Your Cart UMS

Hill Auditorium is turning 100! How should we celebrate?

We want to know what you find interesting and important about Hill Auditorium.

The 12/13 season is Hill Auditorium Centennial Season (the venue opened in May 1913 with a concert by the Chicago Symphony as part of that year’s May Festival), and we’d like to know how you think we should commemorate the occasion.

Is there a particular artist or program you’d like to see? A story of a memorable concert or event at Hill that you’d like to share?

What makes Hill Auditorium HILL AUDITORIUM?

11/12 Choral Union Series

Within the signature Choral Union Series, UMS presents 10 concerts in historic Hill Auditorium:

Subscription packages go on sale to the general public on Monday, May 9, and will be available through Friday, September 17. Current subscribers will receive renewal packets in early May and may renew their series upon receipt of the packet. Tickets to individual events will go on sale to the general public on Monday, August 22 (via and Wednesday, August 24 (in person and by phone). Not sure if you’re on our mailing list? Click here to update your mailing address to be sure you’ll receive a brochure.

John Malkovich in The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer
with The Vienna Academy Orchestra
and sopranos Valerie Vinzant and Louise Fribo
Martin Haselböck, conductor

Saturday, October 1, 8pm

John Malkovich makes his UMS debut as a dead serial killer who returns to the stage to present his autobiography in a public reading. Malkovich appears as part of a theatrical opera of sorts that features a 40-piece chamber orchestra and two sopranos telling the real-life story of Jack Unterweger, a convicted murderer and acclaimed prison poet who had been pardoned by the Austrian president Kurt Waldheim in 1990 at the behest of Viennese literati. This gripping performance uses arias and music by Gluck, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Boccherini, and Haydn as the counterpoint to Malkovich’s emotional monologue, which shifts between reality and delusion.

Yuja Wang, piano
Sunday, October 9, 4pm

Twenty-four-year-old Chinese pianist Yuja Wang is widely recognized for playing that combines the spontaneity and fearless imagination of youth with the discipline and precision of a mature artist. She made her UMS debut in January 2008, just months after graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music, and since then has spent each year criss-crossing the globe with a cavalcade of impressive debuts and awards, including the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, given to select musicians destined for bright solo careers.

Ravel | Miroirs
Copland | Piano Variations
Rachmaninoff | Selected Preludes
Brahms | Sonata No. 1 or No. 3

Apollo’s Fire with Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor
Jeannette Sorrell, music director
Thursday, November 3, 8pm

UMS is delighted to welcome French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky in his UMS debut for this performance with Apollo’s Fire, “one of the nation’s leading baroque orchestras.” (Boston Globe) Named for the classical god of music and the sun, Apollo’s Fire was founded in 1992 by the young harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell, who envisioned an ensemble dedicated to the baroque ideal that music should evoke various passions in its listeners. Together they explore the full dramatic range of Handel and Vivaldi’s arias for the virtuoso castrato singers of the 18th century.

Handel | “Disperato il mar turbato” from Oreste
Handel | “Con l’ali di costanza” from Ariodante
Vivaldi | Concerto for Four Violins in b minor
Vivaldi | “Se in ogni guardo” from Orlando Finto Pazzo
Vivaldi | “Se mai senti spirati sul volto” from Catone in Utica
Vivaldi/Sorrell | La Folia (“Madness”)
Vivaldi | “Vedro con mio diletto” from Giustino
Vivaldi | “Nel profondo” from Orlando Furioso

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Jurowski, conductor
Janine Jansen, violin

Tuesday, December 6, 8pm

The London Philharmonic returns for its first appearance since November 2006, this time under the direction of the exciting young conductor Vladimir Jurowski, who became the orchestra’s principal conductor in 2007, succeeding Kurt Masur. Janine Jansen, a 23-year-old violinist who has been a huge star in her native Holland ever since her Concertgebouw debut at the age of 10, makes her UMS debut as violin soloist.

Pintscher | Towards Osiris (2005)
Mozart | Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219 (1775)
Tchaikovsky | Manfred Symphony, Op. 58 (1885)

From the Canyon to the Stars
Hamburg State Symphony
Jeffrey Tate, conductor
Francesco Tristano, piano
Daniel Landau, filmmaker

Sunday, January 29, 4pm

In 1971, Alice Tully, a New York performer and philanthropist who contributed toward the construction of the chamber music hall in Lincoln Center that bears her name, commissioned the French composer Olivier Messiaen to write a piece commemorating America’s Bicentennial. Messiaen was inspired and fascinated by the natural wonder he found in the landscapes of the American West. Des canyons aux étoiles represents Messiaen’s sonic impressions of America’s last untouched frontier.

Messiaen | Des canyons aux étoiles

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conductor
Pinchas Zukerman, violin

Friday, March 9, 8pm

Riccardo Muti, the Chicago Symphony’s new music director, makes his first UMS appearance in 6 years, conducting an all-Brahms program. Violinist Pinchas Zukerman, recognized as a phenomenon for nearly four decades, returns to UMS for a performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto.

