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Our interview with members of Brooklyn Rider

Brooklyn Rider’s Johnny Gandelsman, Nicholas Chords, Colin Jacobsen, and Eric Jacobsen talk visiting Ann Arbor and explain why they’re excited about working with banjo star Béla Fleck.

They perform at Rackham Auditorium on November 24, 2013.

UMS Playlist: Bluegrass by UMS Associate Programming Manager Liz Stover

This post is a part of a series of playlists curated by UMS staff, artists, and community. Check out more music here.

Photo: Brooklyn Rider (performing in Ann Arbor on November 24, 2013). Photo by Sarah Small.

Having grown up in a household where jam bands were in frequent rotation on our stereo, and having developed a musical background in violin, that I eventually loved bluegrass music is no big surprise. Bluegrass is a genre of frequent collaboration — many of the artists in this playlist play in bands together or work on projects with each other while also maintaining their own solo projects or groups.

I fell in love with the music of Punch Brothers when UMS presented them in October 2009 at the Power Center, and have since followed their musical endeavors and discovered other exciting artists along the way. Here in Ann Arbor, we’re also lucky to have the Ark, a stellar local institution that is a national leader in the presentation of folk and bluegrass music.

This season, I can’t wait to welcome back Chris Thile (the mandolin player of the Punch Brothers) in October for a solo performance to follow his forthcoming record release of Bach sonatas and partitas. I am also really excited that we’re bringing banjo player Béla Fleck back with the exciting young string quartet Brooklyn Rider (who are also members of the Silk Road Ensemble) in November, mixing two of my favorite genres, bluegrass and chamber music! If this playlist and those two shows leave you wanting more, check out vocalist Sarah Jarosz or An Evening with Noam Pikelny (banjo), Bryan Sutton (guitar), Jesse Cobb (mandolin), Barry Bales (bass), and Luke Bulla (fiddle), both at the Ark in October.

What did you think about this playlist? Share your thoughts or song suggestions in the comments below.

Launching the UMS Lobby with Bela Fleck!

bright orange tablecloths + neon green t-shirts + fortune cookies + flip cams + an amazing concert with Bela Fleck = THE LAUNCH of the UMS LOBBY.

It was amazing to see many of you at the first Live Lobby Meet-Up after the Bela Fleck/Africa Project Concert on Feb. 17 in Hill Auditorium!  Many UMS volunteers, staff, and student interns were on hand to talk about our new online community at  Bela Fleck signed CDs after the show.  And we hope you snagged a fortune cookie with a special message inside!

Audience members had some great things to say after the concert, and we tried to catch some of them on flip cam (see the video above — starring YOU!).

You can also see photos from the event here (if you had your pic taken with Bela Fleck, this is where you’ll find it):

Have more to say about the event?  Join the conversation…

Links: UMS in the News

Since the beginning of January, we’ve had a busy and exciting 8 weeks of 12 performances in all the big genres: dance, jazz, world music, classical music, and theater.   It’s definitely a whirlwind experience for all of us on staff to see and talk about so many events – and there’s definitely been plenty to talk about!  In case you missed it, here’s a roundup of UMS in the news:

  • Chris Azzopardi of Between the Lines interviewed Bill T. Jones about his motivations for creating Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray and what’s next for his company.

Bill T. Jones on the stage of the Michigan Theater

  • Two of UMS’s very own staff members boldly journeyed into the blogosphere as guest bloggers.  UMS Director of Programming Michael Kondziolka blogged at on how artistic programs are chosen and what makes an artist special.  UMS Director of Marketing and Communications Sara Billmann blogged for the American Orchestras Summit on the future of orchestral music.
  • Susan Nisbett of reviewed Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray which created some conversation in the comments section.
  • Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press interviewed legendary conductor Pierre Boulez on the occasion of his 85th birthday, and in conjunction with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Ann Arbor performance.

Conductor Pierre Boulez

  • Have you heard of Concentrate?  Managing Editor Jeff Myers has been writing fun, quirky, and media-rich profiles of UMS events for a while — and they’re really fantastic.  If you’re having a hard time convincing your friend to go to a performance with you, Concentrate is just what the doctor ordered.  Check out past profiles on Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The Bad Plus, and the Luciana Souza Trio.

When the Bela Fleck performance ends, we hope you’ll stick around…

Join us in the Hill Auditorium lobby after the Bela Fleck concert this coming Wednesday, Feb 17th, for our first live UMS LOBBY event!

The UMS LOBBY is all about having great conversations with other people who enjoy the performing arts.  So while you wait to have your CD signed by Bela, check out the new site by using the laptop stations we’ll have setup in the main lobby at Hill Auditorium.

Share your views with fellow concert-goers both online and in-person, chat with UMS staff and volunteers, and checkout our special giveaways. is a new place to gather for conversation about arts and culture. Help us spread the word!

What are UMS LOBBY events?

The UMS LOBBY is all about having great conversations with other people who enjoy the performing arts.  As we get to know each other through comments and conversation on, we’ll also have the chance to meet face-to-face in a series of meet-ups over the remainder of the 09/10 season.  The meet-ups are designed to complete the circle between the virtual world and the real world, providing opportunities for us to get to know each other a little better, interact with artists and experts, and dig a little deeper into what we love (and sometimes what we hate!) about live performance.

Mark your calendars: the first live UMS LOBBY event is planned for February 17 in the lobby of Hill Auditorium in conjunction with Béla Fleck’s Africa Project concert.

Let’s all go to the lobby!

UMS and the Grammys

Artists presented by UMS had a great showing at the Grammy Awards last night, with the following winners from the 09/10 and 08/09 seasons:

Béla Fleck / Thrown Down Your Heart (Concert on Wednesday, February 17)
Best Pop Instrumental Performance
Best Contemporary World Music Album

Thrown Down Your Heart

San Francisco Symphony / Mahler Symphony No. 8 (Concerts on Friday-Saturday, March 19-20)
Best Classical Album
Best Choral Performance
Best Engineered Album, Classical

Kurt Elling / Dedicated to You (Performance in April 2009)
Best Jazz Vocal Album

Kurt Elling / Dedicated to You on YouTube

Chick Corea & John McLaughlin / Five Peace Band (Performance in April 2009)
Best Jazz Instrumental Album

Chick Corea and John McLaughlin: Five Peace Band on YouTube

Emerson String Quartet / Intimate Letters (Performance in September 2008)
Best Chamber Music Album