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21st Century Intern Travelogue: Molly Schwall

Molly SchwallMolly Schwall is a 2022-23 UMS 21st Century Artist Intern and a U-M senior majoring in Musicology with minors in Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship, and History. She spent the summer in California with Wild Up, a chamber orchestra led by Christopher Rountree, and shares her experiences below. Wild Up brings Julius Eastman’s “Feminine” to Rackham Auditorium on April 16, 2023.

This summer I had the absolute privilege of being selected as a 21st Century Artist Intern through the University Musical Society (UMS) at U-M. The fully funded internship program pairs students to travel, learn and work with ensembles performing in the upcoming season. I have aspired to get into the program since I first learned about it as a freshman, so it was a dream come true to be selected.

I was paired with the indescribable avant-garde, experimental Grammy-nominated chamber orchestra Wild Up led by founder, conductor, and creative director Christopher Rountree. Since graduating from Michigan with a master’s in Orchestral Conducting in 2009, Chris and I bonded about our time at U-M over several meetings at various coffee shops and quintessential LA lunch spots – naturally exposing me to new parts of the city along the way. Chris was the most generous, caring, and informative mentor I could have asked for throughout this experience. He took so much time out of his busy schedule to invest in helping me learn more about the foundations and upkeep of Wild Up, including the ins and outs of management, grant writing, intentional artistic programming, and how a board works.

Wild Up is managed by David Lieberman Artists’ Representatives, and I had the chance to meet with their marketing manager to compare strategies and techniques for promoting multiple artists at the same time. Chris introduced me to so many important artists, patrons, and administrators sparking connections that will last a lifetime. The positive energy and embrace I felt from everyone I interacted with were infectious. I was delighted to be surrounded by so many brilliant creatives and felt right where I belonged.

Creator Ron Athey stands in front as he delivers an extreme live performance prior to the premiere of his 10-minute short film “Pasaiphaë” at the LBO Film Festival .

Creator Ron Athey stands in front as he delivers an extreme live performance prior to the premiere of his 10-minute short film “Pasaiphaë” at the LBO Film Festival.

Rountree additionally works as the Music Director of the Long Beach Opera and treated me to tickets to the inaugural LBO Film Festival. After a delightful day exploring Long Beach’s many thrift and knick-knack shops, I witnessed several standout performances including Dorian Wood’s live cover of Teo Hernandez’s “Salomé” soundtrack accompanying the film.

Coincidentally, one of my mentors and friends Ken Fischer (UMS president emeritus) was visiting Los Angeles the same time I was there. Ken’s invited me to an inventive production of “The Valkyries” at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Yuval Sharon, and the Detroit Opera. I was surrounded by and introduced to various influential artists including a filmmaker, the wife of the concertmaster, the artistic director of the show, as well as one of the founders of SMTD’s EXCEL program. The show utilized green-screen technology to project an extraterrestrial set on the screens throughout the venue. These two performances innovatively intersected digital media with opera – something I had never seen before, but am expecting to witness a lot more of in the future.

Production “The Valkyries” at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Yuval Sharon, and the Detroit Opera.

Overall, during my time in LA, I was exposed to an eccentric mix of new music, performance art, and unique concert experiences. I have a completely new appreciation for the future of classical music, and a new awareness of the limitless potential for creative expression. My education and exposure to these new art forms began before I touched ground at LAX. Before arriving in California, I began working with Wild Up virtually, helping them prep for their 24-hour performance of Julius Eastman’s “Buddha”.

Wild Up is currently cultivating a series of performances and a multi-volume anthology on the queer, Black and historically undervalued composer. The group released the first recorded part of their anthology, Volume 1: Feminine, was released in 2021, and Volume 2: Joy Boy was released while I was working with them. I assisted with album promotion for “Joy Boy” and spent time transforming the group’s Instagram account to match their aesthetic. After conducting extensive research on other successful artists’ social media accounts, I was able to improve marketing strategies and gain the group over five hundred followers within four weeks.

Pianist playing Devonté Hyne’s “Morning Piece”.

