Celebrating our 137th season!

UMS was selected as one of the 2014 recipients of the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest public artistic honor, awarded annually by the president of the United States at the White House to those who have “demonstrated a lifetime of creative excellence,” according to the National Endowment for the Arts, which oversees the selection process. In the photo above, UMS president Ken Fischer receives the award.

Housed on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, UMS is one of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country, committed to connecting audiences with performing artists from around the world in uncommon and engaging experiences.

With a program steeped in music, dance, and theater, UMS contributes to a vibrant cultural community by presenting approximately 60-75 performances and over 100 free educational activities each season. UMS also commissions new work, sponsors artist residencies, and organizes collaborative projects with local, national, and international partners.


The center of all that is UMS. We believe in the power of world class performing arts to inspire, transform, and connect individuals with transcendent experiences. From the illustrious to the unknown, from the traditional to the experimental, UMS opens the doors to a fascinating journey, full of new discoveries.


The performing arts are not a one way experience, but a conversation in which you participate. Our programs feature audience participation events, online dialogue through umslobby.org, community events, and so much more. We hope UMS lives beyond the walls of our venues and becomes part of our thinking, our memories, and our lives.


Learning is core to UMS’s mission, and it is our joy to provide creative learning experiences for our entire community. Every season, we offer a spectrum of Education and Community Engagement activities focusing on K-12 students, teachers, teens, university students, families, adults, and cultural and ethnic communities. We exist to create a spark in each person, young and old alike, exposing them to things they haven’t before seen, and leaving them with an ongoing and lifelong passion for creativity and the performing arts.

Leaders & Best in Performing Arts Since 1879

UMS Hill Auditorium Documentary

Hill Auditorium celebrated 100 years in 2013. Our documentary film A Space for Music, A Seat for Everyone: 100 Years of UMS Performances in Hill Auditorium premiered on Detroit Public Television (WTVS) in May 2013. Learn more about the documentary.

Learn more about supporting the various programs UMS has to offer.

  • Mission & History
  • To inspire individuals and enrich communities by connecting audiences and artists in uncommon and engaging experiences.

    Through an uncompromising commitment to Presentation, Education, and the Creation of new work, the University Musical Society (UMS) serves Michigan audiences by bringing to our community an ongoing series of world-class artists, who represent the diverse spectrum of today’s vigorous and exciting live performing arts world. For more than a century, strong leadership, coupled with a devoted community, has placed UMS in a league of internationally-recognized performing arts presenters.

    While proudly affiliated with the University of Michigan, housed on the Ann Arbor campus, and a regular collaborator with many University units, UMS is a separate not-for-profit organization that supports itself from ticket sales, corporate and individual contributions, foundation and government grants, special project support from the University of Michigan, and endowment income.

    UMS grew from a group of local university and townspeople who gathered together for the study of Handel’s Messiah. Led by Professor Henry Frieze and conducted by Professor Calvin Cady, the group assumed the name The Choral Union. Their first performance of Handel’s Messiah was in December of 1879, and this glorious oratorio has since been performed by the UMS Choral Union annually.

    As a large number of Choral Union members also belonged to the University, the University Musical Society was established in December 1880. UMS included the Choral Union and University Orchestra, and throughout the year presented a series of concerts featuring local and visiting artists and ensembles.

    Since that first season in 1880, UMS has expanded greatly and now presents the very best from the full spectrum of the performing arts, including internationally renowned recitalists and orchestras, dance and chamber ensembles, jazz and world music performers, and opera and theatre. Through educational endeavors, commissioning of new works, youth programs, artist residencies and other collaborative projects, UMS has maintained its reputation for quality, artistic distinction and innovation. UMS now hosts approximately 75 performances and more than 100 educational events each season.

  • UMS Hill Auditorium Documentary
  • Hill Auditorium documentary DVD image with film festival laurels

    Feature Documentary

    Please note: To turn close captioning on or off, click “play” and then click “CC” in bottom right corner of video. For optimal viewing, we recommend a non-mobile device. 

