About Ed

Ed Sarath is Professor of music in the Department in Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance and also director of the U-M Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies. He divides his time between teaching, scholarship, performing, composing, recording, speaking, and spearheading leadership initiatives. He founded and serves as president of the International Society for Improvised Music (www.isimprov.org). His most recent book is Black Music Matters: Jazz and the Transformation of Music Studies (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018), which along with his prior book Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness: Jazz as Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society (SUNY/Albany, 2013), are the first to apply to music principles of an emergent, consciousness-based worldview called Integral Theory. His earlier 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-author of a book called Rethinking Music Studies in an Age of Change: Diversity, and Integration (Routledge, 2016) which follows his work as lead author of the report of the College Music Society Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major and co-editor of three volumes on contemplative education put out by SUNY Albany.

He designed 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 and teaches classes called Creativity, Consciousness and the Future, Black Music Matters, and a graduate seminar called Music School of the Future.

In addition to the above books, his writings appear in Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Innovative Higher EducationJournal 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 journal.

He is active globally as guest speaker as well as performer and composer, having collaborated with leading artists across wide-ranging genres. His recording New Beginnings features the London Jazz Orchestra performing his large ensemble compositions and his solo flugelhorn work. His music has been performed across the US, Europe, South America, and South Africa. 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, (NEA jazz master) David Liebman, Billy Hart, Cecil McBee, Harvie Swartz, and Marvin Smitty Smith. Further performances include AACM pioneer Douglas Ewart, Korean komungo virtuoso Jin Hi Kim, Hindustani sarod master Rajeeb Chakraborty, tabla guru Samir Chatterjee, and Carnatic kanjira expert Ganesh Kumar and his guru maestro H. Subash Chandran.

Recent work crossing jazz and classical boundaries include Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva for 90-voice choir, string orchestra, and jazz soloists, and His Day is Done, for Symphony Orchestra, Choir, and Jazz soloists based on a Maya Angelou poem dedicated to Nelson Mandela and premiered at Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, His work, Rites of Passage, originally commissioned and performed by the Cologne WDR jazz orchestra, featuring David Liebman and Michael Brecker, has also been performed by Amazonas Jazz Orchestra in Manaus, Brazil.

Sarath has presented master classes in improvisation at music schools and conservatories around the world. He delivered the keynote address at the first meeting of the Society for Consciousness Studies in San Francisco, and has addressed meetings of the National Association of Schools of Music, Contemplative Mind in Society, Mind and Life Institute in addition to  frequent speaking at conferences and symposia around the world. Recent presentations and projects have taken him to Australia, China, South Africa and many locations throughout Europe and the US.

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, the National Center for Institutional Diversity, and the MacDowell Colony.  He is the recipient of the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Award and the North Campus Diversity Award at the University of Michigan.

His teachers include Alan Dean, Robert Nagel, Howard Williams, Bucky Milam, Rich Ryerson, David Greenhoe, John Beer, Lenorre Pogonowski, James Furman, Carmine Caruso, Arnold Jacobs and William Adams. Particularly deep gratitude goes to his first teacher, Donald Burr, with whom he studied from age 11-17 and gained foundations that have lasted a lifetime.


University of Michigan

School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Professor of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation

Director of the Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies

Interim Director of the Center for World Performance Studies and Professor of Music at the University of Michigan

Innovation and Academia

  • Founder and Director of UM’s Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies, an interdisciplinary network of colleagues interested in the inner workings of creativity and its foundations in consciousness.
  • Founder and President of the International Society for Improvised Music an organization devoted to promoting awareness of the importance of improvisational studies in musical training and improvised music in today’s diverse world.
  • Launched the Diversity in Musical Academe initiative—the purpose of which is to expand the horizons of musical study in response to the multi-stylistic and multi-ethnic nature of today’s musical world—under the auspices of ISIM and also the National Center for Institutional Diversity.

Diversity in Musical Acadame

Bridging Tradition and Change, Sustaining Breadth and Excellence, Assuming Global Multi-Cultural Leadership

Diversity in Musical Academe (DMA) is a joint initiative of the International Society for Improvised Music and the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan.  The purpose of the DMA project is to sustain dialogue and generate practical initiatives that help the field of musical study expand its demographic and creative horizons in response to the ever-expanding horizons of the contemporary musical landscape.

