Steven Laitz Appointed Director of Music Theory Pedagogy Center

October 29, 2013

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Steven Laitz, professor of music theory at the Eastman School of Music, has been named director of the Gail Boyd de Stwolinski Center for Music Theory Pedagogy. He becomes only the second director of the Center, which was founded in 1985 at the University of Oklahoma. Laitz will continue to serve on the faculty at Eastman while taking on the leadership of the Center.

“We are proud to be associated with the de Stwolinski Center at the University of Oklahoma,” said Jonathan Dunsby, chair of Eastman’s Music Theory Department. “The appointment of Steve Laitz as director there, while maintaining his full commitment to music theory at Eastman, will enhance our position as a world leader in the field of music theory pedagogy. Generations of undergraduate and graduate students are going to benefit from this symbiotic relationship.”

Laitz is a frequent lecturer and presenter at such institutions as the Juilliard School, Emory University, New England Conservatory, University of Colorado (Boulder), St. Olaf College, University of South Carolina, Michigan State University, Hunter College, and Florida Gulf Coast University. In 2009, he toured four Chinese conservatories as part of Eastman’s “China Connection,” where he lectured both on theory pedagogy and on analysis and performance. Laitz has presented conference papers at national and regional meetings of the Society of Music Theory, the Music Teachers’ National Association, The College Music Society, the Honolulu Piano Teachers’ Association, and the Australian Musicological Society.

Since 2001, Laitz has been actively involved in the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, as a member of the editorial review board, as reviews editor, and since 2009, as editor-in-chief.

Laitz is the author of the textbook The Complete Musician: An Integrated Approach to Tonal Theory, Analysis and Listening, presently in its third edition. With Christopher Bartlette, he co-authored the textbook Graduate Review of Tonal Theory: A Recasting of Common-Practice Harmony, Form, and Counterpoint. Laitz’s innovative web course “Music Theory Fundamentals in Four Weeks” was launched by Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership in 2009 and is available on the School’s website.

Laitz received his Ph.D. in music theory at the Eastman School of Music in 1992. Since 1989, he has served first as assistant and associate professor, and, since 2011, professor, at Eastman. He was artist-in-residence at the Hale School and the University of Western Australia in 2001.  He taught at the Chautauqua Institution from 1998 to 2007, was a visiting professor at the New England Conservatory from 1997 to 1998, and an affiliate faculty member of the Chamber Music Department at Eastman from 2005 to 2010.

Laitz has received various teaching awards, including Eastman’s Eisenhart Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching by a Faculty Member.

“Dr. Laitz has already made a significant impact on the Center’s service to our professional community,” said Dr. James Falconer, co-founder and director of the de Stwolinski Center from 1985 to 2013. “In addition to his extraordinary service as editor for the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, he continues our mission to disseminate best practices in teaching all aspects of music theory and musicianship. To this end, he also helped create Music Theory Pedagogy Online, a comprehensive website that offers a wide variety of up-to-date musical models and materials.”

The Gail Boyd de Stwolinski Center for Music Theory Pedagogy serves as an international clearinghouse for information concerning the teaching and learning of music theory. Its activities include establishing the de Stwolinski Prize for Excellence in Music Theory Pedagogy; fostering research through its journal, website, and seminars and institutes; and encouraging specialized training for anyone involved in the art of music theory teaching.

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