Research Projects & Initiatives

SMTD is a leader in performing arts research, with academic programs and research projects—often highly interdisciplinary, through collaborations with departments and programs from across the university—that put us in the forefront of performing arts scholarship.

Additional information about research activities can also be found within the respective academic department pages.

American Music Institute

Founded in 1988 by Dean Paul Boylan with a donation from the Katherine Tuck Foundation, the American Music Institute strives “to foster collaborative investigation of musical life in the United States, drawing from resources throughout the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, across the University of Michigan campus, and throughout the nation.” AMI serves as a project incubator and innovation center for the study of music of all kinds in the United States of America and indeed throughout the Americas. U-M Musicology Professors Mark Clague and Charles Garrett serve as co-directors of the Institute.

Music of the United States of America (MUSA)
Under the leadership of Co-Editors- in-Chief Amy Beal (University of California, Santa Cruz) and Mark Clague (University of Michigan), MUSA is a 40-volume series of notated scholarly editions of musical compositions representing the fullest possible range of American creativity. The project is sponsored by the American Musicological Society and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The executive editor is U-M’s Andrew Kuster.

New Grove Dictionary of American Music, Second Edition
Under the editorship of Associate Professor Charles Garrett, U-M leads an update and expansion of the most comprehensive and reliable reference tool in American music studies. Now published by Oxford University Press and available online.

U-M Gershwin Initiative

In Collaboration with the families of George and Ira Gershwin, Editor-in-Chief Professor Mark Clague leads the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition and U-M Gershwin Initiative creating new scholarly editions of the Gershwin brothers’ works. This project will further catalyze a campus-wide educational initiative featuring performances, seminars, courses, and symposia inspired by and exploring the art of George and Ira Gershwin.

Piano Literature Corner

Works in progress include presentations on Scriabin, Szymanowski, Bartók, and on early Beethoven sonatas on fortepiano. Curated by Assistant Professor Matthew Bengtson.

Program in Creativity & Consciousness Studies

The U-M Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies is an initiative devoted to theoretical and applied exploration of the nature and development of human creativity and consciousness. Recent years have seen increasing interest in “peak experiences” or “flow” states as not only episodes of heightened performance but apertures into expanded conceptions of the human being.