The project may be summarized in terms of three basic principles:

  1. Music is ubiquitous among the world’s cultures and unmatched in its capacities to inspire, inform, and catalyze diversity efforts in education and society.  The diversity of the musical landscape is a direct reflection of the diversity of the global cross-cultural landscape.
  2. Academic musical study, however,  finds itself conspicuously distanced from the overarching diversity of musical practice and the world at large, thus limiting its capacities to assume a much-needed leadership in the diversity movement  both within and beyond the arts.
  3. Through constructive dialogue and carefully-planned initiatives for reform, a more diversified student and faculty population combined with an expanded approach to musical study will cultivate a skill and aptitude set that enables musicians to not only move freely across wide ranging contemporary genres, but also penetrate deeply into those areas of the musical world—including the treasures of the past that lie at the heart of all traditions—that are most meaningful and fulfilling to their artistic development.


Even after a half-century of appeals for reform, musical academe remains immune to the foundational kinds of change needed if musical study is to adequately align itself with the musical world.  While the counter-argument is sometimes made to the effect that—with the addition in recent decades of coursework and programs in jazz, music technology, popular music, and world music—the field has indeed achieved a fair degree of diversity, this overlooks the important fact that hands-on engagement in these newer areas is usually relegated to the curricular fringes.  The majority of music majors continues to graduate with little or no direct contact with music outside the European classical tradition and its offshoots.  The problem is not European classical music, the beauty and importance of which is beyond dispute, but the extent to which it has assumed centrality, at the expense of much other beautiful and important music.

The guiding impetus for the DMA initiative is the conviction that the expansion of the horizons of musical study need not be seen as a threat or compromise to the conventional  model, but as a means for enabling the entire field to take its next evolutionary strides.  A key principle here is that the core creative and integrative processes of improvisation and composition provide a comprehensive and integrated foundation that, when complemented by rigorous training in performance and various areas of craft and musical understanding (e.g. theory, aural skills, history, aesthetics, cognition), enable a kind of musicianship that enables musicians to thrive in whatever  areas of music-making they might choose.  Through the synergistic interplay of these diverse areas, a skill set emerges that enables the wide-ranging engagement called for in our times as well as an awareness of the interior workings of music that illuminates both the profound connecting threads, as well as rich distinctions, that run across the many lineages that comprise the global musical landscape.

If progress in this direction is to be made, a new kind of dialogue is needed, one that diffuses the tensions between the contrasting musical worldviews that prevail with informed, nuanced, and unifying perspectives.  The fact that an improvisation/composition-based approach is, perhaps ironically, both strongly rooted in the European tradition—Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Lizst and many of the musicians of their times were improvisers-composers—as well as contemporary practice provides an important point of departure for productive dialogue.  Also needed are corresponding practical initiatives, including new curricular models that bridge conventional and new terrain, as well as strategies for diversifying student and faculty constituencies.

Through a multi-pronged approach to diversity, a new era in musical study will be possible in which music schools continue their long-standing mission of preserving the treasures of the European past as well as fully embrace the multitude of contemporary developments.

The second DMA Think Tank will be held on Dec 4, 2010 at the University of Michigan, ,     Rackham Building, 4th Floor, West Conference Room, 9am-1pm

Please consider joining us in this exciting and important work.

Practical initiatives:

DMA Think Tanks

These annual events bring together colleagues from different institutions to probe

the opportunities and challenges related to diversifying musical study.  The first

DMA Think Tank took place at the University of California, Santa Cruz in December 2009.  The second Think Tank will be held on December 4, 2010, from 9-1pm at the University of Michigan.

DMA Curricular Task Force

This group is charged with exploring areas in the conventional music curriculum in

which openings for expansion might be identified.  This task force also explores

possibilities for new models of coursework and overall curricular structure.

DMA Demographic Task Force

This group explores ways in which student and faculty populations may be made more diverse.

Other DMA activities involve assessment of diversity indicators (e.g. curricular, faculty and student demographics, tenure and promotion representation) nationally and internationally, and alliances with diversity offices and initiatives across fields, within education and government.

For more information, please contact:

Professor Ed Sarath

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance


Edward W. Sarath
Professor of Music
Department of Jazz and Improvisation Studies
School of Music
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2085
(734) 763-1321

Director and founder, Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies, the University of Michigan

President and Founder, International Society for Improvised Music

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES: Books, Articles/Chapters, Invited Papers, Performances, Recordings, Compositions, Grants/Fellowships,


Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness:Jazz as an Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society,SUNY Albany (2013).

Contemplative Approaches to Learning and Inquiry, ed. Olen Gunnlaugson, Ed Sarath, Heesoon Bai, and Charles Scott, SUNY/Albany, in press (2014).