Along with promoting shows, I was additionally able to incorporate my love of videography to film content for the group, beginning with the West Coast premiere of Adam Tendler: Inheritances. The pianist spent his inheritance after his father’s death commissioning sixteen new works. My two favorite compositions were the opening “Remember I Created You (story with instructions)” by Laurie Anderson, including a voice recording by her, and Devonté Hyne’s “Morning Piece”. I knew Hynes from his alternative hip-hop work Blood Orange and was delighted to listen to his classical work and be in the same space as him.

The second Wild Up presentation I attended was the first part of their Floating residency, a collective that hosts sound baths and sonic events in unique outdoor settings. The collaboration included a debut performance of “Music at Sunset for Three Voices” composed and created by Catherine Brookman, Eliza Bagg, and Kathryn Shuman with an opening experimental hurdy-gurdy performance by Marta Tiesenga. The performance took place at the secluded and acoustically sound Bronson Canyon, with a clear view of the Hollywood sign. Throughout the performance, the audience was free to lie down and birds freely responded to the sound waves. I captured video footage at the event as pictured below.

Wild Up is an innovative group as they present events beyond their core ensemble, though the final performance I worked on included the band itself. Prior to the performance of Eastman’s “Feminine” at the Broad art museum, I took photos of the group at a rehearsal at Hollywood Scoring, where a plethora of famous movie soundtracks has been recorded including La La Land and Ratatouille. I did not have much past experience photographing musicians but was satisfied with my progress, and continued to capture the dress rehearsal at the Broad. I attended several band hangs at local breweries, and Chris included me in the pre-show ritual before the performance – it truly felt like I was part of the group.

Beyond my time with Wild Up, it was incredible to explore LA on my own. While renting a room in Silver Lake, I became acquainted with bike trails along the LA River, Echo Park, local farmers markets and coffee shops. I additionally enjoyed visiting the Griffith Obervatory, Huntington Library, and attending two KCRW summer nights in China Town and UCLA’s Hammer Museum. I went to the beach several times, reconnecting with West Coast friends I hadn’t seen in years, and making lots of new ones along the way.

 

My first time in California, Los Angeles had always seemed like a daunting place for narcissistic wannabees where dreams go to die. My generalizations about the city were dissolved as soon as I got there, and I can not wait to go back. The best part about this program is that it’s an exchange. Wild Up will perform Feminine on April 16th, 2023 in Rackham Auditorium and I can not wait to see everyone again, and share the group with my Michigan friends.

Learn more about Molly at mollyschwall.com.

Meet the Soloists: ‘Messiah’ 2022/23

Handel’s beautiful and riveting Messiah has graced the stage of Hill Auditorium for more than a century. We continue this yearly holiday tradition with performances from the UMS Choral Union and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Scott Hanoian.

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Meet the four brilliant soloists that will join the orchestra on December 3rd and 4th for this year’s Messiah performances.

Sherezade PanthakiSherezade Panthaki, soprano

Sherezade Panthaki, born and raised in India, has been a compelling force in oratorio all over the world. Her strong musicianship has been recognized internationally, described as “astonishing coloratura with radiant top notes” (Calgary Herald); “a full, luxuriously toned upper range” (Los Angeles Times), and passionately informed interpretations, “mining deep emotion from the subtle shaping of the lines” (The New York Times).

Ms. Panthaki is a founding member and artistic advisor of the newly-debuted Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, a vocal octet of world-renowned artists of color that celebrates racial and ethnic diversity in performances and educational programs of early and new music. In addition to headlining arts festivals, international music conferences, and concert series, the ensemble fosters in-depth conversations on issues of diversity and inclusion in classical music and arts education.

Check out Ms. Panthaki’s joyful performance of Claudio Monteverdi’s Laudate Dominum, filmed with Voices of Music:

Aryeh Nussbaum CohenAryeh Nussbaum Cohen, countertenor

Acclaimed as “extravagantly gifted… poised to redefine what’s possible for singers of this distinctive voice type” by the San Francisco Chronicle, American countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen is one of the classical vocal world’s most promising rising stars. His musical ability has been highlighted by critics; the New York Times praised him as an “complete artist” and “expressive yet dignified, his phrasing confident and his ornamentation stylishly discreet.”

His first commercial recording project – the world premiere recording of Kenneth Fuchs’ Poems of Life with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta – was honored with a 2019 GRAMMY® Award in the Best Classical Compendium category, which recognizes albums with multiple soloists and multiple works.

Listen to Mr. Cohen’s expressive interpretation of Dawn and Still Darkness from Jonathan Dove’s Flight, sung at the George London Foundation Competition Finals in 2017 where he was the recipient of the Irvin Scherzer Award:

Miles MykkanenMiles Mykkanen, tenor

Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times). Of the Finnish-American’s performance in the title role of Candide at Tanglewood, it was reported in Opera that he “sang and spoke feelingly and superbly, with crystalline diction, a powerful lyric sound seemingly capable of infinite dynamic gradations.”

A champion of new music, he has given the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27, Jack Perla’s Shalimar the Clown, and Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing at the American Repertory Theatre directed by Diane Paulus. Opera News wrote, “Miles Mykkanen’s work was especially distinctive: his burnished high tenor seemed like the organizing principle around which the other voices cohered.”

Watch his powerful rendition of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, performed in Scorca Hall at Opera America in 2019:

Enrico LagascaEnrico Lagasca, bass-baritone

Filipino-American bass-baritone Enrico Lagasca has traveled long musical distances in the short time since he began his career – comprising 16 oratorios, 17 new-music works, seven opera roles plus 13 song cycles and collections. Critics note that Enrico’s singing is “an outpouring of devotion and grief as elegant as it was moving” (Seen and Heard International) and “summoned nearly as much volume as everyone else onstage put together, and matched that visceral force with vivid phrasing” (Baltimore’s Tim Smith).

Enrico studied at the University of the Philippines, and from ages 16 to 20, sang in the Philippine Madrigal Singers. “The choral tradition is huge for us,” Enrico explains. “We went on tour, and we got to see the world. It captivated my love for what I’m currently doing right now.” After further study at New York’s Mannes College of Music, he began emerging from ensemble to solo singing. He continues moving between solo and ensemble, with ensemble plans to sing Rachmaninoff’s Vespers and St. John of Chrysostom in Old Church Slavonic.

Listen to Mr. Lagasca’s resonant sound in his recording of Schubert’s Der Doppelgänger:

10 Memorable Moments from Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Residency

Wynton Marsalis and JLCO Trumpet section

Photo by Mark Jacobson

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s relationship with UMS dates back more than 25 years, with 20+ appearances in Ann Arbor since 1994!

In October 2022, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra completed its most extensive UMS residency to date, complete with learning and engagement opportunities at the University of Michigan and across Southeast Michigan, plus a weekend of unforgettable performances in Hill Auditorium.

Enjoy a recap of our favorite JLCO residency week moments below. Thank you to our Residency Sponsors, Elaine and Peter Schweitzer, and all our supporters, for making this week possible.

1. Engaging Local Schools

Caption: JLCO’s Chris Crenshaw at Ann Arbor’s Community High School.

Caption: JLCO’s Chris Crenshaw at Ann Arbor’s Community High School. Photo by Peter Smith

Members of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra coached young musicians at a number of schools across Southeast Michigan, including Community High School and Scarlett Middle School in Ann Arbor, Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti, and the Detroit School of the Arts.

UMS teaching artists Allen Dennard and Tariq Gardner also visited more than a dozen local schools, leading educational workshops in advance of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s School Day Performance for K-12 students.

 

2. Coachings on Campus

Vincent Gardner coaching a jazz ensemble at U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Vincent Gardner coaching at U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Photo by Peter Smith

JLCO’s Obed Calvaire and Vincent Gardner coached big bands at the School of Music, ensembles composed of Jazz Majors at U-M.

 

3. Music as a Universal Language

JLCO saxophonist Ted Nash.

JLCO saxophonist Ted Nash. Photo by Peter Smith

Ted Nash led a class visit connecting communication in language to communication in improvised music. The class was composed of international students continuing to hone their English language skills.

