LGBTQ+ Icons Past & Present at UMS
LGBTQ+ artists — and audiences — have been an integral part of our 143-year history. As we close our 2021 Digital Pride, enjoy a look back at past and present artists whose work and talents UMS has been incredibly proud to bring to Ann Arbor.
Follow the links to more information on their programs in the UMS Rewind archives.
Choreographer Kyle Abraham made his UMS debut in 2015 with ‘The Watershed.’ He and his company A.I.M. will return in the 2021/22 season in a new work and UMS co-commission, Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth.
Leonard Bernstein conducted eight times in Hill Auditorium between 1963 and 1988, leading concerts by the New York Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic.
NYC-based trans actor, performer and writer Becca Blackwell has appeared four times in recent UMS presentations, including Untitled Feminist Show (2006), They, Themself and Schmerm (in-person in 2018 and digitally in 2021), and Is This a Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription.
Merce Cunningham and John Cage
Partners Merce Cunningham and John Cage performed together at UMS in 1971 in a program that included How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run. UMS presented the Merce Cunningham Dance Company again nearly 33 years later in 2004, reprising this signature work after Cage’s death in 1992.
American jazz pianist, educator and HIV/AIDS activist Fred Hersch has performed twice at UMS, in 2005 and in in 2014.
Bill T. Jones
Choreographer Bill T. Jones and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company have performed 8 times in UMS’s history since March 1995.
Theater artist Taylor Mac first appeared with UMS in A 24-Decade History of Popular Music in 2016, followed by Holiday Sauce in 2019. Mac appears in UMS’s 2021 Digital Pride with Whitman in the Woods. presented by All Arts.
John Cameron Mitchell
Nearly two decades after Hedwig and the Angry Inch debuted, John Cameron Mitchell performed beloved songs from the cult classic film — and “crowdsurfed” — in Hill Auditorium!
Singer and composer Toshi Reagon first perfomed at UMS in 2003 with ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock, founded by her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon. UMS’s 2021/22 season will feature Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower with music and lyrics composed by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon.
International conducting sensation Yannick Nézet-Séguin has appeared four times since his 2015 debut, leading the Rotterdam Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal.
In 2018, he accompanied mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in a recital of Schubert’s Winterreise, which was later performed and recorded in Carnegie Hall:
UMS has announced a new partnership with Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra in the 2021/22 season, including two live concerts in Hill Auditorium, a digital presentation, and a series of master classes and student engagement events with the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
Works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw have been performed in four programs over the past five seasons, by the Calidore String Quartet, vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, the Aizuri Quartet, and most recently by yMusic.
Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg has performed five times on UMS stages, including performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, a recital with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, and with the New Century Chamber Orchestra.
Now a retired University of Michigan professor of dance, Peter Sparling is a former dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. He appeared in the company’s Power Center performances from 1978-1994, before presenting his own Peter Sparling Dance Company in 2001 alongside the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.