Music Theory Through Improvisation: A New Approach to Musicianship Training. Textbook. Routledge, Sept, 2010.


“What Next? Contemplating the Future of Contemplative Education,” appearing in Contemplative Approaches to Learning and Inquiry, ed. Olen Gunnlaugson, Ed Sarath, Heesoon Bai, and Charles Scott, SUNY/Albany, 2014).

“Improvisation, Time, and Transcendence,” appearing in Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies, edited by George Lewis and Ben Piekut, Oxford University Press. (in press)

“Jazz, Creativity, and Consciousness: Blueprint for Integral Education”.  Invited chapter for book on Integral Education, ed. Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, Olen Gunnlaugson, Jonathan Reams, published by SUNY press; summer 2010.

“Improvisation, Consciousness, and the Play of Creation” Ultimate Reality and Meaning Journal. Fall 2008. I was invited as co-editor of a special issue of the journal on music and ultimate reality.  Other papers by Stephen Nachmanovitch, Karlton Hester, Peter Westbrook, Lisa O’Neil.

“Meditation, Creativity, and Consciousness: Charting the Academic Terrain of the Future”  Columbia Teachers College Record.  Clifford Hill, ed. Fall 2006.

“Improvisation and Negotiation”. Fall 2005. Negotiation Journal, Harvard University. Michael Wheeler/Lakshmi Balachandra, ed’s.

“Meditation and Higher Education: The Next Wave?”. Innovative Higher Education Journal.  Summer, 2003.

“Improvisation and Curriculum Reform”. Second Handbook on Research of Music Teaching and Learning. Oxford University Press. 2002

“Craft, Creativity and Consciousness: Toward a New Paradigm of Jazz Education” Jazz Research Papers, January 1999

“Countermeasures” Ongoing column in Jazz Changes. 1997-2004“

Composition and Improvisation in the Core Curriculum”. Proceedings of the National Association of Schools of Music. 1997.”

Art, Ethnicity and Entertainment”. Jazz Changes. Spring, 1997.”

A New Look at Improvisation”, Journal of Music Theory. 40.1. Spring, 1996

“Creativity, Tradition and Change”. Jazz Research Papers. Jan. 1996

“Is the Paradigm Shifting Without Us?” in International Music Educators Journal, November, 1995

“Nonlinear Time Dynamics: A Cognitive Model for the Improvisation Process” Jazz Research Papers. Jan. 1994

“The Creative Foundation of the Jazz Tradition”. Jazz Changes. London. Fall, 1994

“Improvisation and Global Musicianship”. Music Educators Journal. Fall 1992

“On the Centrality of the Big-Band in Jazz Education”, Jazz Educators Journal. March, 1992.

Invited papers/guest artist (flugelhorn/composition) and teaching appearances

August, 2014.  Fairfield, IA.  ”Music, the development of higher stages of consciousness, and Vedic thought: turyātita, bhagavat, and brāhmī cetanā in contemporary music practice.”  World Association for Vedic Studies annual conference.  Maharishi University of Mangagement.

July, 2014.  Porto Allegre, Brazil.  ”Music School of the Future,” International Society for Music Education annual conference.

July, 2014.  Porto Allegre, Brazil.  ”Jazz, Creativity, and Consciousness: Harnessing the Transformational Benefits of America’s Indigeneous Musical Art Form.”  Led panel discussion, with Kathleen Camara (Tufts) and Anthony Branker (Princeton), International Society for Music Education annual conference.

June, 2014.  New York City, NY.  Presided as founder and president at annual festival conference of International Society for Improvised Music.  Performed with David Liebman ensemble at event.

June, 2014.  New York City, NY.  Performance at Spectrum, with Douglas Ewart, Michael Jeffry Stevens, Richard Robeson, Kathryn Ladano, and Billy Satterwhite.

June, 2014.  San Francisco, CA.  ”Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness:  Music as Ontological and Praxial Lens for Consciousness Studies.” Keynote address at first conference of the Society for Consciousness Studies.

April, 2014.  Los Angeles, CA.  Master classes in improvisation at UCLA.

April, 2014.  Tucson, AZ.  ”Improvisation, Intersubjectivity, and the Hard Problem of Consciousness:  An Integral Perspective,” delivered at Toward a Science of Consciousness annual conference.

April, 2014.  Tucson, AZ.  ”Improvisation,Meditation, and Consciousness Studies,” delivered at Toward a Science of Consciousness annual conference.

April, 2014.  Seattle, WA.  Master classes and consulting at University of Washington School of Music.