Brahms |  Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Brahms |  Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

Denis Matsuev, piano
Thursday, March 15, 8pm

Anyone who attended last season’s concert by the Mariinsky Orchestra came away talking about one thing: the astonishing piano soloist Denis Matsuev, whose extraordinary performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto had the audience buzzing in the lobby at intermission, immediately after the performance, and for weeks beyond the concert hall.

Tchaikovsky | Seasons, Op. 37a
Rachmaninoff | Prelude in g minor, Op. 23, No. 5
Rachmaninoff | Prelude in g-sharp minor, Op. 32, No. 12
Rachmaninoff | Étude-Tableaux, Op. 39, No. 6
Scriabin | Etude in c-sharp minor, Op. 2, No. 1
Scriabin | Etude in d-sharp minor, Op. 8, No. 12
Tchaikovsky | Dumka (Russian Rustic Scene), Op. 59
Stravinsky | Three Movements from Petrouchka

American Mavericks
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
Featuring: Emanuel Ax, piano
St. Lawrence String Quartet
Jessye Norman, soprano, Meredith Monk, vocals, and Joan La Barbara, vocals
Jeremy Denk, piano
Paul Jacobs, organ

Thursday, March 22 – Saturday, March 24
As part of its centennial season, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony will present its second American Mavericks Festival in March 2012, which will tour to only two venues in the US: Hill Auditorium and Carnegie Hall. The 2012 festival celebrates the creative pioneering spirit and the composers who created a new American musical voice for the 20th century and beyond.  Choral Union Subscribers may choose two of the three concerts on the series.

Program 1 (Thurs 3/22, 7:30p)
Paul Jacobs, organ
Jeremy Denk, piano

Aaron Copland | Orchestral Variations (1930, orchestrated in 1957)
Henry Cowell | Piano Concerto (1928)
Mason Bates | Mass Transmission (2010)
Lou Harrison | Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra

Program 2 (Fri 3/23, 8pm)
Jessye Norman, soprano
Meredith Monk, vocalist
Joan La Barbara, vocalist
St. Lawrence String Quartet

Henry Cowell | Synchrony
John Adams | Absolute Jest (2011)
John Cage | John Cage Songbooks (1970)
Edgard Varese | Amériques

Program 3 (Sat 3/24, 8pm)
Emanuel Ax, piano

Carl Ruggles | Sun-Treader
Morton Feldman | Piano and Orchestra (1975)
Ives | A Concord Symphony

Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Joshua Bell, director and violinist

Sunday, April 22, 4pm

Formed from a group of leading London musicians and working without a conductor, the Academy gave its first performance in its namesake church in November 1959. For their first UMS appearance in 11 years, the Academy brings their highly lauded sound to an exquisite all-Beethoven program. Superstar violinist Joshua Bell attacks the stunning Beethoven Concerto with his breathtaking virtuosity and sumptuous tone and leads the rest of the program from the concertmaster’s chair.

Beethoven | Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
Beethoven | Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op. 62
Beethoven | Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

Return to the complete chronological list.

UMS’s Arts Roundup: October 8

Many members of the UMS staff keep a watchful eye on local and national media for news about artists on our season, pressing arts issues, and more. Each week, we pull together a list of interesting stories  and share them with you.  Welcome to UMS’s Arts Round-up, a weekly collection of arts news, including national issues, artist updates, local shout-outs, and a link or two just for fun. If you come across something interesting in your own reading, please feel free to share!

Arts Issues

  • The DSO isn’t the only performing arts organization in financial trouble. The Dutch government has proposed closing the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Center, dismantling the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, Metrople Orchestra, and the Netherlands Radio Choir.

Artist Updates

  • Time has run out at 3711 Woodward Ave, and the musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are on strike.
  • The Metropolitan Opera opens fifth season of live high-def broadcasts this weekend with Wagner’s Das Rheingold.
  • Riccardo Muti cancels his fall Chicago Symphony appearances due to illness, but violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter was up to the task, directing the season-opening Symphony Ball.

UMS News

  • Barbara Hoover of The Detroit News and Susan Nisbett of Ann offer a glimpse at this weekend’s Paul Taylor performances
  • And the review of Thursday night’s opening performance appeared this morning.
  • Valergy Gergiev and the orchestra formerly known as the Kirov (now the Mariinsky) visit Ann Arbor on Sunday with a program of Rachmaninoff and Mahler.
  • Japanese butoh troupe Sankai Juku, appearing as part of the UMS dance season in late October, opened their residency at New York City’s Joyce Theater this week.
  • Murray Perahia cancels fall tour (including Nov 10 UMS concert) due to hand problems; Vladimir Feltsman takes his place with program of Mozart, Schubert and Chopin
  • Takacs Quartet Schubert Concert: preview, Kahane out, Feltsman in (again!) for Schubert’s last piano sonata.

Local Shout-Outs

  • This is the last weekend to head west to see Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize finalists. The winner of the $250,000 top prize was announced yesterday!

Just For Fun

  • Think dance is just for the world’s clubs and stages? Check out this choreographed in-flight safety demonstration by Cebu Pacific. Look out Southwest, somebody’s trying to up the fun quotient!

