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Preview Chamber Arts in the 24/25 Season

Takacs Quartet in Rackham Auditorium

Our 24/25 Chamber Arts Series welcomes back friends like the Takács Quartet (pictured above), plus the exciting UMS debuts of Branford Marsalis, the Escher Quartet, and the Rosamunde Quartet. Preview all six programs in Rackham Auditorium:

 

Escher Quartet

Escher Quartet
Sun Nov 10 at 4 pm

The Escher Quartet takes its name from the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by his method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole. Based in New York, Escher opens the Chamber Arts Series with a program featuring Mendelssohn’s last major composition, Béla Bartók’s second string quartet, and Dvořák’s joyful final string quartet, written shortly after he returned to Bohemia after a three-year stint in America.

Program

Felix Mendelssohn String Quartet No. 6 in f minor, Op. 80
Béla Bartók String Quartet No. 2, Op. 17, Sz. 67
Antonín Dvořák String Quartet No. 14 in A-flat Major, Op. 105

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Ariel Quartet with Alisa Weilerstein, cello
folk•lore

Ariel Quartet and Alisa Weilerstein
Thu Dec 12 at 7:30 pm

For centuries and across continents, folk music has influenced art music. This program, entitled folk·lore, explores the gray zone between the two styles through a dialogue between solo cello and string quartet, with all five artists performing an uninterrupted suite of traditional folk music from around the world.

The second half features one of the most influential works in the classical music repertoire: Schubert’s Cello Quintet in C Major, the last movement of which skillfully weaves together folk and art music through rhythmic and harmonic patterns characteristic of the Romani music of Hungary.

Program

Original works and transcriptions arranged by the Ariel Quartet and Alisa Weilerstein
Franz Schubert Cello Quintet in C Major, Op. 163, D. 956

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Caroline Shaw and Gabriel Kahane

Caroline Shaw and Gabriel Kahane
Thu Jan 23 at 7:30 pm

Respected as both performers and contemporary composers, Caroline Shaw and Gabriel Kahane embark on their first large-scale collaboration after working together for more than a decade.

They invite audiences to contemplate the joy, grief, wonder, and bewilderment that spring from a life oversaturated in information in a UMS co-commission inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’s 1939 short story, “The Library of Babel.” In this enigmatic narrative, Borges conjures a captivating and perplexing universe where the notion of infinity collides with the fragility of human understanding.

Program

Caroline Shaw and Gabriel Kahane The Library of Babel (UMS Co-Commission)
Additional works to be announced

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Branford Marsalis Chamber Project

Branford Marsalis, Liz Ames, and Tim McAllister
Fri Feb 21 at 7:30 pm

Branford Marsalis brings his classical chops to Rackham Auditorium in a concert featuring two members of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance community: saxophone professor Timothy McAllister and collaborative pianist Liz Ames.

The oldest son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Branford fully embraces both jazz and Western classical music, in addition to a burgeoning career as a composer. When asked a few years ago whether he finds classical music or jazz harder, the saxophonist said, “Classical is harder. Jazz is like a story that you personalize, but classical is a story where you can’t use your own words. It’s like reading Shakespeare or Chaucer. You have to develop the characters to make them believable, but the words aren’t yours, and you’re not going to change [them].”

Program

Claude Debussy Rhapsodie, L. 98
Sally Beamish “First Light” from Divertimenti for Two Soprano saxophones and Piano
Kelly-Marie Murphy Unstoppable Fear Machine
Additional works to be announced

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Rosamunde String Quartet

Rosamunde String Quartet
Wed Mar 12 at 7:30 pm

Founded in 2015, the Rosamunde String Quartet is composed of members from three of the world’s greatest orchestras: Noah Bendix-Balgley, the first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic; Shanshan Yao, a concert violinist and former member of both the Pittsburgh Symphony and the New York Philharmonic; Teng Li, principal violist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Nathan Vickery, cellist with the New York Philharmonic. By uniting their experiences, they create a distinctive sound and unanimity of expression, sharing their love of chamber music with each other and with audiences worldwide.

Program

Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3
Béla Bartók String Quartet No. 3, Sz. 85
Franz Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in d minor, D. 810 (“Death and the Maiden”)

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Takács Quartet

Takács Quartet
Thu Apr 24 at 7:30 pm

“Classical music doesn’t get much more life-enhancing than this.” (The Guardian, London)

Since their UMS debut in 1984, the Takács Quartet’s nearly annual appearances are always a highlight of the Chamber Arts Series. This year, the cherished ensemble celebrates its 50th anniversary with a program that pairs Haydn and Beethoven, two innovators of the string quartet form, with Benjamin Britten’s rarely-performed String Quartet No. 2.

Program

Joseph Haydn String Quartet in C Major, Op. 54, No. 2
Benjamin Britten String Quartet No. 2 in C Major, Op. 36
Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135

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24/25 Season Ticket packages are on sale now! You can experience these performances in our 6-concert Chamber Arts for as little as $150. Or, craft a performance season as unique as you and save 10% with Series:You. Either way, you’ll get early access to the best seats in Rackham Auditorium — and at the best prices — before individual event tickets go on sale in August.

Subscribers save up to 17% over individual event prices and receive other great benefits as well, including discounts throughout the year to all UMS events, free exchange privileges, installment billing, and more!

Learn More

Donor Spotlight: Howard Bond

Howard Bond and Elida Malila

Howard Bond and Elida Malila

One of the great perks of working at UMS is hearing about our patrons’ cherished memories and the beautiful relationships that can blossom through shared arts experiences.

Howard Bond and his late wife, Margaret (1931-2022), met shortly before enrolling in Bowling Green State University, where she was (according to Howard) the piano star of the music department and came within a hair of graduating with the highest GPA in the whole of BGSU in 1952. They moved to Ann Arbor in 1962 and held season tickets for the UMS Choral Union series for several decades. Later in life, they added season tickets for the Detroit, Toledo, and Ann Arbor symphonies and reached a peak of attending 40 concerts annually.

Howard’s career was in photography (see some of his work on The Art Institute of Chicago’s website), and he studied under renowned landscape photographer Ansel Adams. Margaret was a piano teacher and performer while also raising their two children, Susan Tobias and Brian Bond. In the 1960s, Howard began to sing in the UMS Choral Union, and continued to participate for nearly 40 years under directors Lester McCoy, Donald Bryant, and Thom Sheets.

Among all the great European and American orchestras with which the UMS Choral Union sang, Howard’s most memorable experience was singing Mahler’s 8th Symphony in Grand Rapids in 1997 (the concert was repeated in Ann Arbor). He recalls that Catherine Comet, the orchestra’s conductor, brought together a combined chorus from Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids and she did a fine job of conducting. However, she had the flu during the Grand Rapids performance. At the end, she staggered off the stage and was too ill to come out for a bow. Howard thought she was a hero.

After many loving decades together, Margaret sadly passed away in August 2022. Howard’s love of the arts endured despite the heartache of her loss, and he continued to attend UMS performances without his music-loving partner by his side.

The following May, Howard bought a ticket to see Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 at Hill Auditorium, which he had previously sung with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. When Howard was seated, he saw that the adjacent seat was occupied by a woman who looked slightly familiar, but he didn’t know her name. He soon learned that she, Elida Malila, had played Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto as a senior in high school and received a music degree from Michigan State.