April 2014.  Minneapolis, MN.  Think Tank of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major, College Music Society.

March, 2014.  Ann Arbor, MI.  Premiere of my composition, Legacy, for singers, strings, jazz soloists, dedicated to Lester Monts on the occasion of his retirement as Senior Vice Provost.  Featuring Geri Allen, Robert Hurst, George Shirley, conducted by Dennis Wilson.

February, 2014.  Miami, Fl.  Master classes in improvisation and teacher training pedagogy at Florida International University School of Music.

Dec, 2013.  Guelph, Ontario.  ”Time, Sound, and Transcendence,” invited talk at Improvisation and Spirituality conference, University of Guelph.

Nov, 2013.  H0llywood, Fl.   “Brainstorming Futures in Musical Studies,” keynote address at National Association of Schools of Music.

Oct, 2013.  Amherst, Mass.  ”Integrity of Practice in Improvisation and Meditation Pedagogy,” invited talk at Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education annual conference, Amherst College.

Oct, 2013.  New York City.  Chair of review panel for New School for Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation, New School University.  Author of report.

Oct, 2013.  Cambridge, Mass.  Presentation of College Music Society Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major at CMS annual meeting, member of six-person national team.

Oct, 2013.  Aurelia, Ontario. “Jazz as Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society,” invited talk at Holistic Education conference of University of Toronto.

Sept, 2013.  Montreal, Quebec.  ”Nonlinear Time Dynamics: An Integral View of Spontaneous Creativity,” invited talk at Time Forms: Temporality of Aesthetic Experience, McGill University.

July 2013.  Integral Theory Conference. San Francisco, CA.  Invited paper: “Improvisation, Intersubjective Consciousness, and a Nondual Integral Vision: Jazz and Second Person Reality.”

July 2013.  Integral Theory Conference.  San Francisco. Panelist:  Spotlight on Typology: Creative Thoughts and applications of the “Marginalized” AQAL Element.

July 2013.  Society for Consciousness Studies initial meeting.  San Franscisco, CA.  Invited member of Think Tank to chart the terrain of the society.

June 2013.  International Society for Improvised Music.  York College, Queens, NYC.  Presided as President of organization and facilitated Cross-cultural Improvisation Workshop and Performance.  Performed at Roulette Theatre in NYC with Elliott Sharp, Jane Ira Bloom, Gamin (Korea) and Shin (Korea).

May 2013.  Webinar, Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.  ”Improvisation, Meditation, and Integral Theory: Charting New Vistas in Contemplative Education.”

March 2013.  Agra, India.  Toward a Science of Consciousness conference.  Invited paper: “Improvisation and Intersubjective Consciousness: An Integral Perspective.”

February 2013.  West Lafayette, Ind.  Performance with Danny Weiss quartet.  Improvisation workshop at Purdue University.

January 2013.  Denver, CO.  Performance at What Next Integral conference with Icelandic pianist Arni Karlsson.

December 2013. Ann Arbor, MI.  Premier of new composition, Sorrow Persists, Joy Prevails, text by Rabindranath Tagore, for 90 voice choir, 20 strings, jazz soloists, and Indian dancers at Hill Auditorium.  Premier of arrangement of Tagore song, Anandalokey, and performance of composition, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva (1998), for same forces. I was soloist on two of the pieces.

October 2012.  Novosibirsk, Siberia.  Improvisation master classes and performances with Roman Stolyar and Susan Allen.

September, 2012.  Amherst, Mass.  Panelist at Contemplative Studies conference, “What mainstream and alternative institutions have to learn from one another about contemplative education”

July, 2012.  Thessalonki, Greece.  International Society for Music Education conference.  Paper: “Improvisation and Meditation as vehicles for spirituality in music education.”  Panelist:  “New horizons in improvisation pedagogy”

April, 2012.  Tuscon, Az.  University of Arizona Consciousness Studies Symposium.  Presentation with Joseph Subbiondo, President of California Institute of Integral Studies, to launch the founding (Joseph and I are co-founders) of the Consortium for Consciousness Studies in Higher Education.

March 2012, Charlottesville, Va, University of Virginia, presentation at Division of Perceptual Studies, “Inter-subjective consciousness in collective meditation and collective improvisation.”

March 2012, Fredericksburg, Va.  University of Mary Washington, “Improvisation, Imagination, and Interiority”

February 2012, Wayne, NJ.   William Paterson University, sixth festival/conference of the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM), I presided as ISIM Founder and President, performed with Karl Berger and the University of Michigan Creative Arts Orchestra, and participated on two panel discussions:  “New Approaches to Improvisation Pedagogy”, and “Diversity in Improvised Music”.

