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May 13, 2024

Meet the 2024/25 Season 21st Century Artist Interns


Each year, UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance select students for a unique internship experience. Students are paired with internationally renowned artists and companies, including dance, theater, and music ensembles.

The 21st Century Artist Internship is a highly competitive program developed to prepare students for new demands that working artists face in the contemporary marketplace.

This summer, interns will develop industry contacts, hands-on work experience, and deep connections with internationally recognized performing artists. And upon their return to campus, the interns continue their work via a one-credit independent study where they serve as campus ambassadors, educators, and marketers to support their respective artists during their visit to Ann Arbor in UMS’s 2024/25 season.

The 21st Century Artist Internship program is made possible in part by Tim and Sally Petersen.

This Year’s Interns

Cristina Benn

Class of 2025
Major: Dance
Placement: TRIBE Multidisciplinary Visual Performances (New York City, NY)

Related UMS Performances
BLACK HOLE: Trilogy and Triathlon
Mar 14-15, 2025 // Power Center

Cristina “CiCi” Benn is a dancer, choreographer, and musician currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, with a minor in Music and Performing Arts Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Since the age of 4, CiCi has performed both nationally and internationally, involving herself in art that tells diverse stories. As a choreographer, her most notable works include MUSKET’s Once On This Island, Detroit Music Hall’s Hastings Street, and most recently her own BFA Dance Concert Exultant Existence. From choreographing musicals to performing in concert halls, CiCi strives to create art that showcases the representation of Black and Latino art.


Renata Rangel Renata Rangel

Class of 2025
Major: Percussion Performance
Placement: Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin, Germany)

Related UMS Performances
Berliner Philharmoniker with Hilary Hahn, violin
Nov 23, 2024 // Hill Auditorium

Berliner Philharmoniker
Nov 24, 2024 // Hill Auditorium

Renata Rangel (she/her) is a dynamic Mexican-American percussionist hailing from Chicago. She is currently studying at the University of Michigan School of Music, where she is honing her craft as a percussion performance major, guided by the expert tutelage of Doug Perkins and Ian Antonio. Renata’s dedication to her artistry extends beyond performance, as she pursues a minor in performing arts management and entrepreneurship, further enriching her understanding of the backbone that holds down the arts world. She has performed captivating world premieres around the world, and whether it’s with the University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble touring the East Coast, performing on the mountains of Switzerland, or returning to her roots in Chicago, these collaborations leave a lasting impression. Beyond her accomplishments on stage, Renata is determined to drive meaningful change within the music industry. She envisions a future where classical music is accessible to all, making sure community music programs that she luckily grew up with are spread across everywhere. She is currently working on commissioning Mexican composers to help publish traditional marimba ensemble music, music that is not well known in American music schools.


Tyler Simpson Pouncéy Tyler Simpson Pouncéy

Class of 2025
Majors: Instrumental Music Education, American Culture
Placement: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (New York City, NY)

Related UMS Performances
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Feb 1, 2025 // Hill Auditorium

Tyler Simpson Pouncéy (he/they), from Cerritos, CA, is a 3rd year at the University of Michigan studying Instrumental Music Education (BM) as well as Ethnic Studies (BA). Being a Black and queer instrumentalist, they have always prioritized the intersection of identities through the intersection of various art mediums. As an arts leader, they believe that the communities should be able to have artistic experiences even if for a brief glimpse of their life.

Involved in arts education in the surrounding Ann Arbor area, he has worked with Michigan Youth Ensembles, MPulse performing arts summer program as well as the National Association for Music Education at the university. As a student, he music directed In The Round’s Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and has led the euphonium section of the Michigan Marching Band as well as their Business Staff.

With a passion for uplifting other artists and collaboration, Tyler continues to make interpersonal connections through artistic spaces via the unifying language of music. In a time where diversity should permeate all walks of life, he wants to be in the push for inclusive frameworks of the whole picture.


Maddie Vassalo Maddie Vassalo

Class of 2025
Major: Interarts Performance
Placement: Ontroerend Goed (Ghent, Belgium)

Related UMS Performances
Fight Night
Sep 25-29, 2024 // Power Center

Maddie Vassalo is a rising senior at the University of Michigan from Washington DC, majoring in Interarts Performance with a minor in Computer Science. While her main concentrations are in game design, virtual production, and film, she has a wide range of experience in both the performing and visual arts, with background in technical direction, performance, stage management, animation, and garment design. While at Michigan, Maddie has been involved in numerous independent works, most recently a 40-minute virtual production film retelling the Greek myth of Iphis and Ianthe which she wrote, produced, and acted in, as well as creating the virtual backgrounds and real life set. Last year she co-directed and produced a devised theater piece called If the World Ends Tomorrow it’s all Your Fault which explored the pandemic’s impact through print media and photojournalism.

Maddie is especially interested in exploring the connections between STEM and the arts and is continuously looking for ways to integrate her interests in engineering and storytelling.