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October 2, 2020

Fall 2020 Digital Events


While we’re disappointed to share the news that we are unable to host any in-person concerts for the remainder of calendar year 2020, we have put together many special and engaging digital “pivots” just for you — some programs that we hope will continue to give you your cultural fix over the coming months.

All of our digital presentations are free-of-charge to audiences everywhere, and we hope that you will share them with friends and family near and far. Please join us for these upcoming programs, and sign up to receive email notifications of new presentations and live streams.

Kira Thurman and Harumi Rhodes
A Conversation with Kira Thurman

Available from Monday, October 19

Kira Thurman, U-M Professor of History and Germanic Languages and Literature and author of the forthcoming book Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, is a classically-trained pianist who grew up in Vienna. She gives an overview of all of the works featured on the Takács Quartet Concert program, highlighting composers Florence Price and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and talks with Takács Quartet violinist Harumi Rhodes about some of the challenges of obtaining scores and critical editions of works by Black composers.

Takacs Quartet
Takács Quartet Concert

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

The Takács Quartet concerts originally scheduled for October 16-18 have been converted 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 Mozart, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Florence Price, Bartók, and Debussy.


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

This Digital Arts Adventure is brought to you in part by UMCU Arts Adventures
Patron Sponsor: Braylon Edwards

Wendell Pierce
Digital Artist Residency: Wendell Pierce

Monday, October 26 // 10-11:30 am

Actor and UMS Digital Artist-in-Residence Wendell Pierce will give a talk as part of the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion’s summit, “Arts+Social Change: Building an Anti-Racist World through the Arts.”

Lisa Bielawa
Voters’ Broadcast by Lisa Biewala

Part 2: Wednesday, October 14 // 3 pm (Advance registration required)
Part 3: Virtual World Premiere (Complete Work): Wednesday, October 28 // 3 pm (Advance registration required)

UMS President Matthew VanBesien is moderating three panel discussions as part of the Democracy & Debate theme semester at the University of Michigan, all of which are centered on Lisa Bielawa’s new composition, Voters’ Broadcast

The work, presented in three parts, is a broadly participatory musical performance for an unlimited number of voices and instruments, including the UMS Choral Union and other U-M ensembles, with text excerpted from Sheryl Oring’s I Wish to Say. Through the work, Bielawa wishes to stimulate voter engagement and political awareness through community participation in her composition. Voters’ Broadcast hopes to challenge the isolation of pandemic lockdown conditions by literally giving voice to the concerns of fellow citizens during the lead-up to the 2020 Presidential election. 

Part 1, which aired on Wed Sep 30, is available on YouTube.

UMS Choral Union
A Grand Night for Singing Virtual Watch Party

Digital Premiere: Thursday, October 29 at 8 pm
Available on demand after the live concert

This year’s virtual U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance event is the largest in the concert’s history. The concert will focus on themes of community and connection, with repertoire that includes traditional songs and new social justice songs, all presented virtually by nine different choral ensembles, including the UMS Choral Union.

Repertoire selected will include both traditional songs that speak to our need for communal singing such as I was glad by Sir Charles Hubert Parry and How Can I Keep from Singing (arr. by Karen Thomas), as well as new social justice songs such as Alysia Lee’s Say Her Name and Melanie Demore’s Lead with Love that seek to raise awareness about police brutality and anti-racism in the United States.

Spektral Quartet
Digital Artist Residency: Spektral Quartet

Chamber Music Forum: “What a String Quartet Could Be”
Thursday, November 5 // 6:30 pm

The Chicago-based Spektral Quartet actively looks for connections between traditional repertoire and contemporary works. In this 90-minute conversation with U-M SMTD students, they discuss their approach to creating community-focused programming that draws in listeners with seamless connections across centuries, charismatic delivery, interactive concert formats, and bold, inquisitive programming.

Tunde Olaniran
Digital Artist Residency: Tunde Olaniran

Digital Release Date: Week of November 9

Flint-based musician and activist Tunde Olaniran will release four singles from their forthcoming full-length album over the course of the coming year. The first of these will include an opportunity for audiences to participate in the creative process using building blocks created by Tunde and a cohort of creatives, who will remix them to create new artistic outputs.

Presented with support from Joe Malcoun and Caitlin Klein and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan Dance-on-Camera

Beckoning — Choreography by CHENG Tsung-lung
Episode 1 — Behind the Scenes: The Making of 13 Tongues

Digital Premiere: Fri Nov 13 // 7:30 pm
Available on demand through Mon Nov 23

Over the course of the next several months, Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will present a series of digital episodes charting the making of and inspiration behind 13 Tongues, a signature work by the company’s new artistic director and choreographer Cheng Tsung-lung. This first episode is preceded by Beckoning, a 40-minute dance-theater work that distills movements from the Taiwanese street-dancing ritual of Ba Jia Jiang.

This Digital Arts Adventure is brought to you in part by UMCU Arts Adventures
Patron Sponsors: Ilene Forsyth Theater Endowment Fund and Michigan Taiwanese American Organization

Tarek Yamani & Spektral Quartet
Digital Artist Residency: Tarek Yamani & the Spektral Quartet

Happy Hour Listening Parties
Part 1: Wednesday, November 18 // 5:30 pm
Part 2: Thursday, November 19 // 5:30 pm

Tarek Yamani and the members of the Spektral Quartet open up their creative process to UMS audiences as they begin their digital artists-in-residence journey together. These two listening parties will allow UMS audiences to get inside the artists’ musical worlds as they share music with each other that has shaped their artistic backgrounds and formed their artistic identities.

Wynton Marsalis
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet with Wynton Marsalis:
The Sounds of Democracy

Led by trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis and featuring seven of jazz’s finest soloists, the concert’s unique repertoire celebrates jazz’s embodiment of freedom and democracy.

The evening will feature the premiere of Marsalis’s The Democracy Suite, a swinging and stimulating instrumental rumination on the issues that have recently dominated our lives, as well as the beauty that could emerge from a collective effort to create a better future.

Messiah Mixtape
Messiah Mixtape

Available Sunday, December 6 through Thursday, December 31

UMS Choral Union Music Director Scott Hanoian joins Michael Kondziolka, UMS’s Vice President of Programming and Production, for a special program that includes a watch party featuring favorite and memorable archival recordings, special performances from guest artists, and virtual choir excerpts pre-recorded by the UMS Choral Union.