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3 May Festival Memories with The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra

UMS is delighted to welcome The Philadelphia Orchestra back to Ann Arbor in the 2021/22 Season with two exciting performances in Hill Auditorium, plus an new creative partnership that extends across the University of Michigan campus, across cities, and into the digital space.

The orchestra’s remarkable 260+ performance history with UMS dates all the way back to 1913, and the “fabulous Philadelphians” were the orchestra-in-residence for Ann Arbor’s beloved May Festival for nearly 50 years from 1936-1984. As May 2021 comes to a close, we would like to celebrate our rich partnership with a look through our archives into three milestone moments in May Festival History:


Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff

May 9, 1942

In pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s final UMS appearance (after seven solo recitals between 1920 and 1939), The Philadelphia Orchestra celebrated some of his most beloved works in a program of his Isle of the Dead, Symphonic Dances, and Piano Concerto No. 2.

This was one of Rachmaninoff’s last performances, as he passed away the following year in 1943.

Leontyne Price’s First Aïda

Leontyne Price's UMS debut, May Festival, 1957

Leontyne Price’s UMS debut, May Festival, 1957

May 3, 1957

Before her 1961 Metropolitan Opera debut, soprano Leontyne Price performed her first public performance of Verdi’s Aïda with The Philadelphia Orchestra in Ann Arbor. This would become one of Price’s signature roles throughout her career.

Price joined The Philadelphia Orchestra in the May Festival four times between 1957 and 1971, and later appeared in four solo recitals with UMS through 1991. View all programs on UMS Rewind.


Glenn Gould’s UMS Debut

Glenn Gould, 1958

Glenn Gould backstage at Hill Auditorium, 1958

May 4, 1958

Legendary pianist Glenn Gould made the first of only two UMS appearances, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.


Want to Dive Deeper?

Explore the U-M Heritage Project: The May Festival Rising

Browse all 260+ programs and appearances by The Philadelphia Orchestra in our UMS Rewind archives!

Become a UMS Season Ticket Holder for early access to both upcoming Philadelphia Orchestra performances on March 11 & 12, 2022.

2021/22 Season Preview: The Philadelphia Orchestra Returns

UMS will present our schedule for 2021/22 in-person performances on May 13! Each week until then, we will offer a special sneak peek…

The Philadelphia Orchestra

UMS is proud to announce a new creative partnership with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2022.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s rich history with UMS dates back more than a century, first performing in Hill Auditorium in 1913 and serving as the orchestra-in-residence for the Ann Arbor May Festival for nearly 50 years from 1936-1984.

We are thrilled to begin a new 21st-century residency in the 2021/22 season, featuring two live concerts in Hill Auditorium, a digital presentation, and a series of master classes and student engagement events with the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Enjoy a preview of what’s to come before our full concert details are announced on May 13:

Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Nathalie Stutzmann

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Principal Guest Conductor Nathalie Stutzmann

Two Exciting Programs in Hill Auditorium

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and newly appointed Principal Guest Conductor Nathalie Stutzmann (in her UMS debut) will each lead a unique program in Hill Auditorium. Soloists include Concertmaster David Kim and Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch (a proud U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance alumna), who premieres a new concerto by Wynton Marsalis.

Carol Jantsch

U-M SMTD alumna Carol Jantsch

While in Ann Arbor, members of the orchestra will participate in a series of master classes and educational opportunities.

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in concert

UMS and The Philadelphia Orchestra are collaborating on a new semi-staged theatrical concert performance of Fiddler on the Roof, featuring the world premiere live performances of John Williams’s Academy Award-winning 1971 adaptation of the beloved musical score by composer Jerry Bock. The production, which will feature both Broadway stars and students from the University of Michigan’s celebrated Department of Musical Theatre, will begin in Ann Arbor in February with the Grand Rapids Symphony and then transfer to The Philadelphia Orchestra’s subscription series at the Kimmel Center.

Free Digital Presentation

Bass-baritone Davóne Tines and The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform a suite of arias by John Adams (“Shake the Heavens” from El Niño) and Anthony Davis (Malcolm’s Aria from X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X), as well as a work that he co-wrote with Igee Dieudonné in memory of Breonna Taylor, in a digital program available to UMS audiences. Watch a preview:


Discover More on UMS Rewind

Browse through more than 250 programs by the Philadelphia Orchestra in our archives!