    A Space for Music, A Seat for Everyone:
    100 Years of UMS Performances in Hill Auditorium

    Winner “Best Historical Documentary” Michigan EMMY Award!

    One of the most celebrated venues in the United States, Hill Auditorium, located on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, opened on May 14, 1913.

    Designed by the renowned architect Albert Kahn and boasting one of the world’s finest acoustical designs, Hill Auditorium has been a true cultural incubator for the arts community in southeast Michigan for the past 100 years. With a rich history of performances by the world’s top artists, Hill Auditorium is a shining example of how investment in the arts cultivates a vibrant, engaged community.

    In many ways, Hill Auditorium is more than a gathering place for music enthusiasts; it has been the beating heart of civic life in Ann Arbor for a century and has created a self-perpetuating reputation for attracting top talent to the venue, the university, and the city itself. Through concert recordings, news articles, and anecdotal interviews, A Space for Music, A Seat for Everyone: 100 Years of UMS Performances in Hill Auditorium provides historical context for the auditorium’s role as UMS’s primary concert venue and highlights its evolving community function.

    Length and format: 57 minutes, widescreen, HD.


    Festivals Appearances

    NYC Independent Film Festival
    October 19, 2013, New York, NY

    Made-in-Michigan Film Festival
    October 19, 2013, Frankfurt, MI
    Winner! Best Documentary Feature

    Uptown Film Festival
    November 7, 2013, Birmingham, MI

    East Lansing Film Festival
    November 10, 2013, East Lansing, MI – Lake MI Film Competition
    Winner! Best Documentary


    Executive Producers
    UMS, AnnArbor.com & MLive Media Group, Detroit Public Television

    Producer, Director, Editor and Writer
    Sophia Kruz

    Anna Prushinskaya, Truly Render

    Pamela Lewis

    Supervising Sound Editor
    Rishi Daftuar

    Original Score
    Howard White

    Sponsored by

    Presented with support from:

  • Jobs
    No positions at this time.

    Teaching Artists (Independent Contractor)

    Click here for information about internships & volunteer opportunities at UMS.

  • Internships & Volunteer Opportunities
  • Work study and volunteer internship opportunities with the University Musical Society provide valuable experience in all areas of arts management, including performing arts production, education, administration, ticket sales, programming, development, and marketing.

    21st Century Artist Internships

    The deadline for 2016 has passed.

    Open to U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance sophomore and junior students, this arts internship program will take place in the summer of 2016. Chosen through a competitive application process, each student fellow will intern for 5-7 weeks between May and August 2016 with  a professional dance, theater, or music ensemble that UMS plans to present during the 2016-17 season. UMS presents ensembles from all over the world, though many will be based  in major metropolitan areas in the USA. The scope and dates of the internship will be  negotiated by UMS with each ensemble and then negotiated with the student prior to their acceptance of the position.  When matching interns with ensembles, the student’s personal interests will be considered along with the availability of the ensembles. The complete UMS  season will be announced April 16, 2016.

    Download Application Form

    Seasonal Internships

    Seasonal internships (September-April) are filled as needed. You may click on the job descriptions below to view position details. Please contact Kathy Brown at kmabrown@umich.edu for current availability.

    Submission of Applications for Work Study/Volunteer Internships:

    Applications will be considered for all open Work Study/Internship positions within the organization. Therefore, you only need to submit one combined cover letter and resume when applying for a position. Please indicate which position is your primary and secondary choice. Preferred applicants will be those students who apply by September 1st. However, we will continue to accept applications after September 1, but there is no guarantee the positions will be available after that date.

    Students who receive college work-study as part of their financial aid package may apply for any positions listed below and be paid up to the amount of their work-study award.  All internships are unpaid if you do not have a work-study award.  Please indicate if you have a federal work study classification and the amount of your work study award.  Also, please indicate when you will be arriving on campus and available for interviews.

    Please click on the job descriptions below to view more information on positions that may be available.

    ** Ticket Office Customer Service Assistant Work Study
    Education/Community Engagement Work Study/Volunteer Intern
    Production/Artist Services Work Study/Volunteer Intern
    Marketing – Graphic Design Work Study/Volunteer Intern
    Marketing – General Marketing Work Study/Volunteer Intern

    To apply, please forward your combined cover letter and resume to umsinternships@umich.edu.