 

4. Prison Creative Arts Project Performance

JLCO artists Marcus Printup, trumpet, and Abdias Amenteros, tenor saxophone, joined U-M students and musicians Zachary Reed, Anna Thielke, Anne Hayes, and Mercer Patterson to perform for inmates at FCI Milan, a federal prison. UMS collaborated with the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) to facilitate the visit. More than 150 inmates enjoyed the performance and a dynamic Q&A session with JLCO artists and students.

Reflecting on the visit, student Anna Thielke shared that “playing jazz for this group of people was one of the most special and affirming moments I have ever had. As musicians, we are so often playing music for events where no one is paying attention. This experience was the complete opposite of that. The inmates in the audience were probably the most receptive and grateful audience I have ever played for…there were so many musicians in the audience and it was so special to be able to connect with them — people who lead lives vastly different from my own — on such a deep level about music.”

 

5. Art and Athletics Meet

Wynton Marsalis and Warde Manuel

Wynton Marsalis and Warde Manuel. Photo by Eric Bronson

In a special Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series event at the Michigan Theater, Wynton Marsalis sat down with Warde Manuel, the University of Michigan’s Director of Athletics, to explore art, athletics, and the creative process. The conversation between the two New Orleans natives was facilitated by Chris Audain, managing director of U-M’s Arts Initiative.

We were also honored to welcome Dr. Santa Ono, University of Michigan’s new president, to the audience:

Watch the full conversation on YouTube

 

6. Introducing Young Audiences to Jazz

K-12 students outside Hill Auditorium

K-12 students outside Hill Auditorium. Photo by Peter Smith

In our first School Day Performance of the 2022/23 season, UMS welcomed more than 2,000 enthusiastic K-12 students to Hill Auditorium for a program that the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton specifically designed to engage with young audiences. UMS also live-streamed the performance for classrooms unable to attend in person.

 

7. All Rise Explodes in Hill Auditorium

Wynton Marsalis’s ‘All Rise’ in Hill Auditorium

Wynton Marsalis’s ‘All Rise’ in Hill Auditorium. Photo by Eric Bronson

250+ artists on stage. And 3,100+ in the crowd, including 850 students! Conductor Kenneth Kiesler led Wynton Marsalis’s massive All Rise (Symphony No. 1), which came to life through the combined forces of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, U-M Choirs, and the UMS Choral Union…all on a custom-built extension to the Hill Auditorium stage!

Learn more about the origins of All Rise on our blog.

 

8. From The Big Easy to The Big House

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Michigan Marching Band

Photo by Mark Jacobson

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis joined the Michigan Marching band for “A Night in New Orleans” halftime show at Michigan Stadium, featuring Big Band favorites including Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.” Watch the full set below!

 

9. Business Hours

(UMS) and +Impact Studio at the Michigan Ross School of Business convened a design jam — a collaborative brainstorming session geared towards identifying solutions in a fun, creative environment — to coincide with the Ann Arbor residency by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

This event brought together a select group of 25 artists, business leaders, faculty, students, and arts lovers who combined their expertise to incubate new forms of organizing around the arts. The event featured a visit from Wynton Marsalis, in dialogue with UMS President Matthew VanBesien, to share his insights into the intersections between music and business. Attendees concluded the day of intense discussion and dialogue with UMS’s presentation of Wynton and the JLCO in a big band performance at Hill Auditorium.

 

10. A Grand Finale

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Photo by Peter Smith

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s week in Ann Arbor came to a close with a fun-filled, family friendly Big Band performance. More than 3,000 audience members packed Hill Auditorium for a triumphant close to an unforgettable week.


Thank you to everyone who joined us throughout JLCO’s 2022/23 season residency, and to the many supporters whose generosity makes opportunities like this uniquely possible here in Ann Arbor.

