Your Cart UMS

Behind the Scenes: University of Michigan Students Perform with New York Philharmonic

As part of the UMS residency with New York Philharmonic, Jamie and Jessica, students from the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, performed on stage with the orchestra at Hill Auditorium.

Go behind-the-scenes from audition to performance in this video.

Learn more about the 2017-18 season concerts and residency experience.

Go Blue: National Medal of Arts

Go Blue moment: UMS President Ken Fischer & U-M president Mark Schlissel with UMS National Medal of Arts. Ken traveled to the White House to receive the medal on behalf of UMS on September 10, 2015.

Stuart Frankel, Dawn of Midi concert sponsor, with U-M SMTD students post show in Detroit

Stuart Frankel and SMTD Students at Dawn of Midii

Members of Dawn of Midi hold court into the late-night hours with concert sponsor Stuart Frankel; John Lewis, U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) jazz studies student and co-director of Arts Enterprise; and members of the U-M student organization at Trinosophes in Detroit.

Check out our next show in the Renegade Series– Compagnie Non Nova: Afternoon of a Foehn.

Photo by Mark Jacobson, UMS 

Introducing New University Arts Integration Programs

Photo: From flyer for our new “Engaging Performance” course.

UMS has long been an active partner in supporting academic excellence and innovation at the University of Michigan: we provide master classes with world-class artists for pre-professional students in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance; we’ve partnered with the Medical School to animate the Medical Arts, an innovative program to improve medical students’ bedside manner and empathic responses through exposure to the arts; and we’ve worked with dozens of individual faculty members and units on campus to link specific UMS performances to courses across the curriculum. This year, we’re building on that history of excellence to expand and strengthen the role that UMS plays in the academic life of the University of Michigan.

In 2013, UMS joined a select group of university-based arts presenters—Cal Performances at University of California at Berkeley; the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Carolina Performing Arts at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—in receiving multi-year grant support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to further integrate of our artistic programming into the academic enterprise at our home universities.

UMS’s Education & Community Engagement department has partnered with University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Sciences & the Arts to launch a series of initiatives that will encourage the inclusion of UMS performances, and arts-based learning strategies more broadly, into the undergraduate curriculum across all disciplines. We have created a Faculty Insight Group to advise us on the latest academic trends and needs on campus; we are piloting a Faculty Institute on Arts-Academic Integration to support faculty as they create or revise courses to include the arts; and we have started a new publication for faculty, Arts in Context: UMS in the Classroom, which provides them with suggested curricular ties and informational resources for each of our performances.

The final program we’re rolling out this semester is a new course focused on the UMS season called “Engaging Performance.” Team taught by Yopie Prins from the English department in the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts (LSA) and Matthew Thompson from Vocal Performance in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD), this course introduces students from all class years and academic disciplines to the wide range of performance styles and traditions that comprise our season each year. They’ll be attending seven of our performances this semester: Kronos Quartet, One Night in Bamako; Compagnie Käfig; Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord’s The SuitAlfredo Rodríguez Trio and The Pedrito Martinez Group; Asif Ali Khan Qawwali Music of Pakistan, and Brahms’ German Requiem. Inside the classroom, they’ll be meeting with UMS staff members to learn what happens behind-the-scenes at a major arts organization; experiment with some of the art forms they see on stage in hands-on workshops with local teaching artists; and discuss the performances with many of the visiting artists involved on and backstage. Throughout the semester, they’ll be reflecting on their experiences and growth as audience members through a series of written assignments.

“Engaging Performance” students will also be interacting with you, the UMS community, here on UMS Lobby throughout the semester. They’ll be participating in the “People are Talking” discussions for the performances they attend, and we look forward to having them present with us online and in the concert hall!

What was your student experience with the performing arts? Ask questions about this program or share your experiences below.

From Dance Major to Fulbright Scholar

We love Amber’s story about her experience in a UMS master class with Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan. Amber will dance with Cloud Gate as part of her Fulbright scholarship. Learn more about UMS student programs.

VIDEO: Joanne Shenandoah Interview

Editor’s Note: Following Joanne Shenandoah’s January 23rd concert at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater (her UMS debut), members of the audience were treated to an interview with the Iroquois singer and a short performance by a local native women’s musical ensemble.  Meg Noori, Director of the Comprehensive Studies Program (CSP) at the University of Michigan, and a Lecturer in the Native American Studies Program in the Department of American Culture where she teaches Ojibwe and Native Literature, introduces each video below.  To learn more about the Ojibwe language, please visit

Interview with Joanne Shenandoah

Joanna Shenandoah, known in Oneida as Takalihwakwha, explains that her name means “one who sings, one who lifts her voice”.  She talks here about her music and language with U-M Anishinaabe Language teacher, Howard Kimewon. “N’gii psikaagwan / I was moved by it,” says Howard as he explains in Anishinaabemowin how her music affected him.

