Mark Clague, Ph. D.
- Chief Advisor
Mark Clague, Ph.D. serves as Professor of Musicology, Arts Leadership, American Culture, and African American Studies at the University of Michigan, where he also serves as Associate Dean for Collaborations and Partnerships for the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
Dedicated to the exploration of the power of music to forge social meanings and create community, his research in Black music began with his first scholarly job as an editorial assistant and writer for the two-volume International Dictionary of Black Composers, working alongside Dr. Samuel Floyd. This work led to articles and conference presentations on the music of Arthur Cunningham, Anthony Davis, Akin Euba, Jimi Hendrix, Wynton Marsalis, Herbert Mells, Ornette Coleman, and George Walker.
Dr. Clague edited the Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr., First Black Bandmaster of the United States Navy for publication in the African Diaspora Series of the University of California Press, and curated an Adams tribute concert in the Virgin Islands by the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Band. He editions of Adams’s most famous marches—The Virgin Islands March and The Governor’s Own are available for free download.
Clague wrote the liner notes for Rachel Barton Pine’s recording Violin Concertos by Black Composers (both the original and updated 25th anniversary release) as well as her Blues Dialogues project. He also contributed notes to the world-premiere recording of Joseph Bologne’s opera L’Amant Anonyme.
Dr. Clague’s research on the U.S. national anthem has led to the publication of O Say Can You Hear?: A Cultural Biography of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (2022). Supported by an inaugural Public Scholar fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the book is the first scholarly study to grapple deeply with the relationship of both author and song to the history of chattel slavery and protest in the United States. His related anthem publications include the Star Spangled Songbook (2015) and the double CD Poets and Patriots: A Tuneful History of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (2014). In 2013, he spoke at Detroit’s SphinxCon about the history of abolitionist lyrics for the U.S. anthem, including “Oh Say, Do You Hear?” (1844).
Clague’s anthem research has appeared in the Journal of the Society for American Music, the Choral Journal, and Chorus America’s The Voice, and has sparked collaborations with the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, and in recital with baritone Thomas Hampson at the U.S. Library of Congress. He also helped create the Star Spangled Music Foundation, built the website starspangledmusic.org, and started an affiliated YouTube channel. Addressing a target audience of K-12 teachers and the general public, these online initiatives have received more than 1 million visits.
He is a team member of the Humanities Collaboratory project Singing Justice at the University of Michigan that seeks to leverage the power of Black song to intervene in the traditional narratives of music history and, especially, how music is taught in conservatories and schools of music.
Dr. Clague has been a project advisor to the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation since 2008. He posts to Twitter and Instagram as @usmusicscholar.