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September 3, 2015

UMS Honored with National Medal of Arts

By Sara Billmann

We are thrilled and honored to announce that the University Musical Society (UMS) has been selected as one of the 2014 recipients of the National Medal of Arts, announced by the White House today. The award will be presented on Thursday, September 10 at 3:45 pm at the White House. Read full press release

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. The National Medal of Arts is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who “are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.”

national medal of artsSaid UMS president Ken Fischer: “We are simply ecstatic to be selected as a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. For over a century, UMS has had an uncompromising commitment to presenting a diverse roster of legendary artists, to developing students at the University of Michigan and beyond, and to commissioning new work that we hope will influence arts enthusiasts for decades to come. We are proud to join the legion of national arts luminaries who have inspired and served many generations of arts lovers — and we are proud of our community, whose unwavering support for the arts makes this work possible.”

Through an uncompromising commitment to presentation, education, and the creation of new work in the performing arts, the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan (UMS) serves Midwest audiences by bringing to the Ann Arbor campus and Southeast Michigan region an ongoing series of world- class artists, who represent the diverse spectrum of today’s vigorous and exciting worlds of live dance, theater, and music. UMS’s mission is to inspire individuals and enrich communities by connecting audiences and artists in uncommon and engaging experiences. Since its founding 137 years ago, strong leadership, coupled with outstanding venues, authentic artistic and community collaborations, dynamic education programs, and enduring commitment to excellence, has placed UMS in a league of internationally-recognized performing arts presenters.

In addition to UMS, other recipients of the 2014 National Medal of Arts are U-M Emeritus Professor and operatic tenor George Shirley (who has performed under UMS auspices five times since 1973), Meredith Monk (three UMS performances in 2000 and 2012 with the San Francisco Symphony), and Ping Chong (whose theater company performed Edda with Benjamin Bagby in 2001).

Want more award information? The award ceremony will take place next Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 3:45 pm at the White House and will be available via live stream.

Members of the media interested in more information about the program should contact Sara Billmann, UMS Director of Marketing & Communications, at Read full press release.