Howard now has season tickets for those two exact seats (pictured above), and they have attended many other concerts together in the past year. “The frosting on the cake is that Elida was in the Choral Union at the same time I was, but we never met because the chorus is so large!”

Howard is an incredibly generous philanthropic supporter of UMS, and was excited to sponsor the Berliner Philharmoniker’s return in UMS’s 24/25 Season. He shared with us:

“My eyes lit up when I saw that the Berlin Philharmonic, probably Germany’s best, is scheduled for two concerts here this fall. I directed that my annual contribution be used to help sponsor them. I wonder how many Ann Arbor citizens realize how lucky we are that UMS makes these musical treats available to us.”

Orchestra of the Americas Residency Recap

Applause for Yo-Yo Ma, Kayhan Kalhor, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and the Orchestra of the Americas after the preview premiere of ‘Venus in the Mirror'

Applause for Yo-Yo Ma, Kayhan Kalhor, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and the Orchestra of the Americas after the preview premiere of Venus in the Mirror, June 11, 2024. Photo by Eric Bronson.

In the summer of 2023, Yo-Yo Ma’s management team approached UMS about an opportunity to host a one-of-a-kind musical gathering at the University of Michigan. This project would bring together talented young musicians from around the world to rehearse, workshop, and perform an all-new concerto in advance of its official world premiere at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany.

The Orchestra of the Americas, a Latin Grammy-winning ensemble led by conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, would also invite approximately 20 students from the U-M School of Music, Theater & Dance in a week of workshops for this new double concerto, written for cello and kamancheh (spiked fiddle) by composer Kayhan Kalhor. The piece celebrates 25 years of musical friendship between Ma and Kalhor, who were both original members of the Silkroad Ensemble.

After months of complex planning and preparation during our 23/24 season, this project came fully to life with a weeklong residency and culminating performance in Hill Auditorium on June 11, 2024. Enjoy this recap of an unforgettable week!

 

Welcome to Ann Arbor

Thursday, June 6

More than 60 musicians from 18 countries arrived in Ann Arbor for the start of the residency. A morning orientation allowed the Orchestra of the Americas musicians to meet the participating U-M SMTD students and explore the beautiful University of Michigan campus.

A group of Orchestra of the Americas musicians in front of Hill Auditorium.

A group of Orchestra of the Americas musicians in front of Hill Auditorium on their campus tour.

 

Sectional Rehearsals Across Campus

Thursday-Saturday, June 6-8

Musicians worked together over three days of sectional rehearsals led by faculty from OA and U-M SMTD, as well as OA conducting fellows. They ensured the collective ensemble was well prepared before the arrivals of conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto and soloists Yo-Yo Ma and Kayhan Kalhor.

In addition to the new Kalhor concerto, their performance repertoire included Gabriela Ortiz’s Téenek, plus Ottorino Respighi’s Roman Festivals and Pines of Rome.

 

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All Together On Stage

Sunday, June 9

After an exciting first rehearsal with the full orchestra and guest artists, Yo-Yo Ma joined the musicians for a quick photo op!

 

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An Insider’s Perspective

Monday, June 10

U-M SMTD oboist Mark Doerr took over UMS’s Instagram account to give us an insider’s look (and listen!) of the final day of rehearsals with his colleagues. In this clip, he tackles a passage from Respighi’s Pines of Rome

 

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A Packed Audience

Tuesday, June 11

Audiences began to fill the 3,500-seat Hill Auditorium in eager anticipation of the residency’s culminating performance. This concert sold out within a week of its public on-sale in January!

Audience filling Hill Auditorium

Audience filling Hill Auditorium. Photo by Peter Smith.

 

Venus in the Mirror Debuts

Yo-Yo Ma and Kayhan Kalhor brilliantly performed Venus in the Mirror, Kalhor’s new double concerto, in the first half of the program.

Kayhan Kalhor and Yo-Yo Ma performing

Kayhan Kalhor and Yo-Yo Ma. Photo by Eric Bronson.

Kalhor shared the following insights on his composition:

As a musician, I have always cherished the profound privilege of interpreting the voice of my musical culture and instrument in moments of solitude and alongside those I hold dear. Over the past 50 years, this freedom has enabled me to define my perception of life through the Arts.

Amidst a world in turmoil, a 25-year journey of friendship and collaboration with a remarkable individual is a milestone that calls for artistic commemoration.

This piece serves not only as a celebration of our bond but also as a reflection on the social interests and complexities in general and during the past few years, particularly the current situation and social nuances of my home country and the brave young Iranians, especially Iranian women.

The concerto, Venus in the Mirror, is a testament to peace and friendship. It was born out of a desire to create a moment of tranquility amid chaos and to explore the delicate balance of human existence. This theme resonates deeply in these complicated times.

 

A Thrilling Second Half

In the second half of the program, audiences were treated to Ottorino Respighi’s masterpieces Roman Festivals and Pines of Rome, which featured the sonic brilliance of antiphonal brass from the balcony.

Antiphonal brass in the Hill Auditorium Balcony

Antiphonal brass in the Hill Auditorium balcony during Respighi’s Pines of Rome. Photo by Peter Smith.

 

An Encore Unlike Any Other!

Carlos Miguel Prieto and the Orchestra of the Americas kept the celebration going with two joyous encore pieces by Alberto Ginastera and Zequinha de Abreu, which had the crowd stomping their feet. The final encore featured improvised musical and dance solos by the musicians — an Orchestra of the Americas tradition at every concert they perform!

Improvised dance during the Orchestra of the Americas’ encore

Improvised dance during the Orchestra of the Americas’ encore. Photo by Peter Smith.

In the final of several standing ovations, OA musicians proudly unfurled flags from their home countries in a fantastic sendoff, a visual commemoration of this unforgettable residency and week of cultural exchange.

Orchestra of the Americas musicians holding flags representing their home countries

Orchestra of the Americas musicians holding flags representing their home countries. Photo by Peter Smith.

 

Our Sincerest Appreciation

Every staff member at UMS played a significant role behind the scenes in bringing this residency to life. We especially thank our project leaders in Programming, Production, and Learning & Engagement teams for their tireless dedication over the past months:

Alex Gay, Director of Production
Cayenne Harris, Vice President, Learning & Engagement
Marissa Honig, Project Manager
Mark Jacobson, Vice President, Programming and Production

UMS has been supported by passionate university, individual, and corporate sponsors who were essential to making it possible for us to support this residency at the University of Michigan. We thank all of our sponsors for their incredible generosity and commitment to our mission of connecting audiences and artists in uncommon and engaging experiences.