    **If you would prefer to apply for the position of the Ticket Services Office ONLY, please contact Christina Bellows, Assitant Ticket Services Manager, at cbellows@umich.edu or 734-615-0581.

    Volunteer Opportunities

    Click here for information on volunteering for UMS.

  • UMS Support of the Arts
  • Commissions, New Productions & World and U.S. Premieres


    Nearly four decades after it was first performed and 20 years since its last production, Einstein on the Beach will be reconstructed for a major international tour; the Ann Arbor 2012 (January 20 – 22, 2012) preview performances of Einstein on the Beach mark the first time — and likely only time — that this production will be performed in the Midwest. As a co-commissioner of this revival, the University Musical Society (UMS) hosted the entire Einstein on the Beach company for an intensive three-week technical rehearsal residency leading up to the preview performances.

    New Work, André Previn. Commissioned for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano, John Harbison. Commissioned for Cho-Liang Lin. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    On 1/29/2012, presented the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars). Conducted by Jeffrey Tate, this performance is accompanied by an art film by the Israeli contemporary artist, Daniel Landau. The UMS presentation this will be the U.S. premiere of this presentation.


    Paul Taylor Dance Company premiered a reconstruction of the 1966 work, Orbs on 10/8/2010.

    In 1960 a group of avant-garde composers came together in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to present the ONCE Festival, a modestly-scaled, artist-run event that would occur annually for several years and came to have an enormous impact on the American contemporary music scene. In early November of 2010, UMS celebrated the 50th anniversary of this game-changing performance with a festival comprised of two concerts; a symposium; a large-scale public lecture; an exhibition of visual images and manuscripts; a dynamic multi-sensory installation featuring work by musicians, composers, performance artists; and a digital “self-guided” tour of the project.

    Sextet for Strings, Lera Auerbach. Commissioned for members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.


    The Royal Shakespere Company (RSC) sent playwrights, directors, actors, a voice coach, a dramaturg, and others to the U-M campus for an 11 day “Creative Residency” in March of 2010 to consult with our faculty, to cooperate in classes, to present classes, to engage our students in various ways in their creative activity, and, as a cap to their presence here, to present readings of three original plays that explored the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.

    Three Pieces for Piano, Bernard Rands. Commissioned for Jonathan Biss. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.


    Théâtre de Complicité: A Disappearing Number (2007). Written and directed by Simon McBurney. The UMS performances (9/10-14) marked this production’s U.S. premiere.

    Remembering Muir Bshir & the Baghdad Conservatory of Music, a concert Omar Bashir, Farida and the Iraqi Maqam Ensemble, and Rahim AlHaj. This 10/4/08 performance was a new production, organized by UMS in celebration of the 08/09 global focus on the Arab World.

    The Anatomy of a Box, Stefon Harris. Commissioned for Stefon Harris and the Imani Winds. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    Mohammed Bennis and the Hmadcha Ensemble from Morocco performed in the U-M Museum of Art, presented by UMS on 4/18 & 4/19 of 2009. These performances were new productions that marked the artists’ U.S. premiere.


    Vignettes: Covered Wagon Woman, Alan Louis Smith. Commissioned for Stephanie Blythe, Warren Jones and members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    Piano Septet, Mario Davidovsky. Commissioned for the Gilbert Kalish and members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    String Quartet No. 5 (‘The Miraculous’), Bright Sheng. Commissioned for the Emerson String Quartet, who performed its U.S. premiere on 1/4/08 in Ann Arbor. UMS co-commission with the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Stanford University.

    Octet: Double Quartet, William Bolcom. Commissioned for the Guarneri and Johannes String Quartets; performed by them on 2/9/08 in Ann Arbor. UMS co-commission with the Music Accord .

