Howard Cass

A photo of Howard Cass

Professor of Music; Musical Theatre


332 Alexander


[email protected]


Howard Cass received his Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Juilliard School. After graduating, he joined the Juilliard School faculty, where for six years he was Co-Director of the Juilliard Electronic Music Studio. He has composed, performed, and recorded musical scores for eleven Eastern Michigan University theatre productions, and for seven dance films in collaboration with EMU Professor of Dance Joanna McNamara. Presentations of these dance films include concert performances at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, the Detroit Dance City Festival, the Screen Dance Now Dance Film Festival, and at the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Hyonok Kim International Dance Film Festival in South Korea.

Dr. Cass has received numerous Eastern Michigan University awards, including the Provost's Research Award for New Faculty, two EMU Faculty Research Fellowship Awards, a Provost's Research Support Award, the EMU eFellows Technology Award, a College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Program Development Initiative Award, the 2015 and 2016 College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Interdisciplinary Research and Creative Activity Awards, three EMU Summer Research Awards, and a 2017 Sabbatical Leave Award to compose his Jazz Quartet Suite No. 7. Five other jazz quartet suites that he has composed have been performed at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, where he has also performed as piano soloist and as Conductor.

From 1990 through 2018, Dr. Cass was Composer-in-Residence for the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and the Manhattan Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. For these ensembles, he has composed over fifty works, including original compositions Mother Night and Breakfast of Champions, which were collaborations with author Kurt Vonnegut. The recording of these two works combines Kurt Vonnegut's own narration of excerpts from his novels with Dr. Cass' music compositions. He has also recorded his original jazz quartet suites with the Manhattan Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Additionally, he has recorded eight CDs as pianist, harpsichordist, and synthesizer performer with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra.

National Public Radio live broadcast programs featuring Dr. Cass' music compositions include WBUR Boston Here and Now, WXXI Rochester On Record, WSKG Binghamton Classical Music, WCNY Syracuse Live at Noon, and WFYI Indianapolis Art of the Matter. He has received a Lincoln Center Institute composition commission, and an Eastern Michigan University composition commission. Additional performances include concerts at Lincoln Center, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall New York, Manhattan School of Music, Rutgers University, the University of Alabama, Keuka College, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, New Jersey State Theatre, Symphony Space New York, the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival, concerto soloist with the Mexico City Philharmonic in a nationally televised performance of Saint-Saens' Fifth Piano Concerto, and a performance and interview on NBC TV's TODAY SHOW.


  • DMA, Juilliard School
  • MM, Julliard School
  • BM, Julliard School


  • Chamber music
  • Musical theatre acting