Orchestra of the Americas residency sponsors with Kayhan Kalhor, Yo-Yo Ma, and Carlos Miguel Prieto

Orchestra of the Americas residency sponsors with Kayhan Kalhor, Yo-Yo Ma, and Carlos Miguel Prieto. L-R: Mark Clague (Arts Initiative), Thea Glicksman, Menakka Bailey, Peter Schweitzer, Kayhan Kalhor, Yo-Yo Ma, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Rachel Feder, Dan Feder, Eileen Weiser, Dick Caldarazzo, Mike Martin, Brian Weisman

Presenting Sponsors

Matt and Nicole Lester
Menakka and Essel Bailey
Office of the President Arts Initiative

Principal Sponsors

Martin Family Foundation
Elaine and Peter Schweitzer
Linh and Dug Song

Supporting Sponsors

Helga and Jerry Bilik
Stephen and Faith Brown
Rachel and Dan Feder
Shaomeng Wang and Ju-Yun Li
Ellie Serras
Brian Weisman
Dianne Widzinski
Jon and Sandy Willen

Sesi Lincoln logo

Patron Sponsors

Thea Glicksman

UMS Receives the Largest Gift in Its 146-Year History

With a generous gift of $5 million, University of Michigan alumna Eileen Weiser and her husband Richard “Dick” Caldarazzo establish the Weiser Caldarazzo Iconic Artists Endowment Fund at UMS. The fund will support two performances annually by significant artists or ensembles recognized as icons in today’s vibrant performing arts scene.

UMS Board of Directors co-chairs Brian Willen and Christina Kim, Dick Caldarazzo and Eileen Weiser, and UMS president Matthew VanBesien

UMS Board of Directors co-chairs Brian Willen and Christina Kim, Dick Caldarazzo and Eileen Weiser, and UMS president Matthew VanBesien

Having served on Michigan’s State Board of Education, the National Assessment Governing Board, the Presidential Scholars Commission, the Education Commission of the States, the 21st Century Education Commission, and as an appointee on the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the gift aligns with Weiser’s priorities of supporting student enrichment and achievement.

Weiser also holds piano performance degrees from Michigan State University (B.M.1972) and the University of Michigan (M.M., 1975), giving her a first-hand appreciation of how the performing arts support a vibrant cultural community in Southeast Michigan.

“The performing arts are precious to both of us for the haven they provide from everyday life. We treasure how the arts challenge us, make us laugh or cry, provoke new thoughts and ideas while lifting up our emotions. They are essential to creating tolerance, strengthening our humanity, and helping people find balance in our increasingly complex world.”
—Eileen Weiser

Weiser serves on U-M boards including the School of Education Dean’s Advisory Council and the UMS Campaign Council. She has supported UMS over the years, most recently serving as a Title Sponsor in helping to fund the presentation of Itzhak Perlman & Friends in December 2023 and Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma in January 2024.

“The University Musical Society has provided amazing performance opportunities for 146 years. We are grateful that we can help ensure that tradition of excellence for the future, both for the performers they nurture and the joy they bring to our community.”
—Dick Caldarazzo

Hailing from Chicago, Caldarazzo (U-M LSA ‘70, DePaul ‘75 J.D.) played offensive guard for the Michigan Wolverines in the 1970 Rose Bowl under the legendary Bo Schembechler. A Michigan Man through and through, Caldarazzo values upholding the distinctive “Leaders and Best” culture at Michigan — and establishing this new endowment at UMS does just that.

This is the first gift that Weiser and her husband Caldarazzo are making together, and the largest gift that UMS has ever received since its founding in 1879.

“As all of us at UMS look forward to our 150th season in 2028-29, and all the exciting things we are planning, it is incredibly gratifying to have this extraordinary commitment from Eileen Weiser and Dick Caldarazzo — two fervent believers in the arts and culture, UMS, and the University of Michigan,” Matthew VanBesien UMS president, noted. “Their support helps ensure we can always invite the world’s most iconic and important artists and ensembles to perform on our stages and for the benefit of our students and the broader community.”

Experience Orchestral All-Stars from Around the World

The Berliner Philharmoniker in Hill Auditorium in 2022

There’s nothing like hearing a great orchestra in the acoustic beauty of Hill Auditorium….and UMS’s 24/25 Season welcomes many opportunities to experience it!

Preview the orchestral all-stars of our 24/25 Choral Union Series, featuring two different programs by the Berliner Philharmoniker, phenomenal soloists, Prokofiev’s triumphant film score, and so much more!

 

London Philharmonic Orchestra


Fri Oct 18 at 7:30 pm

The London Philharmonic returns to Hill Auditorium after 13 years — with UMS debuts by principal conductor Edward Gardner and violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja — in a program of Shostakovich, Sibelius, and works by composer-in-residence Tania León and Benjamin Britten.

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Berliner Philharmoniker with Hilary Hahn, violin

Hilary Hahn
Sat Nov 23 at 7:30 pm

In the first of two concerts by the Berliner Philharmoniker, violinist Hilary Hahn makes her first Ann Arbor appearance in two decades, performing Korngold’s heart-tugging violin concerto. Also on the program: Rachmaninoff’s first orchestral masterpiece, Isle of the Dead, and Dvořák’s dramatic Symphony No. 7.

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Berliner Philharmoniker: Bruckner 5

Kirill Petrenko conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker
Sun Nov 24 at 4 pm

The Berliner Philharmoniker and chief conductor Kirill Petrenko perform Bruckner’s monumental Symphony No. 5, which explores themes of struggle, redemption, and spiritual transcendence, with rich brass chorales in the final movement.

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Film with Live Orchestra: Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky

An orchestra plays while the film Alexander Nevsky is projected on a screen above them.
Sat Mar 22 at 7:30 pm

The 1938 Soviet historical drama was directed by Sergei Eisenstein with a score written by Sergei Prokofiev. It depicts the attempted invasion of Novgorod in the 13th century by Knights of the Holy Roman Empire and their defeat by Prince Alexander, aka Alexander Nevsky. The film and music were a true collaboration in that some of the film was shot to Prokofiev’s music and some of Prokofiev’s music was composed to Eistenstein’s footage.

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra will be joined by the mighty UMS Choral Union, led by conductor Scott Hanoian.

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Les Arts Florissants: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at 300

Les Arts Florissants
Wed Apr 9 at 7:30 pm

When first published in 1725, nobody could imagine that Vivaldi’s Four Seasons would become some of the most frequently-heard music of all time! Violin sensation Théotime Langlois de Swarte joins acclaimed early music ensemble Les Arts Florissants in a performance that frames Vivaldi’s iconic concertos in a new light. The program invites questions about the fleeting cyclical nature of our existence, our relationship with nature, and the eternal renewal of earth’s cycles, now being modified by climate change.

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24/25 Season Ticket packages are on sale now! You can experience these performances in our 10-concert Choral Union Series for as little as $140. Or, craft a performance season as unique as you and save 10% with Series:You. Either way, you’ll get early access to the best seats in the Power Center — and at the best prices — before individual event tickets go on sale in August.

Subscribers save up to 17% over individual event prices and receive other great benefits as well, including discounts throughout the year to all UMS events, free exchange privileges, installment billing, and more!

Learn More

Provocative Theater in the 24/25 Season

With adventurous and exciting performers from the US and Europe, UMS’s 24/25 theater lineup is not for the faint of heart! It showcases opportunities to dig deep into our inner selves, reflect on our own values, and see shades of gray in a world that all too often presents itself in black and white.

Explore the artists and works coming to campus in the new season…and prepare to be moved!

 

Fight Night

Ontroerend Goed

Fight Night by Ontroerend GoedWed-Sun Sep 25-29 // Power Center

An interactive exploration of why we vote the way we do…

Five candidates. One winner. You decide who survives. On the brink of a presidential election, Belgium’s extraordinary Ontroerend Goed offers a fun and thought-provoking, examination of free will and politics that puts electronic voting devices — and the candidates’ fates — directly into the hands of audience members. Leave your politics at the door — this resolutely political show contains no identifiable political message, ideology, or social or economic reality, but draws attention to how the battle for our attention, sympathy, and approval reveal surprising and superficial snap judgments. Each performance is different depending on who is in the audience.

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Ulysses

Elevator Repair Service

Ulysses / Elevator Repair ServiceSat-Sun Oct 19-20 // Power Center

A madcap adaptation of James Joyce’s masterpiece…

Building on a rich history of staging modernist texts, Elevator Repair Service takes on this mammoth work of 21st-century literature (in an abridged version!) for their UMS debut. Seven performers sit down for a sober reading but soon find themselves guzzling pints, getting in brawls, and committing debaucheries as they careen on a fast-forward tour through Joyce’s funhouse of styles. With madcap antics and a densely layered sound design, Elevator Repair Service presents an eclectic sampling from Joyce’s life-affirming masterpiece.

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Nate — A One Man Show

Written by and starring Natalie Palamides

Natalie Palamides as 'Nate'Wed-Sun Feb 5-9 // Arthur Miller Theatre

A deconstruction of toxic masculinity…

Meet Nate, “a hypermasculine, adrenaline-fueled, protein powder enthusiast … a man’s man” (NPR) performed by Natalie Palamides in drag. Palamides premiered the show to wide acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018 before Amy Poehler produced it as a Netflix special. Nate careens between making the audience laugh and making them uncomfortable, earnestly asking for permission while manipulating audience members to comply with absurd requests. The constant mixed signals come to a head with conflicting interpretations of consent — though perhaps not in the ways you would expect. This clever and provocative deconstruction of toxic masculinity sticks with you long after the performance ends.

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TRIPTYCH

Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom: TRIPTYCHFri-Sat Mar 28-29 // Power Center

A suspense-filled universe…

In this noirish labyrinth of missing doors, lost rooms, and hidden floors — scenes you’d expect from the brain of David Lynch — time, memory, and premonition revolve around the illusions, utopias, and lost loves of characters who act out their own enigmatic fiction, continually drifting away and searching for one another. Originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater, Triptych is performed by the acclaimed Belgian dance-theater company Peeping Tom.

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24/25 Season Ticket packages are on sale now! You can experience these four works for as little as $130 with a Theater Series subscription. Or, craft a performance season as unique as you and save 10% with Series:You. Either way, you’ll get early access to the best seats in the Power Center — and at the best prices — before individual event tickets go on sale in August.

Subscribers save up to 17% over individual event prices and receive other great benefits as well, including discounts throughout the year to all UMS events, free exchange privileges, installment billing, and more!

Learn More

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.

April 2024 at the Freighthouse: A Hub for Local Talent and Creative Expression

It’s hard to believe that UMS concluded a pilot week of programming at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse just one year ago. That pilot residency introduced a Pay-What-You-Wish ticket model and an eclectic variety of events for multi-generational audiences.

UMS’s April 2024 residency built on the momentum of our pilot week and a fantastic, four-week return to the Freighthouse last fall. We welcomed nearly 2,000 guests from across Southeast Michigan — a third of whom self-identified as Ypsilanti residents.

We are delighted that the Freighthouse has become a creative hub and gathering place for culturally curious audiences of all ages. Take a look back at our favorite moments — from the local talents of our Open Mic Night participants to the immersive fun of our free Family Days:

 

Getting Into the Swing of Things

Participants swing dance at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse
We kicked off our April 2024 residency with a night of swing dance led by Riverside Swings and Swing Ann Arbor. They taught folks the basics, and then everyone danced the night away to the hot horn riffs and bouncing bass lines of Ferndale’s Aston Neighborhood Pleasure Club.

 

A Birthday Celebration of New Music

Hub New Music
Our first chamber music experience at the Freighthouse was a huge success. We celebrated Hub New Music’s 10th anniversary with an evening of exciting new works written specifically for the Michigan-based ensemble by celebrated living composers, including Tyshawn Sorey and Nico Muhly.

In the weeks leading up to their Freighthouse debut, Hub New Music worked with students from Estabrook Elementary School in Ypsilanti to develop an original composition (about pirates!), which they premiered in a special K-12 performance.

A student conducts Hub New Music in performance

 

Throwing It Back with Y2Gay

Zooey Gaychanel and local drag artists perform
By popular demand, Drag Night returned to the Freighthouse in millennium-glitching fashion! Hostess with the mostess Zooey Gaychanel led the crowd through dance hits of the 1990s and 2000s, featuring a cast of local drag artists and on-brand DJ sets by DJ Medusa.

 

A Not-So-Silent Movie Night

The Lodger
UMS teamed up with the Independent Film Festival Ypsilanti (iFFY) to present The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, a 1927 silent thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Michigan’s Little Bang Theory accompanied the film with an original score, played on toy and non-traditional instruments — adding a fresh thrill to this thriller.

 

Dancing Through Mexico

Dancing Through Mexico
Flint’s El Ballet Folklórico Estudiantil led interactive performances for nearly 100 families and taught kids the basic movements of Mexican folkloric dance, accompanied by live music.

 

An Earth Day Celebration

Joe Reilly and friends lead the audience in dance
Local singer-songwriter Joe Reilly performed fun community and nature-inspired songs in a special Earth Day concert for families. His “Turkey Vulture” rap was an especially big hit with the crowd!

After Joe Reilly’s performance, Ypsilanti-based Growing Hope Urban Farm helped families craft seed balls to spread native wildflowers throughout our community.

Kids craft seed balls made of clay

 

Ypsi’s Got Talent

Local artists take the stage at Open Mic Night
Singer, songwriter, and UMS staff member Rochelle Clark hosted a free Open Mic Night, inviting local musicians, poets, and artists from Ypsi and beyond to share their talents with the community. The evening featured special appearances by the State of Michigan’s poet laureate Nandi Comer, as well as bass player Gwenyth Hayes.

 

Shigeto Live Ensemble

Shigeto Live Ensemble
Beloved Detroit electronic artist and percussionist Shigeto joined forces with saxophone virtuoso Marcus Elliot and Ian Fink on keyboard, in an electrifying, packed, and sold-out late-night set for our final Friday at the Freighthouse.

It was wonderful to welcome back Marcus Elliot, who gave the memorable world premiere of Sonic Contributions at the Freighthouse last Fall:

 

A Beautiful Ecosystem of Sounds

Members of Regenerate Orchestra play music and toss tissue paper in the air
The Regenerate! Orchestra returned to the Freighthouse for two events to close our residency. A community of musicians created immersive soundscapes inspired by nature and a blend of traditional instruments, vocals, and sounds from everyday objects, and the audience was invited to walk around and participate in sonic creation throughout the performances.

Enjoy this footage of the Regenerate! Orchestra’s first Freighthouse appearance from UMS’s pilot week in April 2023:

 

Thank you to all who participated in our April residency at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse! UMS will be back in Ypsi in September 2024. Sign up for our Freighthouse interest list for a reminder when full details are announced later this summer.

 

Thank You to Our Residency Supporters

The Ypsilanti Freighthouse residency is supported by Menakka and Essel Bailey and Matt and Nicole Lester.

Additional residency support from WEMU 89.1 FM.

Funded in Part by

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

Preview Groundbreaking Dance in the 24/25 Season

UMS is known for welcoming cutting-edge international dance companies to Ann Arbor, and our 24/25 dance lineup proudly continues this rich legacy! Explore the artists and works coming to the Power Center stage in the new season:

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan
13 Tongues

Sat-Sun, Oct 26-27 // Power Center

Choreographer Cheng Tsung-lung’s work 13 Tongues recalls his mother’s stories about a legendary street artist in the 1960s. Cheng transforms his childhood memories of Taoist rites and the bustling street life of Bangka (艋舺), the oldest district in Taipei, into a dreamlike fantasy world. Beginning and ending with the sound of a single hand bell, the evocative musical score interweaves Taiwanese folk songs, Taoist chant, and electronica on a journey from the ancient to the contemporary.

Learn More

 

 

Shamel Pitts | TRIBE
BLACK HOLE: Trilogy and Triathlon

Fri-Sat, Mar 14-15 // Power Center

Three Black dancers share the stage in a narrative of unity, vigor, and unrelenting advancement. Their journey originates in the darkness of the titular Black Hole, understood not as a cosmic void but a metaphorical place of transformation and potential. Engulfed in an evocative soundscape of original music, sound samples, and spoken word, the dancers embark on an hour-long, uninterrupted journey in movement, in which their tenacity and grace are emphasized by cinematic video projections and stark, monochromatic lights.

Learn More

 

 

Peeping Tom
TRIPTYCH: The Missing Door, The Lost Room, and The Hidden Floor

Fri-Sat, Mar 28-29 // Power Center

In this noirish labyrinth of missing doors, lost rooms, and hidden floors — “scenes you’d rather expect from the brain of David Lynch” — time, memory, and premonition revolve around the illusions, utopias, and lost loves of characters who act out their own enigmatic fiction, continually drifting away and searching for one another. Originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater, Triptych is performed by the acclaimed Belgian dance-theater company Peeping Tom.

Learn More

 

 


24/25 Season Ticket packages are on sale now! You can experience these three groundbreaking dance performers for as little as $75 with a Dance Series subscription. Or, craft a performance season as unique as you and save 10% with Series:You. Either way, you’ll get early access to the best seats in the Power Center — and at the best prices — before individual event tickets go on sale in August.

Subscribers save up to 17% over individual event prices and receive other great benefits as well, including discounts throughout the year to all UMS events, free exchange privileges, installment billing, and more!

Learn More

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Regenerate!: Community Orchestra for All

“Place a sound on the moon. Bury a sound in the earth. Emit a sound into the sun.”

Written by composer Akari Komura, these are the instructions given to members of Regenerate! Orchestra as they rehearse “Sonic Habitat #93.” Their interpretations create a cacophony of noise on varied instruments from the flute and cello to pieces of slate, forks, and mugs, as performers search for sounds to embody the prompt.

Regenerate! is a non-traditional orchestra. Open to all, regardless of musical experience, the ensemble isn’t trying to harmonize or blend, but is instead inspired by shape note or sacred harp singing, an American folk tradition of choir music. “Everybody is trying to sound their own specific way, very loudly. And it ends up sounding messy and very alive,” explains founder and conductor Clay Gonzalez. “In the orchestra, it’s really about the ecosystem of sounds. It’s about everybody sounding different and their voice fitting in with this ecosystem of voices.”

Regenerate! Orchestra plays at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse, April 2023

Beginning as a collaboration between Clay and Peter Littlejohn on orchestra house concerts in 2018, Regenerate! has evolved overtime, centering around shared values of community building and making music a more democratic civic space. “I definitely went through a personal transformation where the world of classical music, as it is practiced, no longer felt like a home to me. And so the group definitely became a kind of refuge from the strictures of the classical music world, a place where we could explore a different system of values,” explains Clay.

Peter, who often performs vocals with the ensemble, notes that the group’s development follows Clay’s personal compositional practice, observing what was naturally happening in music spaces and encouraging particularly exciting elements. He shares a key realization that “we didn’t just have to work with our friends from music school. Honestly, this is music that was perhaps even better played by people from multiple different backgrounds and even no background in music whatsoever.”

Bryce Richardson confirms Regenerate! is unique, because “anybody can show up and play any instrument, at any skill level. If you’ve never read music before, or if you don’t even play an instrument, you can join Regenerate! and enjoy music making with a group of people.” Bryce, who has been part of the orchestra for two years, particularly enjoys Regenerate!’s flexible instrumentation. In the upcoming performances, he’ll play the bassoon, two recorders, kindling, two pieces of slate, a fork, and a glass.

Mason jars of beans, egg shakers, and bells.

Regenerate! Orchestra’s found percussion instruments

Peter adds that a highlight of Regenerate! is getting to know the participants who make music together in a meaningful way. “I think many people are incredibly alienated and live lives that are really socially starved and without much meaning or connection to other people. I want to have a richer social tapestry, and Regenerate! is a really powerful example of how that’s possible with a pretty broad pool of people.” A key component of fostering this connection and community are shared meals, which Peter cooks for each rehearsal. “We are asking people to show up and be vulnerable and try hard at something, which is a big ask. Feeding them is an essential part of that bargain.”

Shannon Rau is playing her euphonium for the first time in roughly five years. They describe Regenerate! as a vibrant, refreshing reintroduction to music, “It’s simultaneously meditative and energizing. It’s fun to have something to practice, a good reason to just sit down and play.” They especially appreciate the experimental nature of Regenerate!, jangling chains and breaking sticks in addition to playing the euphonium.

Hoda Bandeh-Ahmadi, who began performing with Regenerate! in 2022, had always wanted to play music with other people, but didn’t have many opportunities for lessons or formal training growing up. “I had picked up ukulele because it’s easier to get a cheap one and play around with YouTube tutorials. But I didn’t really think I was good enough to play anything with other people.” When Hoda heard about Regenerate!, she took a chance. “At first when I saw the way the music is written which is unconventional, I’m like, ‘Is that even gonna sound good?’ And I just loved how it all came together, the way that Clay planned it out. That felt really magical and fun. I also just loved the people. And it worked. I don’t stress so much if I’m good enough.” 

The score of Stick Season

The score of “Stick Season”

The pieces are written using a specialized notation. Parts are guided by timers and written in brackets. Performers follow their bracketed instructions, which might be traditional music notation, guitar tabs, or descriptive text. This allows people at any level to participate , no matter their music practice. These scores serve as a guide, rather than a rulebook, with each iteration of the orchestra developing its own internal voice and sound.

Though anxious about performing on the flute for the first time since high school, Hazal Soyucengil enjoys the open endedness and casual nature of the orchestra, saying it’s nothing like music class or band. “I think it’s good to be in an environment where you’re not necessarily expected to know the answers.”

Over the course of rehearsals, Clay works with the orchestra to shape the pieces and guide the group into certain sounds or textures, but the end result is always a surprise — even to him. “This project is an exercise in letting go of expectations. It’s almost impossible to predict how it will sound.” 

On April 27 and 28, 2024, the orchestra will present four pieces, two by long-time members Maddy Wildman and Grey Rose Grant, one by Clay, and one from composer Akari Komura, who specializes in nature-centric text scores.

