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December 3, 2012

UMS Night School: 100 Years of UMS at Hill


Photo: Hill Auditorium’s first audience, May 14, 1913.

This year, UMS Night School focuses on 100 years of UMS at Hill Auditorium and illuminates the special history behind the great performers and performances that have shaped our community. These 90-minute “classes” combine conversation, interactive exercises, and “lectures” with genre experts to draw you into the themes behind each performance. Professor Mark Clague joins us again as host and resident scholar.

Night School Syllabus

Session 8: Going Greek: Milhaud’s Oresteia of Aeschylus and 100 Years of UMS/School of Music Collaborations

Ralph Williams, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Michigan, gave a lecture on the Oresteia of Aeschylus prior to a UMS Choral Union rehearsal. The UMS Choral Union performs as part of Darius Milhaud’s Oresteia of Aeschylus on April 4.

Also, we interviewed composer William Bolcom, who studied with Darius Milhaud, Kenneth Kiesler, conductor, Jerry Blackstone, chorus master, and Joseph Gramley, co-director of percussion.

Session 6: Sing Out: Soloists at Hill

Richard LeSueur’s picks for Great Soloists: First Half of 20th Century

Enrico Caruso

Jasha Heifetz

Vladimir Horowitz

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Richard LeSueur’s picks for Great Soloists: Second Half of 20th Century

Joan Sutherland

Itzak Perlman

Jessye Norman

Yo-Yo Ma

From the Hill Auditorium Celebration
Complete “Saturday Morning Physics” lecture on Hill Auditorium Acoustics

Session 4: Jazz in the Hall

Night School speaker Mark Stryker’s “Detroit drummer Karriem Riggins makes his mark in jazz, hip-hop” in the Detroit Free Press.

From UMS Lobby, the Detroit Sound Conservancy shares their top 5 picks for must-see Detroit music locations. Karriem Riggins tells us what he’s been listening to lately.

Session 3: HILL-ELUJAH! The Messiah and UMS Traditions at Hill

Resources provided by UMS archivist Richard LeSueur.

Richard’s Messiah History

A few memorable Hallelujah chorus performances:

Sir Thomas Beecham (re-orchestrated):

Mormon Tabernacle Choir (large chorus):

Trevor Pinnock (small chorus):

Richard LeSueur’s recommended complete recordings of Messiah:

  • Trevor Pinnock-Archiv 423 630-2 (superb soloists; wonderful sense of baroque style)
  • Charles Mackerras-EMI 69449 (wonderful, small scale performance)
  • Colin Davis-Philips 438 356-2 (slightly larger group, excellent soloists)
  • Neville Marriner-Decca 444 824-2 (excellent performance)
  • Andrew Davis-EMI 17645 (famous soloists)
  • Thomas Beecham-RCA 61266 (re-orchestrated; very large chorus and orchestra)
  • elmuth Rilling-Hänssler Classics 98434 (Mozart orchestration, sung in German)

And, check out this lovely preview and history of the Messiah on

Session 2: Riot! 100 Years of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring
Related Material:

Joffrey Ballet’s Reconstruction of the original Nijinksy Rite of Spring

  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill’s “The Rite of Spring at 100” project website.
  • “Stravinksy the Global Dance” web databaseof all known versions of “Rite”
  • Film mentioned by Christian Matjias-Mecca, “Stravinsky: Once at a Border”
  • Stravinksy Bibliography provided by Jeff Lyman and Beth Genne(of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance).
  • Igor Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps Dossier de Presse/Press-Book.Collected by François Lesure. Editions Minkoff, Geneva, 1980: A collection of newspaper clippings, reviews, etc., in several languages, all of which address the first performances of The Rite of Spring in Paris, London, and in many other cities around the world. This is a true “first hand” guide for those of you interested in how the work was received initially.
  • A Stravinsky Scrapbook 1940-1971. Robert Craft. Thames and Hudson, 1983 and Igor and Vera Stravinsky: A Photograph Album 1921-1971. Robert Craft. Thames and Hudson, 1982.Both of these books were assembled and annotated by Stravinsky’s assistant Robert Craft. While they may look like “coffee table books” at first, they are full of gems of information on a number of fronts, and I’ve looked to these for the many hidden facts and leads that I alluded to the other evening. You can read about the kind of life that Stravinsky led as a celebrity as well as a composer, and you can find plenty of timely information about his compositions after the “Big 3 Ballets,” his conducting engagements around the world, his recordings, and about his very busy life simply being Stravinsky.
  • Stravinsky: The Composer and His Works. Eric Walter White.University of California Press, 1984. This is the most complete general reference work on all of Stravinsky’s compositions. In it you’ll find information on the date and circumstances of each work, the instrumentation, a brief description, some performance and recording history, etc. It may lead you to more works by the composer that you’ve not yet had a chance to encounter.
  • Proof Through the Night: Music and the Great War. Glenn Watkins. University of California Press, 2003.
    Many of you know our Professor Emeritus of Music Glenn Watkins, who you may recall was a good personal friend of Stravinsky. (Stravinsky in fact wrote the foreword to Watkins’ first book on the composer Gesualdo.) This book includes interesting chapters on Stravinsky’s work during the period of World War I, and how the circumstances of the war affected his music in style, in orchestration, in subject matter and more. In addition, the chapter on Ravel and especially the discussion of Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand will have you rushing to your cd players to hear the work again.
  • For all of the composer’s recordings of his own music, search the terms “Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky” and “Sony Classical.”Sony Classical took over Columbia Records, and Columbia was the company with which Stravinsky was contracted to make many of his recordings. They are all available on CD and via digital downloads.
  • Stravinsky’s assistant Robert Craft began a series of recordings in the early 1990s with the plan to re-record all of Stravinsky’s works, from the most famous to the most obscure, and in every version of those that had been revised by the composer. I’m not sure he has finished it yet, and it has gone through a series of companies, some of which are no longer in business. Many of them are available on the Naxos label, others on MusicMasters, still others on Koch.

Other materials of interest:

  • Stephanie Jordan, Moving Music, London: Dance Books (chap on Balanchine)
  • Stephanie Jordan, Stravinsky Dances, London: Dance Books, 2011)
  • Charles Joseph: Stravinsky and Balanchine, New Haven: Yale University Press (2002; paperback 2011)
  • Charles Joseph: Stravinsky’s Ballets, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011 or 12
  • The Dance Element in Strawinsky’s Music.’ In ‘Strawinsky in the Theatre: A Symposium,’ edited by Minna
  • Lederman. Dance Index 6:10, 11, 12 (October-December 1947), 250-56. Reprinted in Stravinsky in the
  • Theatre, edited by Minna Lederman. New York: Pellegrini & Cudahy, 1949, pp. 75-84.
  • George Balanchine: “The Dance Element in Music in Lederman, Minnie

Session 1: Iconic Hill: Culture, Community, and the Concert Hall
Related Material: