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UMS Artists in “Residence”: Spring 2015 Update!

In fall 2014, UMS launched a new Artist in “Residence” program. Five local artists were chosen to take “residence” at our performances. It’s been a pleasure getting to know this cohort throughout the year and exciting to see how UMS performances have helped inspire new works!

Curious what they’ve been up to? Check out the AiR update below, and come chat with the artists in residence in person at our 2015-2016 Season Launch Party on Friday, April 24, 2015 from 5-7:30 pm in Ann Arbor’s Rackham Graduate Building.

Our Artists in Residence have been busy. Have you heard the news?!

Emilio RodriguezEmilio Rodriguez

Playwright, actor, director, and teaching artist Emilio Rodriguez is co-producing the Metro Detroit Fringe Festival in late June. His play “Swimming While Drowning” will have a reading at the Activate Midwest festival at Western Michigan University in June and also by the Latino/a Theatre Commons in Chicago in July.



Robert James RussellRobert James Russell

Writer Robert James Russell just released his chapbook of short stories Don’t Ask Me to Spell It Out. His next book, a Western called Mesilla —is due out this fall.

Additionally, Russell will be joining the New Harmony Writers Workshop as a Fellow this June at the University of Southern Indiana. He is also honored to be leading two writing workshops in May and June at the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters (GLCL) in Grand Rapids.


Nick GableNicholas Gable

Pianist Nicholas Gable is thrilled to announce a tentative chamber music performance list: (dates TBA)

César Franck’s Violin Sonata in A Major
Sergei Rachmaninoff’s G Minor Trio (Elégiaque)

Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata in G Minor



Carolyn BarrettCarolyn Reed Barritt

Painter, drawer, and sculpturist Carolyn Reed Barritt’s artwork was chosen to be reproduced on vinyl and installed on a traffic box downtown Ann Arbor as part of Ann Arbor’s Power Art! public art exhibition. Additionally, three paintings from her Lost Empire series were purchased by Ruth’s Chris Steak House for display in their new Ann Arbor restaurant. Barritt is currently working on a new series of sculptures which she’s very excited about.



Many thanks to our Artists for a wonderful inaugural AiR program. Catch them at the UMS 2015-2016 Season Launch party on Friday, April 24th!

UMS Artists in “Residence”: Meet Nicholas Gable

UMS launched a new Artists in “Residence” program during the 2014-2015 season. Five residents from across disciplines will take residence at our performances throughout our season. We’ll profile each resident here on UMS Lobby.

UMS: Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the Arts.

Nick GableNicholas Gable: I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, and started taking piano lessons at age 6 from Maria Barna, a local teacher who had studied with Heinrich Neuhaus at the Moscow Conservatory. After Ms. Barna passed away, I began studying with Waleed Howrani, who had studied with Emil Gilels, a student of Neuhaus. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to give several concerts while completing a History and Law degree, including an all-Liszt recital in 2011, and I will be playing Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra on October 26, 2014.

GC: Can you tell us a little about your creative process? Where can we find you working on your art?

NG: Pianists are at the mercy of their instrument, which means that most of my work takes place in one room at home. Of course, studying scores away from the piano can also be useful. When I learn a new piece, I start by (re)reading a biography of the composer, because I think it is important to understand the composer and his time. In approaching the score itself, I think it’s important, as Rachmaninoff put it, “to look behind every corner.” Every detail is important, but the structure of the piece also needs to be considered. For a piece like the Rachmaninoff concerto, I also like to learn the orchestration thoroughly.

GC: What inspires your art? Can you tell us about something you came across lately that we should check out too?

NG: All of the great pianists of the 19th and 20th century recognized the importance of a broad cultural education. It is impossible to create art at the piano without any understanding of literature, poetry, and visual art. The pianist Claudio Arrau, for example, in Conversations with Arrau, discusses the Greek myth of Hero and Leander as the basis for Franz Liszt’s B Minor Ballade, and Goethe’s Faust as the inspiration for Liszt’s great B Minor Sonata. When I was in my last year at the University of Michigan, I taught a class on literary inspiration in Liszt’s music to freshmen enrolled in the Honors Program . Rachmaninoff is another good example. It is difficult to appreciate fully the Isle of the Dead or the B Minor Prelude without looking at the respective paintings by Arnold Bocklin that inspired them.

GC: Are you engaged with the local arts community? Tell us about groups or events that we should know about.

NG: I would love to become more engaged with the local arts community. I follow the events at the Kerrytown Concert House, and have played chamber music with local musicians. In June, I played the Franck Violin Sonata with Priscilla Johnson at Kerrytown in a benefit concert for Tracy Van den Bergh, who is running for Washtenaw County Probate Judge. My goal is to become more involved with local artists in all disciplines.

GC: Which performances are you most excited about this season and why?

NG: This season’s schedule is especially rich. I can’t wait for both San Francisco Symphony concerts. I have heard the Mariinsky Orchestra at Hill Auditorium several times, and I’m looking forward to its two concerts in January. Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto 3, featured in the first concert, is an all-time favorite. Denis Matsuev, who is playing in the second Mariinsky concert, is a wonderful pianist. Finally, I am looking forward to the Rotterdam Philharmonic, who’ll perform with pianist Hélène Grimaud.

GC: Anything else you’d like to say?

NG: Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity!

Interested in more? Watch for more artist profiles on UMS Lobby throughout this week.