    Magyar Madness, David Del Tredici. Commissioned for the Orion String Quartet and David Krakauer, clarinet; performed by them on 3/5/08 in Ann Arbor. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    singing in the dead of night, David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe. Commissioned for eighth blackbird; performed by them on 4/10/08 in Ann Arbor. UMS co-commission with the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance; Millennium Park, Chicago; Jebediah Foundation; Frederica and James S. Rosenfield (specifically towards work of David Lang); and San Francisco Performances.


    Bay of Pigs, Michael Daugherty. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    Trio Sinfonia, Kevin Puts. Commissioned for the Eroica Trio. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    My Other Song, Bright Sheng. Commissioned for Yefim Bronfman, piano. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.


    Forbidden Christmas or The Doctor and The Patient, Starring Mikhail Baryshnikov. Written and Directed by Rezo Gabriadze. Produced by Baryshnikov Dance Foundation. UMS co-commission with the Guthrie Theater, the Spoleto Festival USA, Cal Performances, Lincoln Center Festival for the Performing Arts, The Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and UCLA Live.


    Arboresque, composed by Palestinian-American musician and composer Simon Shaheen. UMS co-commission (with Continental Harmony) and World Premiere.

    New work commissioned for Hilary Hahn. UMS Co-Commission.

    New work commissioned for Richard Goode. UMS Co-Commission.

    Purple Syllables, Augusta Read Thomas. Commissioned for Chanticleer. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.


    blessing the boats, Sekou Sundiata. UMS co-commission with Aaron Davis Hall’s Fund for New Work; New Heritage Theatre Group; Miami Dade Community College in partnership with the Flynn Center for the Arts and the National Performance Network Creation Fund (sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation); and Duke University Institute of the Arts, Durham, NC.

    An Eveningsong Special, Sweet Honey in the Rock with Toshi Reagon & Big Lovely. UMS co-commission (with the University of Michigan) and world première.

    Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Royal Shakespeare Company. UMS co-production with the University of Michigan and the Company. .A UMS U.S. première.

    Atelier, Hubbard Street Dance Company. Choreographed by Lucas Crandall. UMS Co-Commission (not completed for performance).

    New solo work by Bright Sheng commissioned for Yefim Bronfman. Should be completed in 2004 and will be part of Bronfman’s 06/07 tour. UMS Co-Commission.

    New work by Osvaldo Golijov commissioned for the Kronos Quartet. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    Atelier, Lucas Crandall . Choreographed for Hubbard Street Dance Company. UMS co-commission.


    Hallelujah: In Praise of Paradise Lost and Found, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. UMS was part of a large consortium of national supporters that co-commissioned various components of the Hallelujah project.

    Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Peter Sparling Dance Company, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, and UMS Choral Union. UMS co-production with the Company.

    Rome & Jewels, Rennie Harris Puremovement. UMS co-commission with the Bates Dance Festival, Columbus Association for Performing Arts, and the University of Texas-Austin.

    Happiness, Laurie Anderson. UMS co-commission with Cal Performances, University of California-Berkeley; Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College; PICA and Leslie B. Durst, Portland, OR; University of Florida Performing Arts, Gainesville; UCSB Arts & Lectures, Santa Barbara; Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Scottsdale; and Society for the Performing Arts, Houston.

    William Bolcom’s From the Diary of Sally Hemings co-commissioned for Harolyn Blackwell and Florence Quivar using the poetry of Sandra Seaton. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    New work by Michael Daugherty commissioned for Manuel Barrueco. The work, entitled Bay of Pigs, received its world premiere in July 2006, and received its UMS premiere on November 19, 2006. UMS Co-Commission

    New work commissioned for Thomas Hampson (composer tba). Expected to be included in Hampson’s Fall 2006 tour. UMS Co-Commission.

    Joan Panetti’s Piano Quintet commissioned for the Tokyo String Quartet. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.


    Boundaries, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Margot Greenlee and Vincent Thomas, Choreographers. Performed by All City Men’s Group. UMS Commission.

    Edda: Viking Tales of Lust, Revenge and Family, Benjamin Bagby and Ping Chong. UMS co-commission and co-production with the 2001 Lincoln Center Festival, New York in association with Ping Chong and Company.