UMS’s Arts Roundup: September 17

Many members of the UMS staff keep a watchful eye on local and national media for news about artists on our season, pressing arts issues, and more. Each week, we pull together a list of interesting stories  and share them with you.  Welcome to UMS’s Arts Round-up, a weekly collection of arts news, including national issues, artist updates, local shout-outs, and a link or two just for fun. If you come across something interesting in your own reading, please feel free to share!

Arts Issues

Artist Updates

  • Pianist Glenn Gould:  Nut or Genius? A fresh look through a new documentary.
  • NPR talks with Patti LuPone about life on Broadway and her new memoir
  • A reflective Riccardo Muti starts his tenure with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

UMS News

  • Don Calamia reviews opening theater production, Susurrus, for Encore Michigan

Local Shout-Outs

Just For Fun

  • Guess there can be only one Graceland:  the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas is closing

Chicago Symphony Orchestra & UMS: The Ultimate Long-Term Relationship

Editor’s note: Chicago Symphony Orchestra returns to Ann Arbor on October 29, 2015.

Pierre Boulez conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Todd Rosenberg)

Pierre Boulez conducting the CSO (photo: Todd Rosenberg)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s January 27, 2010 appearance in Hill Auditorium is the 202nd in a series of performances under UMS auspices that began over a century ago, on November 21, 1892.  The orchestra, then known as the “Chicago Orchestra” was conducted by Theodore Thomas in typically eclectic (for its time) program of Weber (Overture to “Freyschuetz”), Beethoven (Allegretto from the Seventh Symphony), Tchaikovsky (Suite from Ballet, Casse Noisette – billed as a “new” work, as indeed it was for its time), and Wagner (Vorspiel from Meistersinger).

The CSO’s complete UMS performances are too numerous to mention even in the scantiest detail, but there are several concerts which caught my eye as I was browsing UMS’ archives.

In UMS’ May Festival of 1931, the CSO was the resident orchestra in several concerts.  One of those concerts featured an oratorio by French composer Gabriel Pierné on the life of St. Francis of Assisi – with such vocal roles as “The Leper” and “The Voice of Christ” (both sung by the same person), “The Lady Poverty”, and “Birds” (sung by a children’s chorus).  Another concert featured legendary Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski, performing his own piano concerto and solo piano works by Chopin.

Arthur Grumiaux

There is an interesting anachronism in the program for the CSO’s March 1952 performance with the great violinist Arthur Grumiaux. Grumiaux is listed as playing Bartók’s “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra,” as though he had only written one violin concerto.  Bartók in fact wrote two violin concerti, but the first, although written in 1907-08 (for a woman he was in love with, but who rejected him), was not published until 1958, after Bartók’s death (and after this performance of the second concerto with Grumiaux and the CSO).

The CSO has a long history with the works of Richard Strauss, having given the U.S. premieres of most of the great tone poems, including Till Eulenspiegel and Ein Heldenleben. Strauss was also the CSO’s first guest conductor, in 1904; after the first rehearsal with the CSO, he said to the orchestra, “I am delighted to know you as an orchestra of artists in whom beauty of tone, technical perfection, and discipline are found in the highest degree.”  The CSO brought that tradition to Ann Arbor in March 1992 with a performance of Strauss’s Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegel, and Ein Heldenleben, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

The CSO’s most recent UMS performance was in December 2005 with guest conductor Robert Spano and the Marcus Roberts Trio, performing Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Symphony #2, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra: A Personal Reflection by Sara Billmann, UMS Director of Marketing

Dale Clevenger

Growing up as an active musician in a small town in Wisconsin, the names of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra section leaders were practically as well known to us as the neighbors down the street — Ray Still, Adolph Herseth, Arnold Jacobs.  Cost and distance prevented us from ever making a trip to hear the CSO in Chicago, but we revered their sound from recordings.

When I was a freshman in high school, I played oboe and my sister played french horn together in the Sheboygan Symphony.  We were thrilled when the conductor hired Dale Clevenger, the CSO’s principal horn, to perform Haydn’s second horn concerto for one of our concerts — and stunned when he decided to join the horn section for Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony on the second half of the program.

Seven Doors of UMS and the Chicago Symphony

On Wednesday, January 27, Pierre Boulez will conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle.  The one-act opera tells the story of the lovely Judith, who has just eloped with her new husband, Bluebeard.  They arrive at his castle, and Bluebeard tells Judith that the seven locked doors in his castle are private places not to be explored.  Judith eventually convinces him to reconsider, and the seven doors are opened, revealing something horrible and terrifying behind each.

We thought we’d have some fun with the “seven doors,” so we’ve found seven doors in Ann Arbor that relate in some way to UMS or Chicago.  We won’t insist that terror lurks behind these doors…in fact, if you can identify all seven, you’ll be entered to win a terrific package that includes swag from both UMS and the Chicago Symphony.

Contest ends on Monday, January 25 at 6 pm.  To enter, identify each door and send your name and address to or fax to 734-998-7526.  One entry per person, please.  Winner(s) will be selected and notified on Tuesday, January 26 via email.