Bassoon player and UMS staff member Maddy Wildman wrote “Sugar Bush,” a piece about tapping trees for maple syrup and “embracing the sparkle of later winter.” It evokes the soundscape of a sugar bush, the forest stand of maple trees used for syrup, in spring. The performance will feature 22 performers dropping pebbles in water, mimicking the gentle sound of drops of sap falling into a bucket. Though initially written for a smaller group, Maddy says the piece will really shine with the Regenerate! Orchestra. “It was originally written for cello solo, but there are five cellists. So we’re going to spread them out around the room and have them all play the solo, slightly displaced. Yeah, this is where this piece belongs.”

Grey Rose Grant and Clay Gonzalez demonstrate the choreography to "Magical Thinking"

Grey Rose Grant and Clay Gonzalez demonstrate the choreography of “Magical Thinking” in rehearsal.

Regenerate! is the best kind of orchestra according to Grey Rose Grant, who describes the project as deeply tied to their values. “This is such a community-forward organization. Everyone who comes gets a free meal for every rehearsal. There is no barrier to entry. There are so many ways in which people are able to engage at any level of experience or any instrument.” Grey’s composition “Magical Thinking” explores aging, life change, and death, featuring an erasure poem created from Annie Dillard’s essay on the 1979 total solar eclipse. They particularly look forward to audiences engaging with the piece. “It’s really special to see audiences sometimes be a little confused, but then realize what’s happening — to see them go from kind of reserved when it starts, maybe sitting in their seats, to then moving — walking around the space and really moving through the orchestra and listening to these tiny details.”

Peter adds that Regenerate! is an in-person, site-specific performance and explains the best seats in the house are the ones inside of the orchestra. “We’re trying to give that experience to everyone by allowing them to walk around and hear how the piece sounds different in each corner. You might be close to someone who’s making a very soft sound that that you’ll never hear across the room, but right next to them it comes into focus and unlocks a piece of the soundscape to you.”

We hope you can join us Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 to hear Regenerate! Orchestra at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse.

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Introducing the 24/25 Season


Watch our 30-second trailer

The Power of Together.

In the world of the performing arts, there are no dividing lines, but the shared rhythms and expressions of the human experience. Welcome to UMS’s 146th season.

Explore All 24/25 Events

View 24/25 Season Ticket Packages

or browse season highlights below

For Our Patrons & Season Ticketholders

24/25 Season Ticket packages are on sale now! Learn more or flip through our interactive season brochure.

Individual event tickets go on sale Tuesday, August 1.

For the Press

View Full Press Release (PDF)

 

Season Highlights:

 

Opening Week: You Decide the Winner

Fight Night by Ontroerend Goed

Fight Night by Ontroerend Goed

The 24/25 season opens with Ontroerend Goed’s Fight Night, a powerful, non-partisan theater work that speaks volumes about our current moment, human nature, and the coming election. Using a boxing ring as a metaphor for a political contest in a fun, yet thought-provoking, experience, Fight Night is part reality show, part arch commentary, and part provocation for all of us as voters and participants in our political process. (Wed-Sun, Sep 25-29, 2024)

 

Piano Phenoms

Isata Kanneh-Mason, Seong-Jin Cho, and Yunchan Lim

Isata Kanneh-Mason, Seong-Jin Cho, and Yunchan Lim

The 24/25 Choral Union Series includes three UMS solo recital debuts by a new generation of dynamic pianists who are taking the musical world by storm:

  • Isata Kanneh-Mason opens the Choral Union series with a wide-ranging and eclectic recital program with works composed over a 168-year period by Austrian, German, Danish, Russian, and Polish composers (Thu, Oct 10, 2024)
  • Seong-Jin Cho celebrates Ravel’s 150th birthday with a concert featuring the composer’s complete solo piano works — a monumental undertaking that will be performed in only a few select cities in 2025 (Fri, Feb 7, 2025)
  • Yunchan Lim, the youngest musician to win the Van Cliburn Competition, closes the Choral Union Series in a program featuring Bach’s Goldberg Variations (Wed, Apr 23, 2025)

 

The Berliner Philharmoniker Returns

Hilary Hahn and Kirill Petrenko

Hilary Hahn and Kirill Petrenko

UMS is thrilled to welcome the Berliner Philharmoniker and chief conductor Kirill Petrenko back to Hill Auditorium in two different programs:

  • In her first Ann Arbor appearance in two decades, violinist Hilary Hahn joins the Berliner Philharmoniker in Korngold’s heart-tugging violin concerto, alongside works by Rachmaninoff and Dvořák (Sat, Nov 23, 2024)
  • Kirill Petrenko leads the Berliner Philharmoniker in his interpretation of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 (Sun, Nov 24, 2024)

 

Plus More Extraordinary Violinists

Anne-Sophie Mutter

Anne-Sophie Mutter

The Choral Union Series showcases three additional outstanding violin soloists in the 24/25 Season:

  • Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja makes her UMS debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and principal conductor Edward Gardner (Fri, Oct 18, 2024)
  • Anne-Sophie Mutter performs her first UMS recital since 2013, featuring her longtime collaborator, pianist Lambert Orkis (Fri, Apr 4, 2025)
  • Théotime Langlois de Swarte joins the early music ensemble Les Arts Florissants to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Wed, Apr 9, 2025)

 

Provocative Theater

Ulysses / Elevator Repair Service

Ulysses by Elevator Repair Service

After our opening week of Fight Night, a robust theater lineup continues across campus for the entire 24/25 Season:

  • Seven performers of Elevator Repair Service present an eclectic sampling from James Joyce’s life-affirming masterpiece Ulysses, chronicling the experiences of three Dubliners on a single ordinary day in June 1904 (Sat-Sun, Oct 19-20, 2024)
  • Natalie Palamides presents Nate — A One Man Show, which won wide acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018 before Amy Poehler produced it as a Netflix special (Wed-Sun, Feb 5-9, 2025)
  • Peeping Tom blurs the lines between theater and dance in TRIPTYCH, a three-part dance-theater work that plunges the audience into a man’s mind within a labyrinth of missing doors, lost rooms, and hidden floors (Fri-Sat, Mar 28-29, 2025)
  • Additional No Safety Net theater programming and contextual events will be announced later this year

 

Groundbreaking Dance

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Our 24/25 Dance and Dance-Theater Combined Series include:

  • Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan returns to Ann Arbor for the first time since 2011 under the artistic direction of Cheng Tsung-lung, whose work 13 Tongues recalls his mother’s stories about a legendary street artist in the 1960s (Sat-Sun, Oct 26-27, 2024)
  • Shamel Pitts and his arts collective TRIBE present BLACK HOLE, in which three Black dancers share the stage in a narrative of unity, vigor, and unrelenting advancement (Fri-Sat, Mar 14-15, 2025)
  • In Peeping Tom’s TRIPTYCH, created with Nederlands Dans Theater, the audience becomes the witness…or perhaps the voyeur…of what usually remains hidden and unsaid, taken into subconscious worlds to discover nightmares, fears, and desires (Fri-Sat, Mar 28-29, 2025)

 

Jazz Greats

Etienne Charles

Etienne Charles

Our Jazz Series is back in full force in the 24/25 Season with a lineup of living legends:

