Classical Superstars Returning to UMS
In addition to the extraordinary artists making their Ann Arbor debuts in the new 23/24 season, UMS is thrilled to welcome back some of the most celebrated soloists and ensembles in the classical music world. Preview eight spectacular programs that are part of our Choral Union and Chamber Arts series:
Renée Fleming and Inon Barnatan
One of the most highly acclaimed singers of our time, Renée Fleming returns to Hill Auditorium for the first time since 2011 in a recital with pianist Inon Barnatan. Her most recent recording, Voice of Nature: The Anthropocene, which focused on nature as both inspiration and casualty of humans, was awarded the 2023 Grammy for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.
Outside of her singing career, Fleming has become a leading advocate for research at the intersection of arts, health, and neuroscience, launching a collaboration between the Kennedy Center and the National Institutes for Health and exploring the power of music as it relates to health and the brain. In May 2023, the World Health Organization named her a Goodwill Ambassador for Arts and Health. We look forward to further exploration of her Music and the Mind initiative during her time in Ann Arbor.
Jerusalem Quartet and Inon Barnatan
After a week-long residency following his performance with Renée Fleming, pianist Inon Barnatan collaborates with the Jerusalem Quartet in their first UMS appearance in five years, performing Dvořák’s sublime Piano Quintet with the ensemble. The Jerusalem Quartet will also perform string quartets by composer Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984) and Haydn.
Founded in 1993, the quartet’s wide repertoire and stunning depth of expression carries on the string quartet tradition with its warm, full, human sound.
Maxim Vengerov is considered one of the greatest violinists of all time and “seems instinctively to understand what makes the music go.” (The Washington Post) By marrying a flawless technique acquired early in life to broad musical curiosity, his radiant and dramatic interpretations, the intensity of his sound, and the exuberant musicality of his playing are rooted in great tradition.
With his public debut at the age of 5 and a performance of the Mendelssohn Concerto at age 7, Vengerov’s career has been marked by dozens of awards, honors, and recordings. His recital program on Thanksgiving weekend will be a musical treat the family can enjoy, featuring works by Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schuman, and Sergei Prokofiev, accompanied by pianist Polina Osetinskaya.
Jean-Yves Thibaudet & Michaael Feinstein
Following his performance in a star-studded evening with Itzhak Perlman last season, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins forces with Michael Feinstein, one of the leading authorities on the Great American Songbook.
Together they present an innovative program for two pianos that celebrates the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and more — with Gershwin’s beloved Rhapsody in Blue as a centerpiece, performed just a couple of months before the 100th anniversary of the work’s premiere. Who could ask for anything more?!
Emanuel Ax / Leonidas Kavakos / Yo-Yo Ma
A classical superstar trio — pianist Emanuel Ax, violinist Leonidas Kavakos, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma — returns to the Hill Auditorium stage with an all-Beethoven program, with works originally written for piano trio as well as an arrangement of one of Beethoven’s iconic symphonies.
Their “Beethoven for Three” series of concerts and recordings have garnered tremendous acclaim for their intimate arrangements, “with each player kindling immediate responses from his colleagues. … Chamber music doesn’t get any better than this.” (Chicago Tribune)
Orchestre de Paris
After a 20+ year absence, the world-renowned Orchestre de Paris makes a triumphant return to Hill Auditorium, with two of the most sought-after young artists in the world making their UMS debuts!
At only 27, conductor Klaus Mäkelä is already chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, music director of the Orchestre de Paris, and artistic partner of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. He leads the orchestra in Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Stravinsky’s complete Firebird, plus Prokoviev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 performed by 2022 Van Cliburn winner Yunchan Lim. The 18-year-old’s ascent to international stardom has been meteoric; he is the youngest person to win gold at the Van Cliburn Competition and also won both the Audience Award and the award for Best Performance of a New Work.
The Philadelphia Orchestra in Two Programs
In his 12th year as music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has created a new golden age for the ensemble, and we’re thrilled to close our 2023/24 season with two performances by the Orchestra.
Saturday night’s program features Rachmaninoff’s warm and melodious Symphony No. 2, and Florence Price’s Symphony No. 4, which incorporates melodies from spirituals and a beautifully-orchestrated theme from “Wade in the Water.” The orchestra’s Grammy-winning album of Price’s first and third symphonies (2022 “Best Orchestral Performance”) helped spark enthusiastic global interest in the Arkansas-born composer.
Sunday afternoon’s season finale puts the mighty UMS Choral Union on display, with Johannes Brahms’s German Requiem.