Must-See Events in September and October
From the powerhouse opening week performances in Hill Auditorium to our DruidO’Casey theater immersion at the Power Center, UMS’s 23/24 Season kicks off with something for everyone! Preview (and get tickets to) these six events in September and October:
Sun Sep 10 at 4 pm // Hill Auditorium
Performing songs from their 2023 Grammy-winning album Empire Central, the genre-defying super-band Snarky Puppy returns to Ann Arbor for its third UMS appearance and its first since 2019.
Led by Michael League on bass, Snarky Puppy was formed in 2004 by 10 friends who were enrolled in the jazz program at the University of North Texas. With 13 albums in 18 years that have garnered four Grammy Awards, Snarky Puppy has attracted international fandom for its detailed arrangements of fetching melodies, texturally layered harmonies, exciting solos, ear-candy synth effects, and propulsive beats.
Shakti 50th Anniversary Tour
Thu Sep 14 at 7:30 pm // Hill Auditorium
Following the Summer 2023 release of This Moment – their first new studio album in 46 years – revolutionary ensemble Shakti continues to discover and explore the musical common ground bridging East and West.
Born in the mid-1970s out of the deep artistic and spiritual connection bonding British guitarist John McLaughlin and Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, Shakti’s cross-cultural musical conversation dissolved boundaries with uncommon passion, grace, and dexterity, awakening subsequent generations of musicians to the possibilities of new creative approaches in the process.
Alongside McLaughlin and Hussain, today’s Shakti features vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan, and percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram (son of original Shakti ghatam player T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram). Joining Shakti will be another performer dedicated to intermingling and transcending genres: banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck, who will open the performances with a solo set.
Renée Fleming and Inon Barnatan
Thu Sep 28, 2023 at 7:30 pm // Hill Auditorium
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
Thu Oct 5, 2023 at 7:30 pm // Rackham Auditorium
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.
Oct 18 – 21 // Three Plays in the Power Center
A century ago, Ireland was reborn in the fires of rebellion and war. The playwright Sean O’Casey bore witness to these seismic events and dramatized them as the Dublin Trilogy, three great works of Irish theater full of history, humanity, and humor, all written in the immediate aftermath of the tumultuous period.
Druid will weave O’Casey’s three plays — The Plough and the Stars, The Shadow of a Gunman, and Juno and the Paycock — into an epic theatrical event of conflict, national identity, and the human toll of war: DruidO’Casey. The three plays will be presented in only two US cities — New York and Ann Arbor.
Directed by Tony Award winner Garry Hynes, a single company of 18 actors will perform all three plays, drawing parallels between an Irish past and an international present. Each play will be presented twice in Ann Arbor, with the opportunity to view each work individually, across the week, or as a single immersive experience. Experience one play, or experience them all!
Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería
Fri Oct 27, 2023 at 7:30 pm // Hill Auditorium
One of the most prestigious orchestras in Latin America, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería (Minería Symphony Orchestra) was founded in 1978 by a group of mining engineers who wanted to support the cultural development of México and is now regarded as the leading musical institution in the country. Led by 2019 Musical America Conductor of the Year Carlos Miguel Prieto, the orchestra has performed with renowned soloists and conductors and has toured internationally. We had intended to bring Prieto and soloist Gabriela Montero to Ann Arbor during the 20/21 season with similar repertoire, but that tour, of course, didn’t happen as intended.
This concert — the debut of the orchestra, Prieto, and piano soloist Gabriela Montero — features a program of Mexican and Latin American composers, including two women composers. Gabriela Ortiz (b. 1964) composed Kauyumari at the behest of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2021, and the work reflects the return to live performance after the pandemic. Venezuela-born pianist Gabriela Montero performs her own piano concerto, an energetic work that shows the complexities of South American life, from its rhythmic and sensual energy to the shadows of violence and corruption.
The concert also includes works by two Mexican composers: Carlos Chávez (1899-1978) was an ethnomusicologist whose Sinfonía India reflects the harmonies, rhythms, melodies, and instruments of the Indian cultures of México, and Silvestre Revueltas’s La noches de los mayas, a concert suite drawn from his score for the 1939 film of the same name, which relates to México’s pre-Columbian heritage.