University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance

School of Music, Theatre & Dance

University of Michigan (Earl V. Moore Building)
Type Public
Established 1880
Parent institution
University of Michigan
Dean Aaron Dworkin
Academic staff
Students 1,115
Location Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Campus Urban

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance is an undergraduate and graduate institution for the performing arts in the United States. It is part of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The school was founded in 1880 as the Ann Arbor School of Music, and it was later incorporated into the University of Michigan.

With the exception of the Department of Dance, the School is located on the University of Michigan's North Campus, which is also home to the College of Engineering, the School of Information, and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.[1]


The school was founded in 1880. Previous administrators include Charles Sink, Earl V. Moore, James B. Wallace, Allen Britton, and Paul Boylan. The school was originally independent of the university.

Notable Alumni

Well known alumni include playwright Arthur Miller, actors James Earl Jones, Gavin Creel, Darren Criss, David Alan Grier and Lucy Liu, musicians Jessye Norman, Alexander Frey, David Daniels, Colin Stetson, and Michael Fabiano, as well as the pop star Madonna.

See also the complete list of list of University of Michigan arts alumni.

Performance Training Areas

The University puts on more than a dozen main stage productions and concerts every year. Besides its main stage productions, the school also offers performance opportunities through studio productions and student-run groups.

Main Stage and Studio Productions

Main stage and studio productions staged by the university every year include:


Musicians have the opportunity to perform in many ensembles in connection with the university. These include choral ensembles, orchestras, wind bands, historical music ensembles, jazz ensembles, electronic and new music ensembles, chamber music groups, and world music ensembles.[5]


Students receive orchestral training and experience in various large ensembles.[6] The University Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Kenneth Kiesler and presents eight concerts during the academic year.[7] The University Philharmonia, another orchestra, is conducted by Dr. Oriol Sans and also performs eight concerts per year.

Student Organizations

Student organizations through the university include:


The school's facilities are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. On the University of Michigan north campus, these include the Earl V. Moore Building, the Stearns Building, the Walgreen Drama Center, and the Lurie Carillon. Specific north campus facilities include studios in the James and Anne Duderstadt Center, as well as the Arthur Miller Theater and the Stamps Auditorium (both in the Walgreen Drama Center). The Miller Theater is the only theater given permission by the estate of Arthur Miller to bear the playwright's name.[12] On central campus, the school's facilities include Hill Auditorium, the Power Center, the Dance Building, and Burton Memorial Tower, which houses the Charles Baird Carillon. The university's south campus is home to William D. Revelli Hall, which houses offices and rehearsal space for the University of Michigan Marching Band.

History of the Moore Building

The majority of the school's teaching spaces, faculty offices, and music library, are located in the Earl V. Moore Building. This building is named after a previous dean of the school, and was designed in a mid-century modern style by architect Eero Saarinen.[13] Saarinen was commissioned to design the master plan for the University of Michigan’s North Campus, he requested to design the music school building (now the Earl V. Moore Building).[14]

The original scheme called for an L-shaped building and a circular concert hall. Completed in 1964, the result was a five-level pavilion with flanking wings. Saarinen envisioned a building in harmony with nature, and so designed the building to be built into a hill overlooking a pond. The brick-clad concrete structure has narrow vertical windows that contrast with the horizontal brick patterns, thought to represent the alternating colors of piano keys. The brick color is known as “Cranbrook Buff” for its reference to the color of the buildings on the campus of the Cranbrook Education Community. The style of this building has influenced almost all of the later construction on North Campus.

The building contains 2 rehearsal/concert halls, 45 performance teaching studios, 18 classrooms, 40 offices, a large library, 120 practice rooms, including 12 organ practice rooms, and other special facilities for piano, harp, harpsichord and percussion practice. The construction of this building allowed for the first increase in enrollment since 1946.

During construction of the building, Saarinen was diagnosed with a brain tumor, but he was able to watch the progress of the building from his room at University Hospital.


On October 30, 2012, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman announced an $8-million gift from William K. Brehm and Delores S. Brehm, a major contribution toward the cost of renovating and expanding the Moore Building.[15] Of the total cost, another $14 million is allocated from the university, with the remaining balance to come from additional fundraising, including a gift from Glenn E. Watkins, emeritus professor of musicology. Construction for the project commenced in early 2014 and was finished in the fall of 2015.[16] The renovation, which cost 29.5 million and added 34,000 square feet,[17] includes a rehearsal with the footprint of Hill Auditorium, revamping of the McIntosh Theater, a lecture hall, an entrance and lobby, and new practice and teaching rooms.[18]

Departments and Degree Programs

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance offers degrees from the bachelors to the doctoral level. Fifteen departments make up the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, each offering several degree programs. They include:

Notable Projects

Michigan Performance Outreach Workshop

The Gershwin Initiative

University of Michigan Javanese Gamelan



  1. About North Campus, Go North. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  5. "Performance Opportunities". University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance. University of Michigan. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  6. "Orchestras". University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance. University of Michigan. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  7. "Kenneth Kiesler". University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance. University of Michigan. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  13. Carlin, Marilou (2013). "Moore Power". University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, & Dance. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  16. "Brehm gift launches building expansion at U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance". Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  18. Carlin, Marilou (Spring 2013). "Moore Power: SMTD Announces a Major Renovation and Expansion of the Earl V. Moore Building". University of Michigan School of Music. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  20. Clague, Mark (2013). "About the Gershwin Initiative". The Gershwin Initiative. University of Michigan, School of Music, Theater & Dance. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  21. "Javanese Gamelan at the University of Michigan, University of Michigan Gamelan Education Project". Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan. 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  22. Flaig, Vera. "University of Michigan Gamelan Ensemble Concert Performances, 1967-2005". Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  23. 1 2 "Gamelan". University of Michigan, Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  24. "Ensembles". University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  25. "Gamelan". University of Michigan, Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Retrieved 17 March 2014.

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