Known for his innovative blend of performance, teaching and research, Michael Schutz is currently an Assistant Professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario where he is associated with the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind.  His duties entail running the MAPLE Lab (researching Music, Perception, Acoustics and LEarning), supervising honours projects in music cognition, directing the McMaster University Percussion Ensemble, and teaching the percussion methods course for music education majors.  Additionally, he serves as Chair of the PAS (Percussive Arts Society) Music Technology Committee, and maintains an active career as a freelance percussionist. 


Prior to moving to Canada, he served as the Director of Percussion Studies at Longwood University (2004- 2009) and an Instructor in Percussion at the Virginia Commonwealth University (2007-2009).  During this time, he performed regularly with many Central Virginia ensembles including the Roanoke Symphony, Opera on the James, Oratorio Society of Charlottesville-Albemarle, and the Wintergreen Orchestra.  He has also given invited solo performances at the University of Virginia, Penn State University, and Goucher College, in addition to the Virginia/DC "Day of Percussion," Project:Percussion Festival, and the 2006 Alvin Lucier Festival.


In November of 2009, Michael made his third appearance at PASIC, performing Peter Traub's Groundloops: For Percussion and Internet  His previous PASIC appearances include a lecture on his music cognition research in 2008, and a world premier of internationally renowned composer Judith Shatin's trio Time To Burn at PASIC 2006 along with percussionist I-Jen Fang and oboist Scott Perry. Other world premiers include Gordon Ring’s Magnificat, as well as chamber works by Brett Dietz, Mekara Chaipruk, Rob Reinhart and Peter Buck. Additional efforts to contribute to the percussion canon include arrangements of orchestral pieces for percussion ensemble as well as marimba transcriptions of solo works for the guitar, violin, and piano. These efforts to include transcriptions in the college curriculum led to his clinic titled Musical Perspective at the 2005 Virginia/DC Day of Percussion.

A prize-winning researcher, he has published on topics ranging from the role of visual information in music perception and parallels in the communication of emotion in language and music, to the computer aided analysis of post-tonal music. In addition to presentations at conferences in Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah, Massachusetts, California, Ontario, and Québec, Michael has spoken abroad at the International Conference on Music and Gesture hosted by the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester, UK), the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (Bologna, Italy), and the Acoustics '08/Acoustical Society of America Conference (Paris, France). Other conference presentations include the Association for Technology in Music Instruction, Acoustical Society of America, Vision Sciences Society, and Music Language and the Mind. His publications appear in both Percussive Notes and Percussive News, as well as the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, Empirical Musicology Review, Canadian Acoustics, and Perception.  Additionally, he has given invited lectures on his research at James Madison University, Radford University, Lynchburg University, Goucher College, Penn State University, as well as the Virginia/DC and Maryland Days of Percussion.

During his time serving as Director of Percussion Studies at Longwood University in (2004-2009), the percussion studio saw tremendous growth in both size and quality.  Under his direction, the percussion ensemble developed into one of the premier ensembles at the university, performing four on-campus concerts each year in addition to their annual spring tour bringing percussion ensemble literature to high school programs in the central Virginia area.  In demand as an educator and adjudicator, Michael regularly gave clinics and performances at festivals, to high school percussion departments, and for youth music programs across the state.    Committed to incorporating research on music cognition into the standard university music curriculum, he created a special topics course on the Science of Music, focused on educating future performers and teachers about the importance of music perception and cognition.


In recognition of his contributions to the Percussive Arts Society, he was appointed Chair of the Music Technology Committee by PAS President Gary Cook in 2007.  In this capacity, he is a strong advocate for using technology as a tool for enhancing the quality of music education and music performance. Previous teaching appointments include serving as the Director of Percussion Studies at Longwood University (2004 - 2009), Adjunct instructor of percussion at Virginia Commonwealth University (2007-2009), and a faculty member at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan (2003 & 2004).  Michael is grateful for the support provided by Sabian and Innovative Percussion, whose products he is proud to endorse.  Michael earned the MM in Percussion Performance and Music Technology from Northwestern University and the BMA in Percussion Performance along with a BS in Computer Science from Penn State University. Additionally, he holds an MA and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (Cognitive area) from the University of Virginia.  His percussion teachers include marimba virtuoso Michael Burritt, Dan Armstrong, Gifford Howarth, Ken Harbison, and Randy Eyles.


[back to
top] of page