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Residency Sponsors

Elaine and Peter Schweitzer

Principal Sponsors

Menakka and Essel Bailey

Gil Omenn and Martha Darling

Supporting Sponsors

Dallas and Sharon Dort Endowment Fund

Anthony Reffells

Nancy and James Stanley

Jay and Christine Zelenock and the Zelenock Family

School Day Performance Sponsors

David and Kiana Barfield Family Foundation

Prudence and Amnon Rosenthal K-12 Education Endowment Fund

Media Partners

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wrcj logo

wdet logo

annarbor107one logo

 

Have You Met Your Doppelgänger?

Danish String Quartet

Danish String Quartet

The idea of the doppelgänger — a person’s double or lookalike — has garnered much recent attention across the internet thanks to a trending New York Times article: “Your Doppelgänger Is Out There and You Probably Share DNA With Them.”

The Danish String Quartet’s ambitious four-year commissioning project, Doppelgänger, explores this concept in a sonic sense, pairing world premieres from renowned composers with late major chamber works by Franz Schubert. For their upcoming UMS program in Rackham Auditorium, the ensemble pairs “Death and the Maiden,” one of Schubert’s most famous and beloved quartets, with a brand new work by Finnish composer Lotta Wennäkoski. Read Wennäkoski’s remarks below on Pige (Danish for “girl”),  and how she mirrors Schubert’s musical themes in a modern way:

 

Lotta Wennäkoski

Composer Lotta Wennäkoski

Something fierce, something soundless, so have I written in my notebook when planning the string quartet Pige

It has been an inspiring task to write a work to be paired with the “Death and the Maiden” quartet by Franz Schubert. The “Doppelgänger” idea was greatly feeding my imagination from the very beginning. It’s also been an honor to write music for the hugely expressive musicians of the Danish String Quartet.

The first movement Vorüber, ach, vorüber! is based on the first half of Schubert’s lied that lies behind his “Death and the Maiden” quartet. This “maiden’s song” has not found its way to his string quartet, so I wanted to use its material in mine. The second movement Daktylus borrows its idea from the haunting pulse of Schubert’s chant of Death. Something fierce and something soundless can be heard here — along with other aspects to the dactyl rhythm.

Schubert’s quartet is wonderful music and of course an unmissable boulder, and the “death and the maiden” is a tempting and gloomy motif in art history. On the other hand, I just couldn’t help seeing the motif also as the never-ending image of a lecherous male desiring the young female body…

The third movement thus turns its gaze to the girl herself. Pigen og scrapbogen, “The Girl and the Scrapbook,” is joyful textural music — compiled of fragments and freely handled quotations that might spring to mind when thinking of a vital girl’s life.

Pige is Danish for “girl.” I wish to thank the Danish String Quartet and the co-commissioners for the opportunity to write this music.


Get tickets to the Danish String Quartet’s Doppelgänger performance on October 28, 2022.

Discover more on danishquartet.com and lottawennakoski.com.

Donor Stories: What UMS Means to Me

UMS interviewed some long-time donors about what UMS has meant to them over the years, and why they choose to support UMS philanthropically.

Collectively these patrons have attended performances alone or with their spouses for more than 220 years. That’s a lot of performances!

Their stories share how they benefitted from UMS for many years and how grateful they are to be able to give back and support UMS for generations to come:

“Access to [Vladimir Horowitz] tickets in Ann Arbor was so much easier than in New York City.”

“We began attending in the fall of 1965. It allowed us as newlyweds to enjoy evenings with my parents…it was great to spend time with them enjoying an evening of music.”

“UMS does an incredible service to the community bringing all these good performers here. Participating in the chorus and making small donations lets you feel like you a part of an important thing that is going on.”

“UMS is about enriching the experiences for all of us and bringing together audiences and artists…good things come to Ann Arbor because of what UMS is able to introduce.”

“UMS is a jewel in the crown of the university without a doubt. And with philanthropy, too, it is a way for us to give back and a way to be sure that these things are available for generations to come.”

“I feel so great about our gifts supporting UMS in perpetuity. It makes us so happy to give to others what we have been given.”

We’re grateful to all of our donors who have committed to planned gifts to UMS so that future students, patrons, and audiences can continue to enjoy the same memorable arts experiences they have treasured over the years.

