Ann Arbor History: Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock in Hill Auditorium
We are devastated that Chick Corea, one of the most prolific jazz greats of our time, passed away on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. UMS first presented Chick in 1994 at the Power Center, and most recently in 2019 as part of his ‘Trilogy’ tour with Christian McBride and Brian Blade. In addition to his seven UMS appearances spanning nearly three decades, Chick’s remarkable discography of nearly 90 albums includes a special connection to Ann Arbor and Hill Auditorium.
On Thursday, April 16, 2015, UMS presented An Evening with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock at Hill Auditorium. Two “nested” grand pianos with their lids removed adorned the stage at Hill Auditorium as a sold-out audience eagerly anticipated the forthcoming music. Some audience members in attendance may have remembered that this was not the first time that Chick and Herbie appeared alone together on the Hill stage; one would have to dive back to a winter night in February 1978 that ultimately resulted in side four of the now-classic album, An Evening with Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea: In Concert.
Please enjoy revisiting this musical gem of Ann Arbor history:
In 1978, jazz legends Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock were brought to Ann Arbor by Eclipse Jazz, a University of Michigan student group that existed from 1975 to 1987. Eclipse brought world-class jazz musicians to Ann Arbor for concerts, lectures, and workshops, and presented such greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Dexter Gordon, Sun Ra, Oscar Peterson, Mary Lou Williams, Sonny Stitt and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
We asked Lee Berry, former director of Eclipse Jazz and current Chief Development Officer at the Michigan Theater, to tell us all about the epic concert.
Hancock and Corea’s first show together at Hill Auditorium was scheduled for January 26, 1978, a date that might ring some bells for those who were university students during this time, because it was also known as the Great Blizzard of 1978. The University shut down due to snow that day.
Says Berry, “I think we learned that school was being cancelled, and then they called and said that [Herbie and Chick] couldn’t get out of New York.” The only reschedule date that worked for the musicians, Eclipse, and Hill Auditorium was February 26, 1978. The sold-out performance was to occur that day during the day time. Still, most of the 4177 ticket holders showed up, and, as Berry puts it, “it was a beautiful, beautiful show.”
The encore of that Hill Auditorium performance is side four of An Evening with Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea: In Concert, an album that Berry describes as a departure from the electric keyboard and fusion style of jazz that Corea and Hancock were known for before that album, and as a return to the acoustic piano and older, more collaborative style of playing that is the kind of jazz that has survived and is still thriving today. The recording, featuring two jazz greats changing the course of jazz’s future, was a moment in history. As Berry remembers, “Not too long after is when Wynton [Marsalis] came out, maybe ’81, and it was like old-school was back. This was kind of like a link between those two periods.”
For further reading:
Joyce DiDonato Sings “Silent Night”
“My hope is that in silence, we can find peace. And in that peace, we might be able to ignite some light and hope. Wishing you a deep sense of peace as we go into the New Year.” —JoyceDiDonato
Enjoy this very special arrangement of “Silent Night” performed by Joyce DiDonato and Àlex Garrobé. Joyce’s #SingForToday series is co-produced by UMS and Princeton University Concerts.
Listening Parties with Spektral Quartet & Tarek Yamani
On two consecutive evenings, the Spektral Quartet and Tarek Yamani opened up their creative process as they began their UMS Digital Artist Residency together. They shared music with each other — and our audiences — that has shaped their artistic backgrounds and formed their artistic identities.
Enjoy both listening party experiences on demand below, as well as our accompanying playlist on Apple Music & Spotify:
The Many Faces of the String Quartet
Thomas Adès, Arcadiana, Op 12 (1994)
III. Auf dem Wasser zu singen
Performers: Danish String Quartet
Album: ADÈS / NØRGÅRD / ABRAHAMSEN
Released on ECM Records, 2016
Available on: Spotify | Apple Music
Christopher Trapani, Isolario: Book of Known Islands
Book II: Mamoiada (2019)
Performers: Spektral Quartet w/ Max Bruckert, electronics
Live Concert Performance
Available on: Vimeo
On Both Sides of the Quarter-Tone
Al Qorbi Nasnas
Performer: Abu Bakr Salem
Available on: YouTube
Rashiq Al Qad
Performer: Ensemble Morkos
Album: Cedre – Arabo-Andalusian Muwashah
Available on: YouTube
Huseini Saz Eseri
Performer: Goksel Baktagir (qanun) with Yurdal Tokcan (oud), Ozer Arkun (violin), Baki Kemanci (keman)
Album: Sounds from the Ocean
Released: Hayalgibi Müzik Yapım, 2000
Available on: Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube
#UMSplaylists: Chamber Arts (yMusic Takeover)
Listen Now on
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!
Daniel Hope on ‘The Four Seasons’ and Max Richter’s ‘Vivaldi Recomposed’
Violinist Daniel Hope shares thoughts on Vivaldi’s masterpiece and its modern new take before his upcoming performance with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra on November 16.
I first experienced Vivaldi as a toddler at Yehudi Menuhin’s festival in Gstaad, Switzerland, in 1975…
One day I heard what I thought was birdsong coming from the stage. It was the opening solo of “La Primavera” from The Four Seasons. It had such an electrifying effect that I still call it my “Vivaldi Spring.” How was it possible to conjure up so vivid, so natural a sound, with just a violin?
