#UMSplaylists: Chamber Arts (yMusic Takeover)
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In advance of their November 1 performance, yMusic has “taken over” UMS’s Chamber Arts playlist with works of their own discography, including collaborations with Paul Simon, Ben Folds, and Regina Spektor.
Hear the virtuosity and variety of sounds, ensembles, and works by composers featured in UMS’s Chamber Arts Series. This playlist updates with new tracks regularly, so be sure to follow/subscribe on your preferred streaming service!
Remembering Jessye Norman | Playlist
The entire UMS family is deeply saddened to learn that Jessye Norman, legendary American soprano, five time Grammy Award winner, National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors recipient, and University of Michigan alumna, who passed away on September 30, 2019 in New York at age 74.
We honor Norman’s 39-year performance history in Ann Arbor with a playlist of 10 signature recordings of works she performed with UMS, between her first appearance in 1973 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and her final Hill Auditorium recital in 2012.
Listen now on your preferred streaming service:
Carl Grapentine’s Sports & Music Playlist (Spotify and Apple Music)
More than 100,000 fans are about to be welcomed home to “The Big House” by the beloved, booming voice of Carl Grapentine, who has been the Michigan Marching Band announcer since 1970 and the official game announcer for Michigan Football since 2006.
Grapentine is also an alumnus of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and was a host of Chicago’s WFMT-FM classical radio for 33 years. To celebrate the start of a new season at Michigan Stadium, he’s combined his expertise to curate a playlist of sports-inspired classical works and film scores. Choose your preferred streaming service and learn more about each track below:
About the Music
Arthur Honegger’s musical depiction of a rugby match, composed in 1928 and filled with energy and power.
Mozart “Kegelstatt” Trio,
According to the autograph score, Mozart wrote this delightful trio while playing a game of skittles (a pub game related to bowling) at a local Kegelstatt—a skittles parlor.
John Williams “The Quidditch Match” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
In the first match of the season, Harry caught the golden snitch giving Gryffindor a thrilling victory. Final score: Gryffindor 170—Slytherin 60.
Arnaud Bugler’s Dream
The French composer Leo Arnaud wrote this for a 1958 recording. But it’s forever associated with the Olympic games ever since ABC began using it for its 1968 Olympics coverage.
R. Strauss Olympic Hymn
Richard Strauss had a complicated relationship with the Third Reich. He composed this for the opening of the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin — the games we remember for Jesse Owens’s heroics.
Suk Towards a New Life
Did you know that the Olympic games once included competition in music composition? This was the silver medal winner (no gold was awarded) at the 1932 games in Los Angeles.
American composer Michael Torke wrote this in 1994 on a commission from the Atlanta Committee for the Olympics. Premiered by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, it was also played at the opening of the 1996 games in Atlanta.
Puccini “Nessun dorma” from the opera Turandot
When the 1990 World Cup final was played in Rome, three soccer fans — Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Jose Carreras — joined forces to give an outdoor concert. Thus, the worldwide phenomenon of The Three Tenors was born. And the BBC used this aria with its climactic “Vincero” (“I will win”) for its World Cup coverage.
Sousa The National Game
John Philip Sousa was an avid baseball fan. He wrote this march for the 50th anniversary of the National League in 1926.
Horner Soundtrack to Field of Dreams
James Horner’s evocative score for the 1989 film starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, and James Earl Jones.
Randy Newman “Wrigley Field” from The Natural
Randy Newman’s sometimes “Copland-esque” score for the 1984 film starring Robert Redford and Glenn Close.
This ballet by Claude Debussy begins with three characters searching for a lost tennis ball. It was written for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky. The premiere took place in Paris in May of 1913, two weeks before the premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
Elbel The Victors
Composed in 1898 by Michigan student Louis Elbel, in celebration of Michigan’s 12-11 victory over the University of Chicago giving Michigan the Western Conference championship. Hence, “Champions of the West.” The first public performance was given by John Philip Sousa’s band in Ann Arbor in 1899.
11 Virtuoso Pianists to Know in 2019
UMS’s 2019/20 season welcomes back legendary classical and jazz pianists to Ann Arbor, and introduces incredible new talent to our stages. Enjoy listening to our guest artists on our ‘Piano Virtuosos’ playlist, and learn more their upcoming appearances below.
1. Emanuel Ax
In his seventh UMS appearance since 1978, the esteemed pianist joins violinist Leonidas Kavakos and cello superstar Yo-Yo Ma for an evening of Beethoven Trios.