Dec. 2011.  UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.  Improvisation Masterclass.

Nov. 2011.  Amherst College. Paper at Contemplative Studies conference, “Consciousness Research, Integral Studies, and Contemplative Education.”

Nov. 2011.  Ann Arbor, MI.  Performance with pianist Roman Stolyar, Kerrytown Concert House.

October 2011. University of Toronto/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Paper at Holistic Education Conference,  “Issues in Contemplative Studies.”

May 2011, Fairfield, Iowa.  ”Paul Horn and Friends” performance.  Paul Horn, flute, Ann Mortifee, voice/guitar,Eugene      Watts,trombone, Ed Sarath, flugelhorn.

April, 2011.  Exeter England. “Improvisation, Meditation, and Paradigmatic Change: Mapping the Transformation from         Conventional to Integral Music Education”, Music Education conference.

April, 2011.  Leeds, England.  ”Improvisation and Composition as Contrasting Pathways to Transcendence: A Consciousness-based Look at Spontaneous Creativity”, Leeds Jazz Research Conference.

March, 2011.  Amherst, Mass.  ”What Next: Contemplating the Future of Contemplative Education”, Contemplative Studies conference, Amherst College.

February, 2011.  Ann Arbor, MI. Performance at University of Michigan Art Museum.  ”Ed Sarath and Friends”

December, 2010.  Ann Arbor, MI.  Performance at International Society for Improvised Music annual festival/conference with Zim Nqgwana, Geri Allen, Kurt Kranke, Sean Dobbins. Also presided as Founder and President of ISIM.

October, 2010.  Corfu, Greece. “Improvisation, Music Theory, and Aural Skills: A New Approach to Musicianship Training”, Jazz Education conference, Ionian University.

June 28-July 2, 2010. The Hague, Netherlands.  Performance and master class, International Association of Schools of Jazz annual meeting.

June 2010.  Moscow, Russia.  Talk at International Transpersonal Association summit. “Improvisation and Integral Theory”

June 2010.  Birmingham, England.  Talk at Spirituality and Music Education conference, “Improvisation and Meditation: Cornerstones for Spirituality in Music Learning”

June 2010. Dún Laoghaire, Ireland.  Keynote address: The Academy in Practice: Creative Policies conference. “Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness: Jazz as a Vehicle for Individual and Collective Development”

April 2010. San Francisco, California.  Institute of Noetic Sciences Consciousness Forum: “Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness: Jazz and Integral Theory”

December, 2009.  Santa Cruz, California. International Society for Improvised Music annual meeting. I am ISIM Founder and President.  Led Think Tank on the topic of “Diversity in Musical Academe”.  Performance with violinist Stephen Nachmanovitch, kumungo/world music artist Jin Hi Kim, woodwind artist Karlton Hester, Russian pianist Roman Stoylar, and poet-laureate, State of Connecticut, Marilyn Nelson.

Oct-Nov, 2009.  Berlin, Germany. Scientific and Medical Network, third meeting of New Rennaissance series.  Invited presentation: “Improvisation, Consciousness, and Sustainability”.

October, 2009. Toronto, Canada.  Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, the University of Toronto.  Invited presentation: “Art, Consciousness, and Change: Jazz as a Vehicle for Integral Vision of Education and Society”.

July 2009.  Belle lsle Jazz Festival, France.  Headline featured artist, performances with Bernard Santacruz, Christian , and Jean-Luc Capuzzo.

May, 2009.  Charlottesville, Virginia.  Society for Scientific Exploration, annual meeting.  Invited paper: “Improvisation and Anomalies in Art and Science”

April, 2009.  Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.  Guest speaker: “Improvisation Across Fields: Jazz as a vehicle for creativity in music, business, and beyond”, for Capital University  Business School. Keynote speaker at Capital University campus-wide convocation: “Creativity, Consciousness, and the Future: An Integral Vision for Education in the 21st century”.

April, 2009. Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.  Contemplative Mind in Society annual meeting. Invited paper: “Defining Contemplative Studies: An Integral Perspective”.  Also performed at the conference.

March, 2009.  Visiting lecturer, Elon University, Elon, North Carolina. “Contemplative Studies: Educational Wave of the Future”.

February, 2009.  Northwestern University School of Music, Evanston, Illinois. Guest lecturer: “Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness”.