  • Genre-defying composer and drummer Tyshawn Sorey and his trio, including pianist Aaron Diehl and bass player Matt Brewer, perform pieces from his album Mesmerism, which showcases the joy of improvising over songs from the Great American Songbook (Sat, Nov 16, 2024)
  • Musician, composer, and storyteller Etienne Charles presents Earth Tones, a multimedia jazz performance featuring original compositions that draw attention to people and regions affected by climate change (Fri-Sat, Jan 17-18, 2025)
  • Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra return to Hill Auditorium to continue to honor the rich heritage of jazz while presenting a stunning variety of new works from illustrious names (Sat, Feb 1, 2025)
  • Three-time Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis makes his debut with the Branford Marsalis Quartet in the Michigan Theater (Wed, Feb 19, 2025)
  • Kurt Elling brings his contemporary lyricism and vocal ingenuity in celebration of Weather Report, one of jazz’s great supergroups, alongside Weather Report alumnus Peter Erskine (Fri, Apr 11, 2025)

 

Illuminating Perspectives

Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens

  • Silkroad Ensemble’s American Railroad project illuminates the impact of the Transcontinental Railroad and westward expansion on the communities it displaced, featuring new arrangements by Rhiannon Giddens and other Silkroad musicians (Fri, Nov 8, 2024)
  • Third Coast Percussion and Zakir Hussain share the stage for the first time as part of a collaborative concert presentation that blends the timbres of tabla with a classically trained percussion ensemble (Sun, Feb 23, 2025)
  • La Santa Cecilia, fronted by singer La Marisoul, takes the stage in a family-friendly concert featuring opening artist Sonia De Los Santos (Sun, Mar 9, 2025)
  • Legendary composer, singer, and oud master Marcel Khalife returns to Ann Arbor for the first time in 20 years, joined by his son, virtuoso pianist Rami Khalife, and his nephew, cellist Sary Khalife in a concert that celebrates their musical legacy (Sat, Apr 5, 2025)

 

Chamber Arts Debuts

Branford Marsalis, Liz Ames, and Tim McAllister

Branford Marsalis, Liz Ames, and Timothy McAllister

The six-concert Chamber Arts Series features three exciting UMS debuts:

  • The New York-based Escher Quartet performs Mendelssohn’s anguished last major composition and Dvořák’s joyful final string quartet, along with Bartók’s Quartet No. 2, following their full Bartók quartet cycle in New York this spring (Sun, Nov 10, 2024)
  • Saxophonist Branford Marsalis brings his classical chops to Rackham Auditorium in a chamber music evening featuring two members of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance community: saxophone professor Timothy McAllister and collaborative pianist Liz Ames (Fri, Feb 21, 2025)
  • The Rosamunde String Quartet unites esteemed musicians from renowned ensembles such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Philharmonic (Wed, Mar 12, 2025)

 

One-of-a-Kind Collaborations

Joyce DiDonato and Kings Return

Joyce DiDonato and Kings Return

  • The Ariel Quartet and cellist Alisa Weilerstein explore how folk music influences art music, with an uninterrupted suite of traditional folk music from around the world, along with pieces dating back to the origins of Western classical music (Thu, Dec 12, 2024)
  • Charismatic a cappella quartet Kings Return has attracted millions of fans, including mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who invited the group to collaborate for a special holiday program (Sat, Dec 14, 2024)
  • Caroline Shaw and Gabriel Kahane embark on their first large-scale collaboration with a new UMS co-commission that is inspired by the magical realism of Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges’s 1939 short story, “The Library of Babel” (Thu, Jan 23, 2025)
  • UMS presents Sergei Prokofiev’s 1938 Soviet historical drama, Alexander Nevsky, featuring the UMS Choral Union and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra with conductor Scott Hanoian, performing the full score alongside the original film (Sat, Mar 22, 2025)

 

Annual Favorites

Takács Quartet

Takács Quartet

  • Music director Scott Hanoian conducts the UMS Choral Union, four debuting vocal soloists, and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah (Sat-Sun, Dec 7-8, 2024)
  • The Takács Quartet celebrates its 50th anniversary with a program that pairs Haydn and Beethoven, two innovators of the string quartet form, with Benjamin Britten’s rarely-performed String Quartet No. 2 (Thu, Apr 24, 2025)

 

Discover all upcoming events at ums.org/season. Additional 24/25 Season programming — including School Day Performances, UMS Digital Presentations, and our Fall residency at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse — will be announced over the coming months.

Giving Florence Price Her Flowers

Much of the composer’s work was forgotten or lost. Now she’s starting to receive the recognition she deserves.

Born in Arkansas in 1887, Florence Price was the first African-American woman composer to have her work performed by a major orchestra. Her Symphony No. 1 in e minor caught the attention of conductor Frederick Stock after it won first prize in the Rodman Wanamaker Competition. Stock premiered the work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933 as part of the Chicago World’s Fair exhibition. Price’s harmonic writing and arresting orchestration prompted the Chicago Daily News to declare it “a faultless work, a work that speaks its own message with restraint and yet with passion,” and “worthy of a place in the regular symphonic repertory.”

Price composed over 300 works, including four symphonies, four concertos, and chamber, choral, piano, and organ pieces. Her music is often influenced by folk music, church hymns, and spirituals. As music historian A. Kori Hill describes, “Hers was a conscientious practice of close study and subtle innovation in a style that incorporated African American folk idioms in Western classical forms. Price’s aesthetic…made her a central figure in the classical arena of the Black Chicago Renaissance.” She was also well-known for her arrangements of Spirituals. Contralto Marian Anderson concluded her landmark 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial with Price’s arrangement of “My Soul’s Been Anchored in De Lord,” a work she also used to close her UMS recital debut in 1937 and her appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1938.

“I have two handicaps — those of sex and race.”

Price often struggled to get her music performed because of discrimination. In a 1943 letter to Serge Koussevitzky, music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, she famously wrote, “To begin with, I have two handicaps — those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins. I should like to be judged on merit alone.” He declined to program her music. While her work remained celebrated in music programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, it largely disappeared from the classical scene following her death in 1953.

However, a 2009 discovery sparked new interest in the composer. An estimated 200 manuscripts were found in her abandoned Chicago home. These works, previously thought to be lost, included her fourth symphony and two violin concertos. This revelation prompted major cultural institutions to reexamine the composer and her work.

The Philadelphia Orchestra and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin have championed Florence Price in their repertoire, breathing new life into her compositions with a commitment to record her works. Their 2021 album of Price’s first and third symphonies received the Grammy Award for “Best Orchestral Performance.”

In response to the win, Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin declared:

“Though we can’t erase the prejudices of the past, we can work together to build a more equitable future for classical music — one in which all voices are heard, where everyone sees themselves on our stages, and where artists like Florence do not fade into obscurity. It is our hope that Florence Price becomes a staple in the classical music canon and that recordings of her works will be GRAMMY contenders — and winners — for many years to come.”

The Philadelphia Orchestra now brings Price’s majestic Fourth Symphony, which was never performed in her lifetime, to Hill Auditorium on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Tickets start at just $14, and $12-20 student tickets are available.

More Info & Tickets

Preview and stream Florence Price’s majestic Symphony No. 4 in The Philadelphia Orchestra’s latest recording on Apple Music or Spotify.

