University Symphony Orchestra
UMS Choral Union
Kenneth Kiesler, conductor
Sophie Delphis, speaker
Julianna Di Giacomo, soprano
Lori Phillips, soprano
Brenda Rae, soprano
Kristin Eder, mezzo-soprano
Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano
Jennifer Lane, contralto
Dan Kempson, baritone
Sidney Outlaw, baritone
How to commemorate 100 years of collaboration? In honor of Hill Auditorium we offer a performance to celebrate.
When Hill Auditorium was first built, UMS was the organization that oversaw the School of Music, a situation that held true until the early 1940s, when UMS transferred oversight of the School of Music to the University of Michigan. To commemorate 100 years of collaboration, we celebrate with a massive orchestral and choral work, Darius Milhaud’s Oresteia of Aeschylus, set for vocal soloists, chorus, orchestra, and a battery of percussion instruments. Based on the plays by Aeschylus and the only trilogy in Greek drama that has survived from antiquity, it relates the bloody chain of murder and revenge within the royal family of Argos. The work has rarely been performed in its entirety and will be recorded for international release. The concert and recording feature ensembles from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance alongside the UMS Choral Union and a cast of soloists, all conducted by U-M’s Kenneth Kiesler.
Program Book [PDF]
Oresteia of Aeschylus, translated into French by Paul Claudel.
Performed in French with simultaneous translation.
Director of Orchestras and Professor of Conducting at U-M School of Music, Theater & Dance since 1995, Kenneth Kiesler is founder and director of the Conductors Retreat at Medomak and Conductor Laureate of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra where, as Music Director from 1980 to 2000, he founded the Illinois Symphony Chorus and Illinois Chamber Orchestra, led debuts at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and won several awards. Since the summer of 2006, at the invitation of Music Director Pinchas Zukerman, he has been Director of the Conductors Programme of Canada’s National Arts Centre. In 2007, he was named Director of the Vendome International Academy of Orchestral Conducting in France. Kiesler also leads masterclasses and courses for the Philharmonisches Kammer Orchester Berlin and Deutsches Musikrat in Germany. His students have won major international competitions such as the Maazel/Vilar and Nicolai Malko Competitions, and hold positions with major orchestras, opera companies, and music schools. Kiesler is a member of the visiting artist faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and has led many master classes for the ASOL and Conductors’ Guild, at Oxford University and Royal Academy of Music in London.
He was the recipient of the 1988 Helen M. Thompson Award, presented by the American Symphony Orchestra League to the outstanding American Music Director under the age of 35. He was an honored participant in the Leonard Bernstein American Conductors Program and conducted the Ensemble Intercontemporain in sessions with Pierre Boulez at Carnegie Hall. At the 1986 Stokowski Competition, he was awarded the Silver Medal by Maurice Abravanel, and special recognition for best performance of Appalachian Spring, by Morton Gould.
Throughout its 134-year history, the University Musical Society Choral Union has performed with many of the world’s distinguished orchestras and conductors. Based in Ann Arbor under the aegis of the University Musical Society (UMS), the 175-voice Choral Union is known for its definitive performances of large-scale works for chorus and orchestra.
Formed by a group of local university and townspeople who gathered together for the study of Handel’s Messiah, the UMS Choral Union has performed with many of the world’s distinguished orchestras and conductors in its 133-year history. First led by Professor Henry Simmons Frieze and conducted by Professor Calvin Cady, the group assumed the name The Choral Union. Since its first performance of Handel’s Messiah in December 1879, the oratorio has been performed by the UMS Choral Union in Ann Arbor annually. Based in Ann Arbor under the aegis of UMS, the 175-voice Choral Union is known for its definitive performances of large-scale works for chorus and orchestra. Sixteen years ago, the UMS Choral Union further enriched that tradition when it began appearing regularly with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO).
Led by Grammy Award-winning conductor and music director Jerry Blackstone, the UMS Choral Union was a participant chorus in a rare performance and recording of William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience in Hill Auditorium in April 2004 under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. Naxos released a three-disc set of this recording in October 2004, featuring the UMS Choral Union and U-M School of Music ensembles. The recording won four Grammy Awards in 2006, including “Best Choral Performance” and “Best Classical Album.” The recording was also selected as one of The New York Times “Best Classical Music CDs of 2004.”
The University Symphony Orchestra has earned a reputation as one of the leading student orchestras in the country. Recordings by the USO include four CDs of excerpts from operas sponsored by the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music; Bolcom Bassett Daugherty, a CD showcasing three of the School’s most prolific and celebrated composition faculty, and Songs of Innocence and of Experience.