Thomas L. Riis, the Joseph Negler Endowed Chair in Music, Professor of Musicology and the Director of the American Music Research Center at the College of Music, earned his degrees from Oberlin College (1973) the University of Michigan (1976, 1981). Riis is a specialist in Musical Theater and writes and lectures frequently on many topics in 19th and 20th-century American music. His book Just Before Jazz, devoted to African American Broadway shows, received an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 1995. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar teaching in Lueneburg, Germany in 2005-2006. His latest book, Frank Loesser (2008), is the fifth volume in the Yale Broadway Masters series. In 2008 he gave the Rey Longyear Memorial Lecture at the University of Kentucky’s American Music Center and was elected to the presidency of the Society for American Music (2009-2010). His other interests include medieval song and historical performance practice. Riis remains active as a choral singer, viol player, and cellist.