School of Music, Theatre and Dance (University of Michigan) Records and Publications

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School of Music, Theatre and Dance (University of Michigan) Records and Publications

The materials in this Deep Blue collection form part of a larger record group for the School of Music, Theatre & Dance held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index of archival materials related to the School, please consult the following online finding aids:

Researchers may also be interested in related content fouind in the University of Michigan Web Archives:

For more information or assistance, please contact Reference and Access Services at the Bentley Historical Library.

Music education unit of the University of Michigan; predecessor organizations include the Ann Arbor School of Music and the University School of Music. Materials in this online collection include archived versions of the School's website.

Music instruction at the University of Michigan was established by the Board of Regents on the recommendation of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts in 1880, making it one of the first universities in the country to offer such instruction. Calvin B. Cady was the first instructor and commenced lessons in 1881, offering a theoretic and scientific course in music. He established the Ann Arbor School of Music (AASM) in 1881 to give private lessons to supplement his university income. In 1885 Cady became a professor; he resigned in 1888.

The University Musical Society was also founded in 1880. The purpose of the society was to stimulate musical appreciation in the university and community. Dr. Frieze, then acting university president, was instrumental in founding the society and university presidents served as presidents of the society well into the twentieth century. In 1881, the recently founded AASM became a division of the University Musical Society and degrees were conferred by the society. The school carried out instruction and concerts in cooperation with the society.

Albert A. Stanley took over the professorship of music and became director of the University Musical Society in 1888. The Ann Arbor and university communities helped the ailing school and society by holding a series of events and fundraisers in the early 1890s. The AASM was reorganized as the University School of Music (USM) in 1892; the University Musical Society continued to administer the school. After reorganization, $15,000 was raised by the School of Music Building Association to erect a building to house the school on Maynard Street. In 1896, the first commencement exercises were held at the school, with nine graduates participating. Two years later Frederick Stearns donated one of the largest collections of old and exotic instruments in the country to the USM.

The role of the USM expanded in 1905 when a resolution was adopted by the Board of Regents permitting students in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to elect USM courses in practical music and receive credit. In 1929, the school became a unit of the university, with degrees granted directly by the university, rather than the University Musical Society. The school continued to be administered by the University Musical Society board of directors, but matters of policy and principle were now subject to the approval of the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Title to real estate held by the Musical Society passed to the university which made an annual appropriation to assist in payment of expenses for the school. A master of music program was added to the curriculum in 1929.

In 1933, election of the Musical Society's board of directors became subject to regental approval. In 1940, the school became an autonomous unit of the university and separated completely from the University Musical Society. All instructors and professors were put on salary and no longer received commissions from private lessons. The University Musical Society retained the privilege of giving concerts in university buildings and was allowed space for their administrative functions in the Burton Memorial Tower.

In 1922, Earl V. Moore became the director of the Musical Society and school. In 1946, he became the first dean of the University of Michigan School of Music, serving in this capacity until 1960. In 1940, enrollment in the school stood at 303 students with 40 faculty members. Seventy-two concerts were given in 1940. In 1945, the curriculum was expanded to include a doctor of philosophy degree in musicology and music education and a doctor of education degree in music education. In the 1950s, the study of music history was enhanced by the acquisition of the famous Stellfeld Collection of music, including manuscripts of 17th and 18th century composers. In 1953, a doctor of musical arts degree was created providing a professional degree in composition and performance. By 1960 enrollment had increased to 500 students with 50 graduate students and a teaching staff of 59. In 1960, James Wallace became dean and served until 1970, when he was replaced by Allen Britton.

The growing numbers of students created space problems for the school. In 1964, a new building designed by architect Eero Saarinen was dedicated on north campus. Prior to moving into the new building, the school had been housed in 13 buildings scattered throughout campus. In 1975, the name of the building was changed to the Earl V. Moore Building in honor of the distinguished dean. The Margaret Dow Towsley Center, an addition to the Moore Building, was dedicated in 1985. The Center contains a Vocal Arts Center, Organ Recital Studio, and Stearns Collection exhibit rooms and was the result of a capital campaign begun in 1980 to raise funds for the school.

In 1971, a doctor of philosophy in theory was added to the curriculum and a bachelor of musical arts in 1973. By the 1972-1973 school year, the School of Music was composed of 106 faculty members and 861 students, including 274 graduate students. The school expanded in the 1970s with the addition of a dance department. Programs in composition and performance were enhanced by the building of one of the five best electronic music studios in the western hemisphere. By the end of the decade the diversity of the school could be seen in its many departments: Music History/Musicology, Conducting, Theory, String, Organ, Dance, Piano, Music Education, Composition, Voice, and Wind and Percussion Instruments. In 1980, Paul Boylan became dean of the school.

The first official university band was organized in 1935. It performed at athletic events and gave occasional concerts. By the 1960s there were six university bands (Symphony, Concert, Marching, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Varsity, and Jazz). The bands are under the direction of School of Music faculty. The Marching Band has gained fame in recognition of its quality and precision in performance which have been highlighted during performances on televised football games. In 1972 the William D. Revelli Band Hall was dedicated, named in honor of the distinguished university band director.

Vocal music has also been a priority of the school; the first choir was established in 1942 and the chamber choir in 1965. The Men's and Women's Glee Clubs, the Arts Chorale, and Michigan Singers have also provided a training ground for young musicians and vocalists at the university.

Please note:

Copyright held by the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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