Dr. Joshua Tanis is the Aural Skills Coordinator for the Departments of Music Theory and Conducting at the University of Michigan, where he supervises and teaches courses in sight singing, aural skills, keyboard harmony, clef transposition, and score reading. In addition to his position at the University of Michigan, he directs the Michigan Youth Ensemble's Pre-College Musicianship Course. Before joining the University of Michigan faculty, Dr. Tanis was a member of the Music Theory faculty at Indiana University.
Dr. Tanis holds the Doctor of Philosophy in Music Theory and Composition from Florida State University, the dual Master's Degree in Music Theory and Collaborative Piano from the City University of New York—Hunter College, and the dual Bachelor's Degree in Music and Biology from the State University of New York at Albany.
Dr. Tanis's primary research focuses on the convergence and divergence of musical and poetic forms in Richard Strauss's songs for voice and piano. He has presented this research at numerous conferences and invited engagements, including the Annual Meeting of the Society for Music Theory, the Indiana University Annual Symposium of Research in Music, and many regional music theory conferences. Currently, Dr. Tanis is finalizing a pair of journal articles: one on Strauss's use of musical sentences, and the other on Strauss's use of musical periods.
Dr. Tanis's secondary research focuses on music-culture relationships. His recent contributions to an interdisciplinary project on Mohican Moravian hymns have received publication awards from the American Society for Ethnohistory and the Omohundro Institute, in addition to appearing in Strong Wounds: Eight Mohican Moravian Hymns, published by the Moravian Music Foundation.
In addition to his primary and secondary research interests, Dr. Tanis also studies American composers and poets, (dis)ability narratives in music, and musical theater. In collaboration with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dr. Tanis is completing an archival research and recording project on American poetry set by American composers. His research will be presented as a lecture-recital in the Library's Bruno Walter Auditorium. Dr. Tanis also conducts research on (dis)ability narratives in Henry Cowell's tone-cluster compositions. This research considers how performers, audience members, and the piano—as an instrument—engage in (dis)ability narratives through non-conservatory performance techniques. Lastly, Dr. Tanis studies musical theater, with award-winning research on modulation schemas and their relationship to plot.
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