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September 2, 2020

September and October Digital Events


As an organization whose mission is predicated on bringing people together for shared creative and artistic experiences, we want to assure you that while we can’t gather in-person in our venues right now, we are still passionate about ensuring that you have access to incredible, thought-provoking arts experiences in the digital space, all of which are being created specifically for UMS audiences.

All of our digital presentations are free-of-charge to audiences everywhere. Please join us for these upcoming programs, and sign up to receive email notifications of new presentations and live streams.

Sir Simon Rattle
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Centenary Concert

Sir Simon Rattle, conductor
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello
Roopa Panesar, sitar
Adrian Lester, host

Online Event premieres Saturday, September 5 at 2 pm Eastern
Available on demand through September

While our live performance with CBSO this October was canceled, we’re delighted to bring their Centenary Concert to UMS audiences. When CBSO gave its first concert in 1920, it was a gamble: a city recovering from war and pandemic had put its faith in the power of music to enrich the lives of all its citizens. The concert features specially-filmed live performances, interviews with conductors past and present, and music by Elgar, Schumann, Saint-Saëns, Hannah Kendall, and A.R. Rahman, closing with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.

Paul Taylor Dance Company in 'Promethean Fire'
Paul Taylor: Celebrate the Dancemaker

Streaming On Demand Friday, September 11 – Monday, September 21

University of Michigan dance historian and educator Angela Kane and Paul Taylor Dance Company artistic director Michael Novak host a unique viewing experience that celebrates the mind, work, and legacy of one of the world’s greatest dance makers: Paul Taylor.

Kane and Novak will take audiences through rarely-seen footage of several iconic Taylor works, culminating in a full viewing of his 2002 Promethean Fire — arguably one of his greatest artistic achievements, created in the wake of 9/11 and proclaiming that even after a cataclysmic event, the human spirit finds renewal and emerges triumphant.

After watching Paul Taylor: Celebrate the Dancemaker, join hosts Angela Kane and Michael Novak for a Q&A on Paul Taylor’s work.

Live Chat with Angela Kane and Michael Novak on Facebook
Monday, September 21 at 7:30 pm

Matthew VanBesien and Versell SmithBehind the Scenes: Q&A with UMS President Matthew VanBesien

Wednesday, September 16 at 5:30 pm

UMS Board member Versell Smith chats with Matthew VanBesien about UMS’s upcoming plans for the fall and how the organization continues to adapt to the current circumstances. Viewers will be able to submit questions.

Ken Fischer holding his new book
Virtual Book Launch with Ken Fischer

Tuesday, September 22 at 7 pm

UMS President Emeritus sits down with local author, speaker, tv and radio commentator, and longtime friend John U. Bacon to talk about his new book Everybody In, Nobody Out: Inspiring Community at Michigan’s University Musical Society. Published by University of Michigan Press with a wonderful foreword by Wynton Marsalis, the book highlights many of Ken’s wonderful stories from his three decades at the helm of UMS.

Co-presented by

Literati BookstoreUniversity of Michigan Press Great Lakes

Many thanks to Tom and Debby MuMullen for their lead gift in support of this book.

UMS Digital Residences
Digital Artist Residency Kickoff Events — Plus, Additional Artists Announced!

Part 1: Tuesday, September 29 at 5:30 pm
(Wendell Pierce, Tunde Olaniran, and Cleo Parker Robinson)

Part 2: Wednesday, September 30 at 12 noon
(Joyce DiDonato, Brian Lobel and Gweneth-Ann Rand, Tarek Yamani and the Spektral Quartet)

In July, we announced that Wendell Pierce, Joyce DiDonato, and Brian Lobel would participate in our new Digital Artist Residency program. We’re pleased to announce that dancer/choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson, Flint-based musician and artist Tunde Olaniran, and composer and jazz artist Tarek Yamani,who will work on a collaborative project with the Spektral Quartet, will also join the residency cohort.

Join us as we kick off UMS’s Digital Artist Residencies, hearing directly from the artists who will be working with us this season to create unique content, including performance and participatory experiences made specifically for the digital frame plus casual artist interactions with our audiences. You’ll also have a rare chance to discover behind-the-scenes creative development as it unfolds into a finished project. At these kickoff events, meet each artist and learn about the focus of each of their residencies, how they are responding creatively to current events, and how that translates into creating art that can live in both the digital and live performances spaces.

Lead Presenting Sponsors: Tim and Sally Petersen

Supporting Sponsors: Julia Darlow and John O’Meara, and Anne and Paul Glendon

Patron Sponsors: Stephen and Rosamund Forrest, Beverley and Gerson Geltner, and Susan and Richard Gutow

Funded in part by: UMS Sustaining Directors

Takacs Quartet
Takács Quartet Concert

Digital Premiere: Wednesday, October 21 at 7:30 pm
Streaming on demand through Saturday, October 24

Due to current State of Michigan guidelines, we are converting the Takács Quartet concerts scheduled for October 16-18 to a free digital presentation. The concert will premiere on Wednesday, October 21 at 7:30 pm and will remain available on demand through Saturday, October 24. The program will include works by Florence Price, Mozart, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Bartók, and Debussy.


Mozart – String Quartet in d minor, K. 421/417b (Mvt. i)
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – Five Fantasiestücke, Op, 5 (Mvts. i, iii)
Florence Price – String Quartet No. 2 in a minor (Mvt. ii)
Bartók – Quartet No. 1 (Mvt. iii)
Debussy – Quartet (Mvts. iii, iv)

Exclusive Endowment Support: Ilene H. Forsyth Chamber Arts Endowment Fund
Patron Sponsors: Ed and Natalie Surovell

Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Isata Kanneh-Mason Recital

Digital Premiere: Sunday, October 25 at 2 pm with live Q&A with the artists after the concert
Streaming on demand through Wednesday, November 4

In lieu of the City of Birmingham Orchestra and Chorus’ canceled 2020/21 tour featuring soloist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, UMS will present sibling cello/piano duo Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason in a free digital performance recorded specifically for UMS audiences. The program will include an excerpt from Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in C Major and Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata. Both artists will join UMS audiences in a live chat after the digital premiere.

Patron Sponsor: Braylon Edwards

UMS Choral Union
A Grand Night for Singing Virtual Watch Party

Digital Premiere: Thursday, October 29 at 8 pm

The UMS Choral Union joins the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance Choirs, Women’s Glee Club, and Men’s Club for this virtual event of choral music, music theater, and solo vocal performances that celebrate the power of community and the human voice. The concert will feature both archival and newly recorded virtual performances of both traditional and social justice songs by vocalists from across the U-M campus.