for the Ann Arbor, Berlin, Detroit, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago Symphonies as well as the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Detroit Chamber Winds, and the University Musical Society. He has written and edited program notes for the Detroit Symphony as well as the Sphinx Virtuosi and served as centennial historian and American Orchestra Forum host for the San Francisco Symphony and as scholar in residence for the American Music Festival of the Detroit Symphony.

Professor Clague is most proud of the many many talented students with whom he has worked. His doctoral advisees have won jobs at universities including Columbia University, CSU-San Bernardino, Denison, DePaul, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan State, Northwestern, SUNY-Binghamton, Virginia Tech, and Wayne State University. Students he mentored through Arts Enterprise @ UM have worked at Google, the Colburn School, the Ann Arbor Symphony, Seattle Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the University Musical Society.


BM, AB, University of Michigan
MA, PhD, University of Chicago

Updated on: 12/12/23