July 2008.  Manaus, Brazil.  Guest soloist and composer at Amazonas Jazz Festival.  Five compositions of mine performed by Amazonas Jazz Orchestra, Rui Carvalho   director, including Rites of Passage, which was choreographed by Rui Moriera and performed by Amazonas Dance Co.

June 2008. Riga, Latvia.  Taught and performed at annual meeting of International Association of Schools of Jazz.

January 2008.  Recording session in New York City, Michael Jeffrey Stevens, leader, with Dave Ballou, Steve Swell, and David Roberts.

June, 2007 Siena, Italy. Performance and master class at International Association for Schools of Jazz annual meeting.  With Jarmo Savolianin (Finland), Manfred Brundl
(Austria), Jari Perkiomaki (Finland), Michael Jeffrey Stevens (USA), Jeff Siegal (USA).
Performance on my composition, “Solidarity”.

May, 2007.   Guest performer and speaker, Bryn Mawr College. Concert and talk on Creativity and Consciousness studies.

May, 2007.  “Deep Inquiry: Laying Groundwork for Paradigmatic Change”, invited talk at the Annual meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI.  I was a member of the program committee for the SSE this year.

March, 2007.  “Advocating Consciousness Studies” invited talk. Holistic Education conference.  Malibu, CA.

February, 2007.   “Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness” invited paper. Uncovering the Heart of Education conference.  San Francisco, CA.

February, 2007.  “Creativity: Not Just for Artists”. Invited talk. Michigan Difference program. Two presentations: West Palm Beach, Fl.  Naples, Fl.

December, 2006.  Performance at International Society for Improvised Music,
conference/festival, Ann Arbor, MI (I am ISIM founder and president)

November, 2006. Manaus, Brazil. Guest soloist and composer with Amazonas Jazz Orchestra, Rui Carvahlo, director. Concert of my large ensemble music.

October, 2006.  The University of Michigan. Conference for Institutional Cooperation, Big 10 Music Education departments.  Keynote address: “Is the Paradigm Shifting Without Us?”

September, 2006.  The University of Michigan. Chaired panel discussion: “Contemplative Practices in Education”, as part of one-day symposium titled “Creativity, Consciousness, and the Academy”, co-sponsored with Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and UM Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies.

October, 2005.  Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Iowa, Iowa City. Performance of five compositions of mine by UI Jazz Ensemble; I was also guest soloist. Master classes on improvisation.  Talk on “Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness” at the School of Music. “Improvisation, Creativity, and Negotiation” at the UI Law School.  Performance of five compositions of mine by UI Jazz Ensemble; I am also guest soloist.

October, 2005.  Toronto, Ontario. “Education for Creativity and  Consciousness” Invited paper for Holistic Education Network conference, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

July, 2005.  Toronto, Ontario.  “Creativity, Consciousness, and the Future of Education”.  Invited presentation at the conference of The Society for Ultimate Reality and Meaning, University of Toronto.

Nov, 2004. Krakow, Poland. Concert with renowned Polish jazz artist, pianist Wojiech
Konikiewicz at Krakow Jazz Club.

Dec, 2004. “Bridging Head and Heart in Higher Education”, Fetzer
Institute, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Dec 2004.  I was part of a select gathering of individuals, including several college presidents from well-known institutions, regarded as educational visionaries to discuss new paradigms of educational reform.

Nov, 2004. Krakow, Poland.  “Creativity, Consciousness,  Education
and the Future”, keynote closing talk at conference of Scientific and Medical Network at the University of Krakow.

Oct, 2004. “Improvisation and Negotiation” symposium. Harvard Program on Negotiation at University Law and Business Schools, a select gathering of individuals invited to discuss the improvisatory core of creativity from a cross-disciplinary perspective.

October, 2003. London Jazz Orchestra, Vortex Theatre, London, England.  Performance of six of my compositions; I was guest soloist on three works.

April, 2003. Brown University, guest lecture on improvisation, creativity and consciousness, as part of the Wayland Seminar on the Contemplative Mind.

January, 2003  Harvard Business School, guest lecture on improvisation ,  creativity and
consciousness for MB A Business Negotiation program, Prof. Michael Wheeler.

January 2003,  Guest lecture at Harvard University,  for Program on Negotiation;  consisting of faculty in Law, Business, Psychology and other fields from Harvard, Tufts, MIT and other schools.

June, 2002. Helsinki, Finland. Performance at International Association of Schools of Jazz conference with international jazz group. Gleen Ferris, trombone, John Rapson, Michel Kuttner drums.

