Portrait of Dean Gier SMTD Logo

David A. Gier, BM ’83

Dean and Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music
School of Music, Theatre & Dance

In a few days, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance is set to host the official opening of the new Dance Building on North Campus, a celebration that will include special performances, master classes, and tours. The construction of this building marks the first time that all of SMTD is united on North Campus, providing endless opportunities for collaboration and cross-disciplinary learning, research, and creative activity.

In 1974, when the Department of Dance became part of what was then the School of Music, it heralded an era of growth and change for the school. Now, nearly 50 years later, SMTD is again experiencing a significant moment of change.

At the beginning of this fall semester, we welcomed an unprecedented 20 new faculty members — accomplished performers, designers, educators, and scholars, each of whom has brought unique expertise to the school. Their contributions have broadened and strengthened the impact of our world-class faculty, who work with such commitment to prepare our talented students to lead in the performing arts.

At the same time, we are preparing to say farewell to several long-standing faculty who have had a tremendous influence in their respective fields and at SMTD and who are retiring at the end of the 2022–23 academic year.

And of course, representing another momentous change, just last month the University of Michigan welcomed its 15th president, Dr. Santa J. Ono—who, in addition to being an accomplished university leader and scientist, is a cellist and a champion of the performing arts.

Universities are dynamic institutions by their very nature, driven largely by the arrival of a new class of students each year. Change is woven into the fabric of academic life, but so is tradition. At SMTD, we continually move forward and evolve, while also honoring the positive legacy that precedes us. It’s that exciting interplay between innovation and time-honored tradition that enables the extraordinarily gifted SMTD alumni, faculty, and students to be the leaders and best in their fields and to shine on the world’s big stages.

One of the great joys of my role as dean is to witness the process of SMTD students becoming exceptional artists and scholars—honing their skills, challenging themselves to become the best they can be, and using their gifts to make the world a better place. Every semester at SMTD includes notable events and performances that offer these ambitious students amazing new experiences and that highlight their compelling artistry.

Among the many examples we’ve seen already this term was the glorious University Musical Society presentation of Wynton Marsalis’ jazz symphony All Rise in October, with our University Symphony Orchestra and University Choirs joining Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. In September, our musical theatre students collaborated with the Michigan Marching Band in a wonderful half-time performance in the Big House. These kinds of performances exemplify the unique opportunities available for University of Michigan students and the rich cultural benefits for the entire U-M community.

Looking ahead, I’m especially excited for January’s Collage Concert. This cherished SMTD event, presenting the school in all its multifaceted glory, will be in person for the first time since 2020. It’s an amazing showcase of student performers across disciplines, exploring aspects of their arts both traditional and experimental.

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance is a thriving, vibrant community. Our rigorous, conservatory-style curriculum, enhanced by the breadth of opportunities provided by the University of Michigan, attracts gifted students from all over the world. We may not be able to predict the many ways our school will grow and evolve, but one thing is abundantly clear: SMTD would not be what it is today and will not reach its full future potential without the support of donors like you.

We hope you will consider making a gift today to the funds that reflect our highest priorities: the Music, Theatre & Dance Fund, the Emergency Fund, and the Student Aid Fund. Each of these makes a very real difference for SMTD students, alleviating the challenges that many are facing. With this gift, you will play a crucial role in helping them realize their goals and make their mark on the world.

Thank you for your time and your partnership in helping us ensure the continued growth of this extraordinary school.

Signature of David Gier

David A. Gier, BM ’83
Dean and Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music

In 1974, when the Department of Dance became part of what was then the School of Music, it heralded an era of growth and change for the school. Now, nearly 50 years later, SMTD is again experiencing a significant moment of change.

At the beginning of this fall semester, we welcomed an unprecedented 20 new faculty members — accomplished performers, designers, educators, and scholars, each of whom has brought unique expertise to the school. Their contributions have broadened and strengthened the impact of our world-class faculty, who work with such commitment to prepare our talented students to lead in the performing arts.

At the same time, we are preparing to say farewell to several long-standing faculty who have had a tremendous influence in their respective fields and at SMTD and who are retiring at the end of the 2022–23 academic year.

And of course, representing another momentous change, just last month the University of Michigan welcomed its 15th president, Dr. Santa J. Ono—who, in addition to being an accomplished university leader and scientist, is a cellist and a champion of the performing arts.

Universities are dynamic institutions by their very nature, driven largely by the arrival of a new class of students each year. Change is woven into the fabric of academic life, but so is tradition. At SMTD, we continually move forward and evolve, while also honoring the positive legacy that precedes us. It’s that exciting interplay between innovation and time-honored tradition that enables the extraordinarily gifted SMTD alumni, faculty, and students to be the leaders and best in their fields and to shine on the world’s big stages.

One of the great joys of my role as dean is to witness the process of SMTD students becoming exceptional artists and scholars—honing their skills, challenging themselves to become the best they can be, and using their gifts to make the world a better place. Every semester at SMTD includes notable events and performances that offer these ambitious students amazing new experiences and that highlight their compelling artistry.

Among the many examples we’ve seen already this term was the glorious University Musical Society presentation of Wynton Marsalis’ jazz symphony All Rise in October, with our University Symphony Orchestra and University Choirs joining Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. In September, our musical theatre students collaborated with the Michigan Marching Band in a wonderful half-time performance in the Big House. These kinds of performances exemplify the unique opportunities available for University of Michigan students and the rich cultural benefits for the entire U-M community.

Looking ahead, I’m especially excited for January’s Collage Concert. This cherished SMTD event, presenting the school in all its multifaceted glory, will be in person for the first time since 2020. It’s an amazing showcase of student performers across disciplines, exploring aspects of their arts both traditional and experimental.

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance is a thriving, vibrant community. Our rigorous, conservatory-style curriculum, enhanced by the breadth of opportunities provided by the University of Michigan, attracts gifted students from all over the world. We may not be able to predict the many ways our school will grow and evolve, but one thing is abundantly clear: SMTD would not be what it is today and will not reach its full future potential without the support of donors like you.

We hope you will consider making a gift today to the funds that reflect our highest priorities: the Music, Theatre & Dance Fund, the Emergency Fund, and the Student Aid Fund. Each of these makes a very real difference for SMTD students, alleviating the challenges that many are facing. With this gift, you will play a crucial role in helping them realize their goals and make their mark on the world.

Thank you for your time and your partnership in helping us ensure the continued growth of this extraordinary school.

Signature of David Gier

David A. Gier, BM ’83
Dean and Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music

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