If you are inspired to join them in ensuring that UMS experiences remain accessible to future generations, please contact Marnie Reid in the UMS Development office at 734-647-1178 or marnreid@umich.edu.

 

 

UMS Performance Playground: An Introduction to Jazz

Donor Spotlight: Elaine and Peter Schweitzer

Sometimes, attending a UMS concert can lead a person on an unexpected and fulfilling journey…

Peter and Elaine Schweitzer

Peter and Elaine Schweitzer on a recent trip to Alaska.

Peter Schweitzer knew about UMS as a student at the University of Michigan (LSA ‘61), but after graduation, a busy career in advertising took him all over the world. After retiring, Peter and his wife, Elaine, moved from New York City to Ann Arbor — at the same time UMS President Matthew VanBesien made the same trip, leaving the New York Philharmonic to become UMS’s seventh president.

Elaine and Peter attended a swinging concert of New Orleans jazz by Henry Butler, Steven Bernstein & The Hot 9 held at Ann Arbor’s Downtown Home and Garden, as guests of UMS president emeritus Ken Fischer, whom Peter knew well from his involvement with the U-M Alumni Association. Ken introduced Peter and Elaine to Matthew, and they instantly hit it off, connecting through their time in New York and appreciation for New Orleans jazz. Later that fall, Matthew introduced Peter and Elaine to another NOLA/NYC artist — Wynton Marsalis — at a reception while the legendary musician was in town for a holiday performance.

What followed was a self-guided education about jazz.

“During my cross-country road trips, I listened to recordings of Wynton, NPR programs he hosted, watched Ken Burns’s documentary on him — really anything I could find. I became a member at Jazz at Lincoln Center so I’d get updates and new educational resources, and when UMS brought JLCO’s ‘Swing University’ series to its community during the pandemic, I watched every episode.”

A year or so later, Wynton spoke to the UMS National Council, a volunteer fundraising and advisory group for which Wynton has served as Honorary Co-Chair since 2018. “I had the great fortune to hear Wynton speak to us about his philosophy on music, on education, really on life broadly speaking,” said Schweitzer. “I’ve really come to admire him as someone who knows exactly what he’s thinking and doesn’t hold back on sharing it, always in the most eloquent way. In my opinion, he has both feet on the ground.”

Peter Schweitzer with Wynton Marsalis and Matthew VanBesien

Peter Schweitzer, Wynton Marsalis, and Matthew VanBesien following a JLCO concert at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts at California State University, Northridge

Peter and Elaine’s admiration for Wynton and the ensemble led them to sponsor the JLCO in a one-week residency this October:

“The impact that an artist, educator, and thinker like Wynton Marsalis and, really, all the musicians in the band can have when they are able to sit down in Ann Arbor for a week is just extraordinary.”

In addition to their performances — which include a special, one-hour session just for K-12 students — JLCO musicians will be coaching jazz ensembles in regional high schools; rehearsing for “All Rise” with University of Michigan students in the jazz, orchestral, and choral programs; arranging a brand new set of charts for a half-time show with the Michigan Marching Band; conversing with Athletic Director and fellow NOLA native Warde Manuel as part of the Penny Stamps Speaker Series; and much more. Complete details for all public events can be found online at ums.org/jlco.

“Our message to fellow U-M alumni and to residents of the greater Ann Arbor region is this: if you want our students to have these sorts of incredible opportunities — experiences that will inspire them to reach higher, experiences with the greatest performers and artists in the world that they will remember for the rest of their lives — join Elaine and me in supporting UMS through donating and sponsoring UMS’s work. We’ve taken tremendous satisfaction and pride in helping to make the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s week of activity possible, and had a lot of fun in the process.”

The Origins of Wynton Marsalis’s Massive ‘All Rise’

Wynton Marsalis' All Rise

On October 14, 2022, UMS will present Wynton Marsalis’s rarely heard All Rise (Symphony No. 1). This MASSIVE work requires a jaw-dropping 200+ artist ensemble, which includes the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, University of Michigan Choirs, and the UMS Choral Union. And even in a venue as large as our iconic Hill Auditorium, the stage needs to be considerably extended to accommodate all performers!