2. Chick Corea
The jazz piano legend brings together bass powerhouse Christian McBride and drum master Brian Blade for a special concert that revisits their acclaimed Trilogy album.
3. Aaron Diehl
The virtuosic jazz pianist joines forces with vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, both returning to Ann Arbor for two intimate sets in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. The program features the Great American Songbook, among other compositions growing from that tradition and history.
4. Hélène Grimaud
Renowned French pianist Hélène Grimaud makes her UMS solo recital debut, performing music from her latest album, Memory, featuring works by Debussy, Chopin, Satie, Schumann, Sylvestrov, and Rachmaninoff.
5. Benjamin Grosvenor
“Benjamin Grosvenor may well be the most remarkable young pianist of our time,” according to Gramophone Magazine. The electrifying 27 year-old British virtuoso makes his UMS debut this Spring.
6. Isata Kanneh-Mason
The Royal Academy of Music postgraduate and multiple prizewinning pianist has had a stellar year in 2019, with a new album from Decca, and an international touring schedule alongside her brother, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.
7. Martin Katz
“The gold standard of accompanists” (The New York Times) returns to UMS for a special two-night program, bringing Hugo Wolf’s 53 songs set to the poetry of Eduard Mörike to life alongside four singers in this season’s What’s in a Song.
8. Denis Matsuev
One of most prominent pianists of his generation, Denis Matsuev returns for his third recital and sixth UMS performance in a program of virtuosic works by Liszt and Tchaikovsky.
9. Anne-Marie McDermott
Adding to a 25+ year career as an concert pianist and recording artist, McDermott has championed artistic leadership roles with the Bravo! Vail and Ocean Reef Music Festivals. She joins the New York Philharmonic String Quartet in recital this season.
10. Cédric Tiberghien
An exceptional chamber music collaborator, Tiberghien joins soprano Julia Bullock in the premiere of Zauberland (Magic Land) — a music/theater story of migration from war-torn Syria staged by Katie Mitchell, featuring Schumann’s Dichterliebe performed alongside 16 new songs by Bernard Foccroulle.
11. Tarek Yamani
The Beirut-born pianist and composer taught himself jazz at the age of 19, and brings his Trio to Ann Arbor — fusing the genres of African-American jazz and classical Arabic music.
#UMSplaylists: Classical New Releases
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing (July 20, 1969), launch into the UMS Rewind archives with 10 moon-inspired works performed over the course of our 140+ year history.
Listen to our ‘Moon Tunes’ playlist on your preferred music service, and discover their respective programs below:
Pianist Vladimir de Pachmann performs Beethoven’s famed Moonlight Sonata, the work’s first of many times appearing on a UMS presentation. The sonata has been on numerous recital programs by legendary pianists, including Rudolf Serkin, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Alfred Brendel, and Ursula Oppens.
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Finnish composer and conductor Ossi Elokas leads the Polytech Chorus of Finland in his own work, titled “Kuutamolla” (Moonlight).
Italian lyric soprano Renata Tebaldi sings “O luna che fa’lume” (Oh moon that makes light) by Vincenzo Davico in her Hill Auditorium recital.
Tebaldi also performed Bellini’s “Vaga luna che inargenti” arietta in her 1959 recital, which was featured again on programs by Luciano Pavarotti in 1976 and by Cecilia Bartoli in 1995.
View all programs
The Nekrasov Russian Folk Orchestra performs Variations on the theme of the Russian Folk Song “Shining Moon” — a work that was presented again 10 years later in 1989 with the Osipov Balalaika Orchestra of Moscow.
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American baritone Thomas Hampson sings “Look Down Fair Moon” by Charles Naginski.
View full program
Percussionist Evelyn Glennie and The King’s Singers present Return of the Moon by composer Peter Klatzow.
Jazz legend Bill Frisell and his New Quartet perform an arrangement of Henry Mancini’s beloved “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Schoenberg’s famously dark melodrama Pierrot lunaire is performed for the first time in UMS’s history, with soprano Lucy Shelton. The work has only been presented once again, 10 years later in 2009.
Broadway legend Audra McDonald performs “Stars and the Moon” by Jason Robert Brown, in her first of seven UMS appearances.
Introducing UMS Playlists on Apple Music and Spotify
Open your ears to new listening experiences:
Presenting our global artists featured in the 2019/20 ‘Traditions & Crosscurrents’ series.
Fall in love with solo works performed by classical and jazz pianists who appear in UMS’s 2019/20 season.