Meet the Debuting Soloists in Brahms’s German Requiem

UMS’s 23/24 season comes to a triumphant end on April 21 with a performance of Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem). Hill Auditorium will be packed with more than 200 performers on stage, featuring the return of The Philadelphia Orchestra with music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the full might of the UMS Choral Union, and two phenomenal singers making their UMS debuts. Meet soprano Ying Fang and baritone Will Liverman:

 

Ying Fang, sopranoYing Fang, soprano

Soprano Ying Fang has been praised as “indispensable at the Met in Mozart” (The New York Times) and for “a voice that can stop time, pure and rich and open and consummately expressive” (Financial Times).

In the 23/24 season, Ms. Fang returns to Opéra National de Paris as Zerlina in Don Giovanni conducted by Antonello Manacorda, Dutch National Opera as Poppea in Agrippina and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte conducted by Riccardo Minasi, the Metropolitan Opera in her role debut as Euridice in Orfeo ed Eudidice, and Santa Fe Opera in her role debut as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier. On the concert stage, she reunites with conductor Raphaël Pichon in the Mozart Requiem on tour with Ensemble Pygmalion (a project which also features a recording by the Harmonia Mundi label), and joins Maestro Pichon for Mozart’s C Minor Mass in her debut with the Munich Philharmonic. She joins Noord Nederlands Orkest (and the Philadelphia Orchestra at UMS) in Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Mahler’s 4th symphony with Susanna Mälkki, and sings Carmina Burana with the St. Louis Symphony under the baton of Stéphane Denève with the Orchestra of St. Lukes at Carnegie Hall.

A native of Ningbo, China, Ms. Fang is the recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award, the Hildegard Behrens Foundation Award, the Rose Bampton Award of The Sullivan Foundation, The Opera Index Award, and First Prize of the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. In 2009, she became one of the youngest singers to win one of China’s most prestigious awards — the China Golden Bell Award for Music. She has been hailed as “the most gifted Chinese soprano of her generation” by Ningbo Daily.

Ms. Fang holds a Master’s degree and an Artist Diploma in Opera Study from The Juilliard School, and a Bachelor’s degree from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She is a former member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Watch her breathtaking performance of “Aria Deh vieni, non tardar” from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, with the Dutch National Opera:


 

Will Liverman, baritoneWill Liverman, baritone

Called “a voice for this historic moment” (Washington Post), GRAMMY Award-winning baritone Will Liverman is the recipient of the 2022 Beverly Sills Artist Award by The Metropolitan Opera and the co-creator of The Factotum — called “mic-drop fabulous good” (Opera News) — which premiered at the Lyric Opera Chicago in 2023. Described as “nothing short of extraordinary” (Opera News) with a “beaming, high baritone that easily asserts” (LA Times), Liverman has been hailed by critics for his versatility in dramatic and comedic roles, as well as on concert stages in North America and internationally, and his dedication and vision as a composer, artist, and advisor helping to evolve and push the performing arts industry forward.

This season sees Liverman’s return to the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, Anthony Davis’ groundbreaking and influential work, and the third opera by a Black composer in the company’s history, to be conducted by Kazem Abdullah in its newly revised score. Liverman was previously seen on the Met stage opening its 2021-22 season in a widely celebrated, “breakout performance” (New York Times) as Charles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones, which won the 2023 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. He later reprised the role at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in a “rich leading performance” (Chicago Tribune) described as a “beautifully vocalized […] gripping portrayal” (Opera News).

Liverman just released a new album, Show Me the Way, with pianist Jonathan King in March 2024 on International Women’s Day. The album celebrates women’s contributions to music, and includes works by composers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Jasmine Barnes, and Florence Beatrice Price. It also features five world-premiere recordings by living composers such as Jasmine Barnes and Libby Larsen, with appearances by renowned singers J’Nai Bridges and Renée Fleming.

Preview the album below and learn more in this NPR feature.

Will Liverman will also be on the University of Michigan campus in early April for a residency with the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, culminating with a free recital on Sunday, April 7.


Hear Ying Fang and Will Liverman perform Brahms’s German Requiem with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the UMS Choral Union, Sunday, April 21 in Hill Auditorium.

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New Tiny Brochures!

 

Today, on April 1, 2024, UMS is delighted to announce our latest innovation…Tiny Series Brochures, arriving just in time for our new season announcement!

Tiny brochures. BIG season. Stay tuned for the full 24/25 season reveal on Thursday, April 18.

When Genius Collides: Pops Meets Fatha

Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines

Special thanks to The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc. and the Louis Armstrong House Museum for the photo of Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines. Please visit louisarmstrongfoundation.org for more information.

If forced to name one artist as the most consequential musician of the 20th century, we could make an extremely compelling case for Louis Armstrong. His brilliantly shining trumpet sound, breathtaking virtuosity, and effortless swing certainly place him at the forefront of instrumentalists; just as crucially, his flowing singing paired with his ability to perfectly rewrite melodies to fit his voice has inspired every singer since to take similar liberties. Without Louis, we have no Bing Crosby, no Billie Holiday, no Ella Fitzgerald, no Frank Sinatra.

What must that have felt like for a young Louis? When your genius so fully outstrips that of your peers, perhaps it feels lonely. To be sure, we find moments in which Louis pairs with an artist whose musical prowess can match his own — Sidney Bechet and Bessie Smith as examples — but overall, when we hear Louis Armstrong in the early and middle 1920s, we hear him standing apart. 

Enter Earl Hines.

By the mid-1920s, both Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines worked out of Chicago, where inevitably their paths would cross. And cross they did, notably in Carroll Dickerson’s Savoyagers. Their musical chemistry was immediate and electric: in Hines, Armstrong found an artist whose instrumental technique rivaled his own, and together on stage and on record they cajoled each other to even loftier musical heights. Armstrong’s brilliant trumpet lines became even more sparkling; Hines’ dizzying octave runs on the piano became even more death-defying. Chicago’s audiences recognized the magic that was playing out in front of them, and listeners around the US would soon be brought up to speed.

While 1927 marks the beginning of Armstrong and Hines’ recorded output together, it was in the following year that they would reshape Jazz history together. When now-immortal classics like “West End Blues” reached audiences, the sheer power of this collaboration became clear to everyone. As 1928 wore on, Armstrong and Hines recorded scintillating fare like “Beau Koo Jack,” before turning around and delivering a career highlight in the duet “Weather Bird.”

Indeed, with “Weather Bird,” they seemed to be throwing down a gauntlet to one another and to all listeners. In two minutes and 45 seconds, these two artists seemed to dare one another to fall off of a precarious rhythmic tightrope, as each takes incredibly daring risks in their playing. Nearly a century later, hearing this sheer virtuosity can still take one’s breath away.

Like all of the best chamber music in history, the collaboration of Armstrong and Hines feels both exciting and deeply intimate. In their upcoming UMS performance, pianist Sullivan Fortner and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire step into that same space in a deeply personal musical conversation between themselves and with audiences. Drawing on works from the Armstrong–Hines partnership — as well as from other 1920’s masters like “Fats” Waller — Fortner and Akinmusire will invite audiences into their sublime musical world: listen for the intense interplay, the fully exposed risk-taking that this duet setting allows for, and hear how each artist inspires one another to greater heights.