This epic joining of forces comes to life through the artistic leadership of music director and conductor Kenneth Kiesler, U-M choir director Eugene Rogers, and UMS Choral Union music director Scott Hanoian. Rehearsals by the U-M ensembles and the Choral Union have been well underway since early September, including guest coachings with New York based vocal artist and conductor Damien Sneed.

It’s an honor to share this collaborative work as part of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s week-long residency at UMS, made possible by residency sponsors Elaine and Peter Schweitzer.

'All Rise' album cover

Album art from the 2001 Recording of ‘All Rise’

“We chose, and still choose, to swing.”

All Rise was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for the millennium, and premiered in December 1999. Read more about its origins, from its debut performance to its 2001 recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which epitomized resilience, hope, and community in the days after the September 11 attacks.

From Program Notes contributed by Wynton Marsalis:

All Rise is structured in the form of a 12-bar blues, and separated into three sections of 4 movements. Each section expresses different moments in the progression of experiences that punctuate our lives. It is a personal and communal progression.

The first four movements are concerned with birth and self-discovery; they are joyous.

The second four movements are concerned with mistakes, pain, sacrifice and redemption. They are somber and poignant.

The last four are concerned with maturity and joy.

All Rise contains elements of many things I consider to be related to the blues: the didgeridoo, ancient Greek harmonies and modes, New Orleans brass bands, the fiddler’s reel, clave, samba, the down-home church service, Chinese parade bands, the Italian aria, and plain ol’ down-home ditties. Instead of combining many different styles on top of a vamp, I try to hear how they are the same. In attempting to unite disparate and large forces, everyone has to give up something in order to achieve a greater whole. The fun is in the working together.

All Rise was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Kurt Masur as the last of the millennial compositions of 1999. This piece for me was the culmination of a ten-year odyssey during which I sought to realize more complex orchestrations for long-form pieces based in American vernacular music and jazz.

In February 2001, I sent a score and recording of this performance to Esa-Pekka Salonen. Some 18 years earlier, Esa-Pekka and I had recorded an album of trumpet concertos. Through the years we maintained a very high level of professional respect for one another. He agreed that we would perform All Rise with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on September 13, 2001. Because we are both Sony Classical artists, we felt that with proper negotiations a recording would be possible. With much strategizing and calling on friendships and professional relationships, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Morgan State Choir from Baltimore under Nathan Carter, the Paul Smith Singers, and the Northridge Singers of California State University at Northridge all came together to perform and record All Rise. Many of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s senior management came out for the event, and a truly warm feeling surrounded our first rehearsals.

Then came the attacks of September 11th. Jazz at Lincoln Center Director of Publicity Mary Fiance Fuss called to tell me a plane had flown into one of the twin towers. As we watched the news, we caught the second plane hitting the second tower. Within minutes everyone in the band was on the phone. Later that day, a meeting was called to discuss what to do. The decision was unanimous: stay and play. Our next rehearsal was made forever memorable by the outpouring of concern and love from the members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Initial portions of our September 13th concert appeared on CNN; the station broke from Ground Zero coverage to broadcast our joint performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The performance, though justifiably somber, was energetic and meaningful.

The recording was another issue. Due to the suspension of national air travel, our producer, Steve Epstein, perhaps the only person in the world with the experience to make a quality recording of such large and diverse musical forces, was stranded in Kansas City. And our engineer, Todd Whitelock, was stranded in Detroit. With the recording scheduled for September 14th, we were in trouble. As we were about to cancel the recording, several uncommon acts of dedication saved the sessions. A close personal friend and colleague, “Boss” Dennis Jeter, was driving from Los Angeles to New York to tend to a family crisis. When called, he drove to Kansas City and brought Steve Epstein to Rifle, CO, where our road managers, Raymond “Big Boss” Murphy and Eric Wright, were waiting to drive Steve on to L.A. Rodney Whitaker, our bassist from Detroit, called Koli Givens, a trumpeter and close personal friend. Koli and his cousin, Quintin Givens, drove non-stop from Detroit to L.A. and delivered our engineer. Even though time was limited and the recording schedule was tight, a deeper sense of community and inspiration guided us through these sessions.