In 1723 Vivaldi set about writing a series of works he boldly titled “Il Cimento dell’ Armonia e dell’invenzione” (The trial of harmony and invention), Opus 8. It consists of 12 concerti, seven of which — “Spring,” “Summer,” “Autumn” and “Winter” (which make up The Four Seasons), “Pleasure,” “The Hunt” and “Storm at Sea” — paint astonishingly vivid, vibrant scenes. In “Storm at Sea,” Vivaldi reached a new level of virtuosity, pushing technical mastery to the limit as the violinist’s fingers leap and shriek across the fingerboard, recalling troubled waters.
In the score, each of the four seasons are prefaced by four sonnets, possibly Vivaldi’s own, that establish each concerto as a musical image of that season. At the top of every movement, Vivaldi gives us a written description of what we are about to hear. These range from “the blazing sun’s relentless heat, men and flocks are sweltering” (Summer) to peasant celebrations (Autumn) in which “the cup of Bacchus flows freely, and many find their relief in deep slumber.” Images of warmth and wine are wonderfully intertwined. When the faithful hound “barks” in the slow movement of “Spring,” we experience it just as clearly as the patter of raindrops on the roof in the largo of “Winter.” No composer of the time got music to sing, speak and depict quite like this.
Today The Four Seasons, with more than 1,000 available recordings, are being reimagined…
Astor Piazzolla, Uri Caine, Philip Glass and others have all created their own versions. In Spring 2012, I received an enigmatic call from the British composer Max Richter, who said he wanted to “recompose” The Four Seasons for me. His problem, he explained, was not with the music, but how we have treated it. We are subjected to it in supermarkets, elevators or when a caller puts you on hold. Like many of us, he was deeply fond of the “Seasons” but felt a degree of irritation at the music’s ubiquity. He told me that because Vivaldi’s music is made up of regular patterns, it has affinities with the seriality of contemporary postminimalism, one style in which he composes. Therefore, he said, the moment seemed ideal to reimagine a new way of hearing it.
I had always shied away from recording Vivaldi’s original. There are simply too many other versions already out there. But Mr. Richter’s reworking meant listening again to what is constantly new in a piece we think we are hearing when, really, we just blank it out. In fact, working with Vivaldi Recomposed since 2012 inspired me to finally record The Four Seasons last year! In this program with UMS on November 16, pairing Vivaldi’s original with Max Richter’s brilliant new take, I feel both works inform and reflect on each other to create fresh and exciting connections.
— Daniel Hope
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:
An Interview with Paul Neubauer, viola
A 33-year history with UMS…
Violist Paul Neubauer is set to make his seventh UMS appearance since 1986 with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on October 11. 21st Century Artist Intern Karalyn Schubring recently interviewed the distinguished musician about his history with the ensemble and his memories of performing in Ann Arbor.
How did you you first came to play with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center?
“While I was a member of the New York Philharmonic, I was invited to take part in a CMS tour — which included a stop in Ann Arbor! After I left the Philharmonic, I joined CMS as a regular member. I have had countless memorable experiences in my time as part of this esteemed ensemble. Over the years, it has been amazing to study and perform interesting repertoire together around the world, during ‘Live from Lincoln Center’ broadcasts, and of course in our home at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.”
CMS operates under a “collective” model, where different artists from their large, star-studded roster come together to play depending on the needs of each concert. What is it like to play with different collaborators all the time?
“I have been playing chamber music with hundreds of different collaborators since I started playing the viola. Everyone you work with adds to your knowledge of music as well as your own personal musical history and growth.”
The first time you came to Ann Arbor with CMS was in 1986, and this will be your sixth time back since then. Do you have favorite artists that you’ve worked with in Ann Arbor?
“Some of the programs I’ve been part of in Ann Arbor include two of my favorite singers, Anne Sofie von Otter and Heidi Grant Murphy. I also see some of my wonderful long time collaborators like violinist Ani Kavafian and cellist Fred Sherry.”
This season’s program, which features 13 CMS artists, celebrates composers who have contributed to our idea of the “American” sound in the 20th century, including Copland, Bernstein, Dvořák, and his student, Harry Burleigh. Is there anything about this program you’re excited to share with us?
“This is all great music and it looks like a wonderful combination of pieces. The Dvořák Viola Quintet is one of my favorite chamber works. This is sometimes called Dvořák’s ‘American’ Quintet since he wrote it during his stay in Spillville, Iowa, and you might hear an influence of Bohemian and American folk music in the work.”
What’s an important life lesson you’ve learned from playing chamber music?
“You always are working to be the best diplomat as possible when you are working with other players.”
Do you have a favorite thing to do in Ann Arbor, or whenever you’re on tour?
“Ann Arbor is of course a vibrant and exciting college town, but when you are on tour, you rarely have time to get the full flavor of a city. The usual routine is to arrive the morning of the concert, head to the hotel and try to sleep or relax, then head to the hall for a rehearsal and concert. But more often than not, there’s a party or dinner where we might celebrate the evenings performance. Maybe this visit, I’ll have more time to enjoy Ann Arbor!”
Interview conducted by University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance composition major Karalyn Schubring, who spent Summer 2019 in New York City working with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as part of her 21st Century Artist Internship.
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.