Miskwaasining Nagamojig / Swamp Singers

“Together we are strong. We must all speak our language. We are living well.” That is the message within this American Indian Movement anthem (The AIM Song) that the Ann Arbor-based Swamp Singers shared with the audience. Originally composed in the 1970s the song remains a symbol of survival for American Indians. Anishinaabe words were added by the Ann Arbor language table in 2005 so that young native people could carry on the message of this song in their language.

Half-Price Student Ticket Sale

The Half-Price Student Ticket Sale is back Sunday, January 9th at 8 pm through Tuesday, January 11th at noon!

Students, take note: this is your chance to secure tickets for any remaining performance in the 10-11 season at 50% off the published ticket prices. A limited number of tickets are available for each performance in select seating areas, so you’ll need to act quickly — each year, some performances sell out of the half-price tickets.

You may purchase up to two tickets per event, for as many events as you desire. If you’d like to attend a performance with a group of friends (up to 8 students total; 4 student ticket-buyers with access to 2 tickets each), our friendly Box Office associates need you to fill out one order form for the entire group to ensure that your seating request is accommodated.

How to order:

University of Michigan Students must order online at

Students from all other universities must order in person at the League Ticket Office (located in the Michigan League, 911 N. University Ave.) during normal ticket hours through January 11 at noon.

Happy shopping!

UMS Announces Additions, Changes to 10/11 Season

The 10/11 UMS season opens one month from today with the site-specific theater work Susurrus at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

During our summer performance hiatus, we’ve been quite busy at UMS, closing out the 09/10 season and preparing for the 10/11 events.  We’ve also been working to add some exciting events to the 10/11 lineup that came together too late for the initial announcement in April:

ASSI EL HELANI, Saturday, November 6 at 8 pm, Hill Auditorium.  This Lebanese pop singer has been a major figure in the music scene of the Middle East since the 1990s, participating in numerous important musical events throughout Europe, the Arab World, and America.  Also involved in humanitarian concerns, he is one of the true superstars to emerge from Lebanon.  Tickets range from $10-$60 with a limited number of $150 VIP seats available.

Complicite's A Disappearing Number

Complicite's A Disappearing Number

NATIONAL THEATER LIVE, co-presentation of high-definition broadcasts with the Michigan Theater.  Last season, UMS and the Michigan Theater joined forces to present high-definition broadcasts of three plays from the National Theater in London.  The series was a big hit with audiences, and we’re delighted to announce an incredible line-up of six productions for the 10/11 season, which includes Complicite’s A Disappearing Number, which UMS brought to Ann Arbor two seasons ago.  The titles include:

A Disappearing Number, directed by Simon McBurney in association with Complicite.  Sunday, October 31, 2 pm.

Hamlet, directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner with Rory Kinnear in the title role.  Sunday, January 2, 2 pm.

FELA! Directed by Bill T. Jones, direct from Broadway. The Tony Award-winning musical about the extravagant, decadent, and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti explores his controversial life as an artist, political activist and revolutionary musician.  Sunday, January 30, 2 pm.

King Lear, directed by Michael Grandage with Derek Jacobi in the title role, in association with the Donmar Warehouse and featuring the creative team behind the company’s recent Broadway hit about Mark Rothko, Red.  Sunday, February 20, 7 pm.

Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting).  Wednesday, April 6, 7 pm.

The Cherry Orchard, directed by Howard Davies and starring Zoë Wanamaker as Madame Ranevskaya.  Sunday, July 17, 7 pm.


Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán Date Change.  To accommodate the addition of Assi El Helani, as well as youth performances for schoolchildren, the date of the public concert for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán has been changed to Friday, November 5 at 8 pm – one day earlier than previously announced.

Kodo Date Change — FAMILY PERFORMANCE ONLY. The FAMILY PERFORMANCE of Kodo will take place on Thursday, February 24 at 11 am, not Wednesday, February 23 as published in the series brochure.  The public performance of Kodo will still take place on Wednesday evening as previously announced.

Single ticket brochures will be mailed in about a week (don’t forget – the internet on-sale date is Monday, August 23, with phone and walk-up orders on Wednesday, August 25.  Donors of $250+ may purchase beginning Wednesday, August 18!).

31 days to the start of the season…let the countdown begin!

The Hill Auditorium Organ

Michigan Today has a great feature on the pipe organ in Hill Auditorium (shown at left in its original Ann Arbor home in University Hall, courtesy of the Bentley Library).

Did you know that the organ was manufactured by a Detroit company for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893)? Or that it contained 3,901 pipe ranging in size from a drinking straw to a tree trunk when it was first built?

Henry Simmons Frieze, the founder of UMS, a professor of Latin, a three-time president of the University of Michigan, and an amateur organist, was the biggest advocate for the acquisition of a world-class organ.  He died before his dream was realized, but Albert Stanley and Francis Kelsey launched a public fundraising campaign that brought the organ to Ann Arbor, where it was named in honor of Henry Simmons Frieze.

Read more about the fascinating history of this beloved instrument.  And tell us about your experiences with and memories of the Hill Auditorium organ in the comments area below.