Professor William P. Malm received a master's degree in composition from Northwestern University in 1950 and a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology in 1959 from UCLA. He began teaching at the University of Michigan in 1960. He specialized in Asian music, especially Japanese music and dance. An internationally recognized ethnomusicologist, he directed the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments at the University of Michigan until his retirement in 1993. He was also the director of the Japanese Music Ensemble at the University of Michigan, a group comprised of students trained in traditional Japanese music.