Discover the virtuosity and variety of sounds, ensembles, and works by composers featured in UMS’s Chamber Arts series.
- A celebration of young composers by yMusic, featuring works by Caroline Shaw, Missy Mazzoli, Andrew Norman, and other luminaries
- Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who makes his Ann Arbor debut this Fall
- Max Richter’s global chart-topping “recomposition” of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons
UMS presents modern jazz masters this season, whose collaborations and unique sound push the ever-evolving genre into new sonic territory.
- Brooklyn based jazz/funk collective Snarky Puppy opens the season with music from their new album, Immigrance
- Tarek Yamani brings his hypnotic fusion of American jazz and Arabic tarab in his UMS debut
- Multiple Grammy Award winning Chick Corea Trilogy joined by an all-star lineup
- UMS favorites Cécile McLorin Salvant and Aaron Diehl join forces in two sets, improvising on the Great American Songbook
Sign up for UMS’s weekly newsletter to get notified about new playlist updates and releases. In addition to “guest list” takeovers, UMS will have dynamic playlists that update regularly with new tracks, including:
A preview of upcoming performances at UMS, updated the beginning of each month during the concert season.
Be adventurous. Open your mind and ears to bold new works — in a safe space to listen.
Celebrating 140+ years of UMS’s history presenting legendary artists on the University of Michigan’s great stages.
Playlist: Music of Andalusia
On April 15, 2016, Simon Shaheen brings to life the Arab music of Al-Andalus and blends it with the ubiquitous art of flamenco in Zafir, a program of instrumental and vocal music and dance that renews a relationship with music from a thousand years ago. Zafir explores the commonalities of music born in the cultural centers of Iraq and Syria that blew like the wind (zafir) across the waters of the Mediterranean to Al-Andalus. There it blended with elements of Spanish music and was brought back across the seas to North Africa, where it flourished in the cities of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
To offer a small taste of the music inspiring Zafir, we have compiled a playlist of music from Andalusia, the Middle East, and North Africa. While the performance will blend these three regions and show off the similarities, we’ll separate the three musical styles out here, so that you can hear how these styles have evolved and changed. Take a listen below!
People might think that dance is the essence of flamenco, but in truth, the heart of flamenco is the song (cante). The Arab roots of flamenco run deep, and although much of the history is obscured, it is clear that flamenco grew out of the unique culture in Andalusia. Scholars believe the word flamenco is derived from colloquial Arabic felag mangu, meaning “fugitive peasant.” The word was first used in the 14th century to refer to Andalusian Gypsies, who were called gitanos or flamencos. Soon, the term flamenco came to be applied to their music.
We’ve compiled a playlist of top flamenco musicians in the past century, which includes Camarón de la Isla, Tomatito, Paco de Lucía, La Niña de los Peines, and Carmen Linares.
Israel, Palestine, Egypt
Simon Shaheen, who will be playing in Zafir, is a virtuosic Palestinian-American violinist and ‘oud player who grew up in Israel. Until the early 1990s, Arab music from this region did not have wide distribution, so the focus was on international stars such as Umm Kulthum, Fairuz, and Farid al-Atrash.
The playlist we’ve created includes the musicians listed above.
Sonia M’barek, the vocalist performing for Zafir, is one of Tunisia’s most renowned singers. Her music centers on malouf, a Tunisian style of music that is based on an old Arabic type of poetry called qasidah. It features violins, drums, ‘oud, flutes, and a solo vocalist. The most important structural element of malouf, is the nuba, which was introduced to North Africa by Andalusian Muslims who were forced to leave Spain in the 14th Century.
Here is a playlist of top Tunisian musicians in the past century, which includes El Azifet, Hedi Jouini, Ali Riahi, and Anouar Brahem.
What will you listen for at the performance? Which musical thread interests you most? Share your comments below.
Zafir is at Michigan Theater on April 15, 2016.
- Tunisia, The Jewel of the Mediterranean. (n.d.) Tunisian Music. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://tunisia.oi-dev.co.uk/about-tunisia/culture/tunisian-music
- Noakes, Greg. (1994) Exploring Flamenco’s Arab Roots. Aramco World. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from https://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/199406/exploring.flamenco.s.arab.roots.htm
- Smadhi. Asma (2013) Seven Classic Tunisian Songs. Tunisialive. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/10/18/seven-classic-tunisian-songs/#sthash.GNvElBIV.dpuf
- New World Encyclopedia. (2013) Flamenco. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Flamenco
- Pareles, Jon. (2013). Tradition Performed with a Twist. The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/arts/music/sonia-mbarek-at-the-french-institute-alliance-francaise.html
- La Nuvola Bianca. (2015). Malouf, Traditional Tunisian Music. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://lanuvolabianca.com/2015/01/10/malouf-traditional-tunisian-music/
- Corrigan, Damian. (2015) Top Five Flamenco Artists. About Travel. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://gospain.about.com/od/music/tp/top5artists.htm
What makes music sacred?
