People & Expertise


Edward W. Sarath, PCCS Director and Affiliated Faculty

Professor of Music, Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation-
U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD)


Ed Sarath divides his time between teaching, scholarship, performing, composing, recording, speaking, and spearheading leadership initiatives that aim to bring this expanded vision to musical study and education at large. His most recent book, Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness: Jazz as Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society (SUNY/Albany, 2013), is the first to apply to music principles of an emergent, consciousness-based worldview called Integral Theory to music. His prior book, Music Theory Through Improvisation: A New Approach to Musicianship Training (Routledge, 2010) is based in his design of an innovative approach to core curriculum musicianship training that he has taught for 20 years. He is co-editor of a collection of essays called Contemplative Approaches to Learning and Inquiry (SUNY/Albany, 2014). As Professor of Music at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), he founded the Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation, which he chaired for 20 years, and designed a number of innovative courses and curricula. Prominent among these is the BFA in Jazz and Contemplative Studies, the first degree program at a mainstream academic institution to include a significant meditation and consciousness studies component. He also founded and directs the U-M Program in Creativity & Consciousness Studies (PCCS), a cross-campus initiative that brings together colleagues from wide-ranging fields. He founded and serves as President of the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM, www.isimprov.org).

His composition Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, for 90-voice choir, string orchestra, and jazz soloists, represents his bridging of diverse stylistic horizons. His recording New Beginnings features the London Jazz Orchestra playing his large ensemble compositions and his solo flugelhorn work. Prior recordings include Timescape, Last Day in May (Konnex, Berlin) and Voice of the Wind (Owl, Paris) and feature a host of internationally-renowned artists as side-personnel, including Karl Berger, Joanne Brackeen, Mick Goodrich, David Liebman, Billy Hart, Cecil McBee, Harvie Swartz, and Marvin Smitty Smith.

Sarath has presented master classes in improvisation at music schools and conservatories around the world. In addition to the above books, his writings appear in Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies; Journal of Philosophy of Education; Innovative Higher Education; Journal of Music Theory; Oxford Handbook for Research on Music Education; International Journal for Music Education; Music Educators Journal; Jazz Research Papers; Jazz Educators Journal; Jazz Changes; Harvard Law School’s Negotiation Journal; Columbia Teachers College’s Educational Record; UCLA Higher Education Research Institute’s online journal, Newsday; and Ultimate Reality and Meaning (URAM) Journal.

He is a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts (three-time NEA Fellow: twice in performance, once in composition), the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation, and the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID). He is a 2014 recipient of the U-M Office of the Provost's Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award.

For more about Ed, see his faculty bio at U-M SMTD and his personal webpage.


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Ed Sarath, PCCS Director
photo by Dani Koel
PCCS director and faculty affiliate Ed Sarath