    The Histories (Henry VI, Parts 1, 2 & 3, and Richard III), Royal Shakespeare Company. UMS co-production with the University of Michigan and the Company.

    Davenen, Pilobolus with the Klezmatics. UMS Co-Commission.

    Libby Larsen’s A word from your Jenny commissioned for Barbara Bonney. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    Sonata by Tan Dun commissioned for Cho-Liang Lin scheduled to be completed in 2007. UMS Co-Commission.


    Moby Dick, Laurie Anderson. UMS Co-Commission.

    Vers la flamme, Martha Clarke. UMS Co-Commission.

    New work by Peter Liberson commissioned for Pamela Frank and Peter Serkin. UMS Co-Commission.

    Bruce Adolphe’s A Thousand Years of Love commissioned for Sylvia McNair. UMS Co-Commission with Music Accord.

    Steve Mackey’s Ars Moriendi commissioned for Borremeo Quartet. UMS Co-Commission.


    How! Do! We! Do! A new work by Bill T. Jones and Jessye Norman. UMS Co-Commission.

    New work by Nicholas Maw commissioned for Emanuel Ax. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    Kenneth Fuch’s Quartet No. 3 Whispers of Heavenly Death co-commissioned for the American String Quartet. World Premiere.

    Lukas Foss’s String Quartet No. 5 commissioned for the Guarneri String Quartet. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.


    Wynton Marsalis’ A Fiddler’s Tale, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center. World Premiere.

    Tobias Picker’s Suite commissioned for Lynn Harrell. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    Elliott Carter’s Quintet for Piano and String Quartet commissioned for Arditti String Quartet & Ursula Oppens. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.

    Jake Heggie’s Songs to the Moon commissioned for Frederica von Stade. UMS co-commission with Music Accord.


    William Bolcom’s song cycle, Briefly it Enters, commissioned for Benita Valente and Cynthia Raim (piano). World Premiere and UMS Co-Commission.

    The Harlem Nutcracker, choreographed by Donald Byrd for Donald Byrd/The Group. UMS Co-Commission.


    Osvaldo Golijov’s The Dream and Prayers of Isaac the Blind commissioned for the Cleveland String Quartet. UMS Co-Commission.


    Christopher Stookey’s Psalm of Life commissioned for the King s Singers 25th Anniversary Concert. World Premiere and UMS Commission.

    R. Murray Schafer’s Tristan and Iseult, King’s Singers. World Premiere.


    William Bolcom’s Sonata for Cello and Piano commissioned for Yo-Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax. UMS Co-Commission.

    Danzalta commissioned for the Miami City Ballet. Choreographer Jimmy Gamonet de los Heros. UMS Co-Commission.


    Donald Bryant’s Genesis commissioned for UMS Choral Union, soloists, and orchestra for the Donald Bryant Tribute Concert. UMS Commission.

  • Transparency
  • As a nonprofit organization that is funded in part by contributions from individuals, corporations, private foundations, and government agencies, UMS strives to be as transparent as possible to the people and agencies that help support us.  The following links offer more detailed information about UMS, including our recent accomplishments, our finances, and our plans for the future.

  • Accessibility
  • UMS is committed to making all facets of our organization accessible to the widest possible audience. This includes our websites, performance venues, and event spaces.

    • We prioritize accessibility at all of our performance venues. Learn about the accessibility features of our venues. Please contact our ticket office at 734.764.2538 or umstix@umich.edu with questions about any of our performance venues. Relay calls are welcome as well via the Michigan Relay Service. Dial  711 to use the Michigan Relay Service.
    • Please contact Shannon Fitzsimons at 734.764.3903 or skfitz@umich.edu with any questions regarding accessibility at any of our Education or Community Engagement events.
    • Please contact Cindy Straub at 734.647.8009 or cstraub@umich.edu with any questions regarding accessibility at any of our Development events.
    • We continually review and modify our websites to improve accessibility for people who use assistive technology or who have special needs. Many web browsers also offer accessibility features. Learn more: ChromeFirefoxInternet ExplorerSafari.
    • Please let us know how we might better accommodate you. We invite you to submit feedback on our accessibility practices online via our online submission form.