January, 2002  Harvard Business School, guest lecture on improvisation , creativity and
consciousness for MBA Business Negotiation program, Prof. Michael Wheeler.

Nov, 2001. Performance of my compositions by London Jazz Orchestra, London, UK Vortex Theatre.

Oct, 2001 London. Keynote presentation at Scientific and Medical Network “Exploring
Creativity” event.

Oct, 2001 London Jazz Orchestra. London, England. I directed the group in performances of two of my compositions, Shirodara and Space Race. I also performed with the ensemble.

June, 2000. Paris, France.  Performance and teaching at La Villette Jazz Festival.  With
international ensemble featuring leading bassist Ronan Guilfoyle from Dublin, Michel Kuttner from Cologne, and saxophonist Claudio Fassioli from Milan.

June 2000. Orleans, France.  Performance at Orleans Jazz Festival. With Cache Cache, former winners ofRadio France Jazz Competition, along with Finnish Saxophone Quartet, Saxperiment.

Nov. 1999. Tatui, Brazil. Master classes and performances at Tatui Conservatory, performances and CD release of three compositions for Jazz Orchestra: Thought Forms, River Song, and Shirodara.

July 1999. Santiago de Compostela, Spain.  Performance and teaching at annual meeting of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ).  I am IASJ board-member.

June 1999. Lelystad, Holland.  Performance with Dutch saxophonist Willem Helbreker, Lelystad Concert Hall.

June 1999 “Art and Consciousness”. Seminar on Art and Philosophy, The Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, Finland.

April 1999. “Improvisation, Time and Consciousness”. Improvising Across  Borders
Symposium. University of California at San Diego.

April, 1999. New York City. Performance with Walter Thompson Orchestra, at HERE, a top venue for multi-media improvised work.

January 1999. “Craft, Creativity and Consciousness: Toward a New Paradigm  of Jazz
Education” International Association of Jazz Educators annual convention, Anaheim, Ca.

April 1998.  Cologne, West Germany.  Performance with international ensemble at Stadtgarten Theatre, Cologne as part of International Association  of Schools of Jazz annual meeting.

November, 1997. London, England. Performance with Graham Collier Jazz Ensemble at the London Jazz Festival.  Master class at Royal Academy of Music.

July, 1997.  Siena, Italy. Performance with international ensemble at  International Association of Schools of Jazz annual meeting.

April, 1997.   Le Mans, France.  Performance with Cache Cache, winners of the 1993 Radio France Jazz Competition, at Le Mans Jazz Festival.

March, 1997. Tatui, Sao Paulo, and Rio di Janeiro, Brazil.  Performances and master classes at Tatui Conservatory with jazz ensemble directed by Rui Carvalho.  I was guest composer.  Also, workshop and performance with Roberto Sion jazz ensemble in Sao Paulo, and master class at Antonio Adolpho Institute in Rio di Janeiro.


CD Releases as leader:
London Jazz Orchestra, The Music of Ed Sarath. This CD by the LJO features eight of my compositions for jazz orchestra.
Timescape. AES records, Ann Arbor. July, 2000. Compositions for 9-piece ensemble. Featuring internationally-acclaimed pianist/vibraphonist Karl Berger as guest artist.
Last Day in May. 1992; October- Konnex Records; Berlin. U.S. distribution- Cadence Records, Wayside, and Tower Records Japanese distribution- Polygram, Ltd. Featuring internationally-acclaimed artists David Liebman, Marvin “Smitty”Smith, Mick Goodrick, and Harvie Swartz. Compositions by Ed Sarath.

Voice of the Wind. 1990. Owl Records; Paris. European distribution- Harmonia Mundi. U.S. distribution- Mesa Blue Moon. Featuring internationally-acclaimed artists David Liebman, Joanne Brackeen, Cecil McBee, and Billy Hart. Compositions by Ed Sarath.
Fifth Fall. 1986. Iowa City Jazz Orchestra. Iowa City, Iowa. 18-piece ensemble, under my direction, for which I composed entire repertory.
As side-person/featured soloist:
1999. With Brazilian ensemble, Interchanges. Recorded live in Sao Paulo, Nov. 1999. The Third Colour. 1998. Graham Collier Jazz Ensemble, recorded live at the London Jazz Festival.
Tandems. 1995. Recorded on tour of France, November 1994, with award-winning French jazz group, Cache Cache.
Still Life. 1995. Washington D.C.-based composer and bassist, Steve Zerlin. Recorded in December, 1994.

