Alex Lubet

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Professor, Composition

Alex Lubet, Morse Alumni/Graduate & Professional Distinguished Teaching Professor of Music, is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and researcher, who joined the School of Music faculty in 1979.

While he was written works in many media, his creative output in this millennium has focused almost exclusively on works featuring his own performance, mostly on a variety of plucked string instruments associated with American folk traditions. These include acoustic guitar, mountain dulcimer, National steel guitar, and ukulele. He performs solo and with groups including the Japanese-inspired Ensemble Ma, Deep State, with pianist and fellow School of Music faculty member Guerino Mazzola, and One World, with Kurdish-Canadian kamanche (spike fiddle) player, Shahriyar Jamshidi. In addition to his own works, many composers have written works for Lubet, in particular composers from China, where he was lectured, taught, and concertized live and on television. Of late, he has become particularly well-known for his unique approach to mountain dulcimer.

Lubet is well-represented on recordings, as a soloist (Spectral Blues: New Music for Acoustic Guitar, Ravello), with Guerino Mazzola (Deep State, pfMENTUM) and with School of Music faculty guitarist Maja Radovanlija (The Enchanted Guitar Forest, Big Round). Noted critic Ted Gioia named Spectral Blues a “Best Album” of 2013. His works have received hundreds of performances on six continents and he has concertized in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

As a scholar, Lubet is widely acknowledged to have pioneered the field of disability studies in music. His writings include Music, Disability, and Society, the first solo-authored monograph in that field, and dozens of chapters and articles on disability issues within and beyond music. He is also known for his articles on Bob Dylan and other popular, jazz, and blues artists. His work appears in both scholarly and popular media, the latter including such media outlets as Newsweek,, Associated Press, and San Francisco Chronicle. He regularly teaches courses in the U of M's Center for Bioethics.

As a composition teacher, Lubet’s primary commitment is to enabling students to find their own voices, to become better versions of themselves. Thus, his students write in a great variety of styles and media, ranging from oratorios to sound installations. He fosters a strongly collegial environment in his culturally and gender diverse studio and endeavors to promote performances and readings of student works, including having premiered and performed their pieces in such locations as New York, Canada, China, and South Korea.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Music Composition, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1979.
  • M.A.: Music Composition, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1977.
  • B.M.: Music Composition, Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois, 1975.


  • music composition
  • performance
  • Disability Studies, Bioethics, Jewish & American Studies
  • popular culture; music, theatre, film
Courses Taught
  • Mus 8550 - Composition
  • Mus 5550 - Class Composition
  • Mus 1013 - Rock I: History of Rock Music to 1970
  • Mus 1015 - Music and Movies
  • Mus 5561 - Orchestration I
  • Mus 5701 - Music, Disability, and Society
  • BTHX 5650 - Disability Ethics
Research & Professional Activities


  • Minnesota Center for Independent Living: Co-Facilitator, Disability Culture and Pride Series, 2004 - current
  • Hillel (Jewish Student Center): Board of Directors, 2004
  • Indeterminate Origins: A Cultural Theory of the American Experimental School. Lubet, Alex, 1999.
  • Transmigrations: Wolf Krakowski's Yiddish Worldbeat in its Sociomusical Context. Lubet, Alex, Polin, 2003.
  • New Millennium Wagner Studies. Lubet, Alex, M. Bribitzer-Stull, G. Wagner, Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming.
  • Disability Studies and Performing Arts Medicine. Lubet, Alex, 2002.
  • Music and Disability, Blind Musicians, Music Therapy, Judaism, Euthanasia, Physician-Assisted Suicide. Lubet, Alex, forthcoming.
  • Can Disability Studies Survive and Prosper within Medically-Modelled Curricula?. Lubet, Alex, 2004.
  • Tunes of Impairment: An Ethnomusicology of Disability. Lubet, Alex, 2004.
  • Academy of Distinguished Teachers, University of Minnesota
  • McKnight Research Award
  • Morse Amoco/Alumni Teaching Award, 1994
  • Graduate & Professional Teaching Award, 2005
  • Graduate & Professional Teaching Award, 2005