After the recording, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra was scheduled to play Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA. We drove 27 non-stop hours by bus directly from the session to the stage. Waiting for us on the bus were pillows and blankets for the entire band provided by Evan Wilson (violinist, Los Angeles Philharmonic) and his family, a gesture of friendship and love that will forever remain with the LCJO. Our concert was scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. – we entered the city limits at 7:00 p.m. Out on the stage we received an extended standing ovation from a sold-out house that had waited patiently to be, in the words on one patron, “reminded of who we are.” The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra was back on the road. We heard that some acts chose to cancel their tours following September 11th. We chose, and still choose, to swing.

– Wynton Marsalis

 

Get tickets to Wynton Marsalis’s All Rise on October 14, 2022. This concert is part of a week-long artist residency that also includes a Big Band concert with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis, in addition to many other activities.

 

Thank You to Our Supporters of All Rise

Residency Sponsors

Elaine and Peter Schweitzer

Principal Sponsors

Menakka and Essel Bailey

Gil Omenn and Martha Darling

Supporting Sponsors

Anthony Reffells

Jay and Christine Zelenock and the Zelenock Family

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s October Residency with UMS

5 reasons you should join You Can Dance—Outside this summer

You Can Dance—Outside!

You Can Dance–Outside returns for another summer of movement and community! You Can Dance–Outside events are FREE dance classes with local dance instructors that are open to the community and curious movers of all levels.

Whether you prefer dancing in the privacy of your bedroom, or getting dolled up for salsa night, here are five reasons you should be very excited about this year’s You Can Dance–Outside line-up:

1. There has never been a more pressing need to take a dance class.

Disco is making a comeback. Beyonce’s latest dance album Renaissance was just released and is sure to be in the top 40 for the rest of our natural lives. TikTok dances are here to stay and may be the only way to connect with Gen-Z. UMS’s beloved Dance Series returns this year with performances ranging from Swan Lake to Step Afrika! Objectively, if there was ever a time to take a dance class, the time is now!

2. Double the dancing, double the fun!

UMS is doubling down on the dance fun this year by offering two 45-minute dance sessions. Both are free and open to the public, with no dance experience required. We welcome curious movers of all ages, as well as families with children ages 6+, to come and dance together. We do ask that parents, guardians, and dance mentors participate with their young child or dance organization throughout the entire workshop. Children ages 12 & up are ok to dance solo with the sideline supervision of a parent or guardian.

3. More places to move.

This year You Can Dance–Outside is expanding to Flint and Dearborn, in addition to Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. After a successful kickoff event with Salsa Dance in Dearborn at the end of July, You Can Dance–Outside travels to Flint’s Brush Park on Friday, August 26. Coach Molly Baskin, director at For the Love of Dance Studios, will lead exciting classes in Hip-Hop Majorette, a rich dance style that originated at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the Hustle. If anyone can teach us how to get in formation, it’s her!

4. National Dance Day is Saturday, September 17, 2022.

Join Americans across the country as we celebrate the importance of dance as a valuable form of exercise and artistic expression. UMS will celebrate National Dance Day with our Step Dance in Ypsilanti class with Krisilyn “Tony” Frazier at the Riverside Park Pavilion. Feel free to explore more opportunities to celebrate National Dance Day on the American Dance Movement website.

5. Oh so many styles.

You Can Dance–Outside! offers more dance styles than ever before! Now in its seventh year, we are thrilled to continue to partner with local dancers in Southeast Michigan to lead classes in Hip-Hop, Salsa, Step, Hustle, Majorette, and West African Dance. Returning artist Heather Mitchell, who leads the West African Dance in Ann Arbor class on Sunday, September 11, described You Can Dance–Outside! as “a welcoming, joyful, intergenerational, and multicultural experience that united us all through the universal language of dance!”

We can’t wait to dance with you, and we hope you can join us! Visit ums.org/YouCanDance for a complete listing of our scheduled events and to register to attend.

Love great music, theater, and dance?

Love great music, theater, and dance?

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