Grants and Fellowships

  • National Center for Institutional Diversity, “Diversity in Musical Academe” initiative.  2009
  • Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues program.  I was one of eight fellows who were selected at the University of Michigan. 2006.
  • Nathan Cummings Foundation, grant for hiring adjunct faculty member to assist in teaching Creativity and Consciousness course that I designed. 1999
  • American Council for Learned Societies, Contemplative Practice Fellowship, to design new course   called “Creativity and Consciousness” at The University of Michigan.  1997.
  • Rackham School for Graduate Studies, The University of Michigan. 1991.  Faculty Research Grant, to record my music.
  • Rackham School for Graduate Studies, 1988. Faculty Research Grant, to record my music.
  • National Endowment for the Arts. 1987. Jazz Performance fellowship grant to support tour of Ed Sarath Quartet.
  • National Endowment for the Arts. 1986. Jazz Composition fellowship grant, one of 8 awarded nationally, to compose multi-movement work for jazz orchestra.
  • National Endowment for the Arts. 1985. Jazz Performance fellowship grant to support ESQ tour.   National Endowment for the Arts. 1985-87. Jazz Performance and Jazz Composition fellowships (one of eight awarded in latter category)

Articles about Ed Sarath


October 1996.  “Michigan’s Sarath Expands Jazz Horizons”, Downbeat Magazine.

April 1996 “Ed Sarath Challenges Basic Assumptions in Jazz Education”, Arts Midwest Jazz Magazine


A. Commissions

  • Trends of Time, for Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Quartet. University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. Dec 2002.
  • Aquarium, for 22 dancers and 8 piece chamber ensemble. 1999. Evelyn Velez Aquayo, choreographer. Power Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Rites of Passage, for jazz orchestra, commissioned by WDR, West German Radio, for International Association of Schools of Jazz Gala concert, Cologne, Germany, 1999.  Bill Dobbins, conductor.  Michael Brecker, David Liebman soloists.
  • Arrangement and orchestration of David Liebman’s Memories,  Dreams and Reflections, a multi-movement work for 20-piece jazz orchestra. Premiered at Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival, September, 1994.
  • Life Cycles, for Grosse Ile Jazz Orchestra; premiered May, 1993 at Grosse Ile Jazz Festival.

B. Other performances of compositions
Over 20 works for large jazz ensemble performed and premiered at jazz festivals between 1979-and the present. Performances by  professional jazz ensembles: Amazonas Jazz Orchestra, Brazil; London Jazz Orchestra, London, England; David Liebman Big Band, New York, Boston;, Toledo Jazz Orchestra, Toledo Ohio.  Conservatory/university ensemble performances: Guildhall School,. London. Tatui Conservatory, Brazil,  Penn State University, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, The University of Southern Massachusetts

Professional Academic Record

Director, Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies, The University of Michigan, 2004-present

Professor of Music and Chair, with tenure, Department of Jazz and Improvisation Studies, The University of Michigan School of Music, 2000-present. (Founding faculty member of department, chair 1987-2007)

Associate Professor of Music, with  tenure, and Chair, Department of Jazz and Improvisation Studies, The University of Michigan School of Music.   1993-2000

Assistant Professor of Music, and Chair, Jazz Studies program, The University of Michigan School of Music, 1987-1993.

Adjunct lecturer in Jazz Studies, The University of Iowa School of Music, 1984-87

Courses taught:
Jazz Improvisation I, II.  Advanced Jazz Improvisation. Contemporary Improvisation.  Creative Arts Orchestra.  Improvisational Forms.  Integral Basic Musicianship.  Creativity and Consciousness.  Contemplative Practice Seminar.

Curriculum design:

BFA in Jazz Studies, BFA in Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation, BFA in Jazz and Contemplative Studies, MM in Improvisation.

Educational innovations:

  • Diversity in Musical Academe, initiative to promote diversity in musical study.
  • Director, Deep Inquiry Group, a cross-disciplinary think-tank funded by Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues initiative.
  • Director, Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies, The University of Michigan, 2004-present.  Cross-campus faculty network of 80 colleagues, promotes course design, collaborative teaching, speaker series, and faculty study group.
  • The BFA in Jazz and Contemplative Studies curriculum is one of the first curricular models to appear under the auspices of the burgeoning contemplative studies movement.
  • Creativity and Consciousness course brings together students from across campus to delve into inner workings of the creative process.
  • Integral Basic Musicianship is a hands-on, improvisation/composition-based alternative to core musicianship training for second-year music majors, drawing on diverse musical influences.
  • Creative Arts Orchestra engages classical, jazz, and other musicians in trans-stylistic improvisation.