Photo: On left, Apollo’s Fire, who perform Bach’s St. John Passion on March 15, 2016. On right, Simon Shaheen, who performs in Zafir on April 15, 2016. Photos courtesy of the artists.
Many people have a “sacred” song—one that especially resonates with or inspires. But what is the meaning of “sacred,” and what about music resonates so deeply? To try to get a sense of the answers to these questions, I asked surveyed a group of University of Michigan students about music that they consider sacred.
For some, a work calls to mind their religious origin and helps them seek a connection with a greater power. Hitomi, recent LSA music graduate, describes her sacred song: “The very first song that came to mind was Ave Maria. I feel that the lyrics evoke spirituality. It’s also a commonly known [religious] piece, so that’s why I associate the melody with connecting with spiritual existence. I experience a sense of serenity and calmness when I listen to Ave Maria. It’s like I’m getting cleansed from all of the negative feelings I might have at the moment.”
For others, like Abigail, a viola performance major, the “sacred” quality of music has to do with the context in which a piece was written. When asked about musical works that are sacred for her, Abigail explains: “Tchaikovsky’s 6th symphony is sacred to me; it’s very emotionally volatile. It’s especially dear to me because it was the last symphony Tchaikovsky wrote before he died, and there’s been so much discussion over what the symphony meant and whether it was a “suicide note.” I feel like the symphony is so emotionally intense that Tchaikovsky definitely had to have been going through something big in his life, but as far as I know, nobody’s really sure exactly what that was. I kind of like the mystery though — it leaves a lot more room for imagination.”
Monica, trumpet player in the Michigan Marching Band, holds a special affinity with the lyrics of her sacred song, Sara Bareilles’s Uncharted. Monica explains, “[The song] is about what to do when confronted with the unknown, when you are afraid of which direction to go in next, and about taking risks for yourself rather than follow what everyone else is doing. My favorite line is ‘compare where you are to where you want to be and you’ll get nowhere.’ [Uncharted is a song] of introspection, agency, and assurance. It suggests that ‘gold’ is not extra valuable just because everyone else seems to want it. Something ‘uncharted’ can be more valuable because you have the opportunity to make it mean as much as you want it to for yourself.”
Some songs are sacred because when we listen to them, they call to mind memories. Penny Stamps School of Art student and acoustic guitar enthusiast Hayden tells the story of her sacred song: “The Moon Song by Karen O made me cry the first time I heard it.” Hayden continues, “I was watching the movie Her on a long flight home from Ireland. I made it my mission to find out what the song [in the movie] was, and to learn it. I don’t really use my ukulele—you’ll usually find me jamming on guitar—but I picked it up so I could learn the Moon Song. [The song is] not even in my vocal range, but it gives me the warm fuzzies whenever I play it. I think that I like it so much because it brought me a dose of joy when I was sad to be a leaving a place where I wanted to stay, and on a mode of transportation that scares me to death. [The song] has that same dose of joy every time I plunk it out on my ukulele.”
Ryan, bassoon player in the Akropolis String Quartet, recalls the childhood memory tied to his sacred song, I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly. He says, “This might be a strange choice, especially because I will admit to knowing very few of the lyrics (just the famous chorus), and I haven’t listened to the studio recording of it in years. But, I associate that song with my deep childhood love of the movie Space Jam, starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. That movie taught me, in equal importance, the necessity of hard work and joy in the pursuit of my dreams (at the time, a career as a basketball player, but eventually music…). Since, the song has become a mental soundtrack much of the work I’ve put forth in life, and I have probably song the chorus out loud in front of people more than anything else I’ve ever heard. Sometimes I sing it in jest, sometimes I sing it sincerely—in private of course.”
Music can be sacred for many reasons. From Bach’s St. John’s Passion performed by Apollo’s Fire to the music of Andalucia in Simon Shaheen’s Zafir performance, there are many definitions of the sacred to explore through UMS performance in the upcoming season.
What’s your “sacred” music? What makes it sacred for you?