UMS Announces 2018-19 Season
The University Musical Society (UMS), under the leadership of President Matthew VanBesien, today announces its 140th season in 2018-19 with an initial slate of 40 performances and events. One of the country's most acclaimed performing arts presenters, UMS honors its past by showcasing respected ensembles and performers with whom it has enjoyed rich relationships, and fully embraces the future as initiator, incubator, and accelerator for innovative new works and projects. This potent combination infuses the anniversary season with dynamic and diverse voices and perspectives featuring artists at the top of their game - celebrating the canon, taking risks, moving genres in new directions, disrupting stereotypes, and surprising audiences.
"At UMS, we always commit to bringing a dazzling array of artists whose work amazes, entertains, comforts, and even provokes. We believe strongly in the importance of nurturing young talent and fostering experimentation, while also collaborating with those cherished artists and ensembles who have been a hallmark of our series.
"We open our 140th season in September with three events that truly embody our strong sense of tradition, innovation, and collaboration: teaming up with the University of Michigan's College of Engineering to present a 50th anniversary live presentation of Stanley Kubrick's audacious 2001: A Space Odyssey to Michigan's campus, with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Musica Sacra chorus providing the live musical soundtrack; the legendary Philadelphia Orchestra, which served as the resident orchestra for Ann Arbor's May Festival for 49 years, returning to Hill Auditorium with new music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin; and actor Alec Baldwin, who comes to Ann Arbor to work with students and faculty in the U-M Department of Theatre & Drama on dramatic readings of Arthur Miller's great work, Death of a Salesman. That's just the first few weeks of our 140th season!" said UMS President Matthew VanBesien. "Our 2018-19 offerings also include an extraordinary world première project and many other moments during which UMS invites artists to use our spaces to freely experiment, develop, and refine new works, and to provide audiences with insights to the creative process and the first look at exciting performances."
Early in the 2018-19 season, treasured American actor Alec Baldwin conducts a three-day residency, visiting UMS for the first time to lead workshops with students in the University of Michigan (U-M) School of Music, Theatre & Dance from September 28-30, 2018. The experience culminates with two readings of Michigan alumnus Arthur Miller's Death of Salesman, with Baldwin playing the role of Willy Loman for the first time.
Superstar pianist Yuja Wang spends a three-day residency with Austrian drummer and bandleader Martin Grubinger and the Percussive Planet Ensemble, putting the final touches on a percussion and solo piano evening that will subsequently tour to Carnegie Hall for its lauded Perspectives series. Leading up to International Contemporary Ensemble's (ICE) In Plain Air performance, musicians will visit UMS four times during the season to collaborate with young composers through the University of Michigan's Student Composers Forum, with the potential for some of these new compositions to be incorporated into ICE's culminating performance in February. Stunning mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonatowill collaborate in recital for the first time with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who serves as music director of both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera, on piano.
Nézet-Séguin also appears in UMS's 2018-19 season with the return of his Philadelphia Orchestra to Ann Arbor for the first time since 1994, in a program featuring violinist Lisa Batiashvili. Esa-Pekka Salonen and London's Philharmonia Orchestra make their UMS debut as part of UMS's five-year commitment to orchestral residencies, which has in previous seasons featured the New York Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic in multi-day performances and master classes with U-M students. Conductor Zubin Mehtabids farewell to his position with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, an institution he has guided for nearly 50 years.
Central to UMS's theater offerings is the world première of American Wedding, which celebrates the viscerally charged work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Co-commissioned by UMS along with a host of international partners, the project embeds audiences squarely in Mapplethorpe's viewfinder for an examination of how humans look, touch, feel, love, and hate. The production, directed by Daniel Fish, features music by Bryce Dessner (The National) and contemporary ensemble Roomful of Teeth with large-scale photographic projections; it is the first live/theatrical performance granted permission to integrate Mapplethorpe's work.
Equally captivating is the U.S. première tour of Greek artist Dimitris Papaioannou's striking and surreal The Great Tamer. Melancholic but at the same time darkly funny, Papaioannou pairs a painterly approach to his craft with stark minimalism to meditate on humanity and the human condition, as bodies are exhumed, celebrated, explored, and destroyed in a sensorial and primitive epic.
While not scheduled on the current season, UMS commissioned and workshopped a new composition by University of Michigan alumna Julia Wolfe in January, in anticipation of its world première by the New York Philharmonic in January 2019.
UMS also presents a production of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, first produced by American Repertory Theatre a decade ago and now remounted by Théâtre National de Bretagne in France, placing the classic in the John F. Kennedy era of the 1960s.
Celebrated multi-media artist Carrie Mae Weems thrusts the season into the present with Past Tense, an outgrowth of her prior work Grace Notes, which was inspired by President Barack Obama singing "Amazing Grace" in the wake of the 2015 mass shooting that killed nine African American congregants at a church in Charleston, SC. Through music, text, projection, and video, Weems explores the salience of tragic Greek figure Antigone to this contemporary moment in history, incorporating video of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner as a contemporary parallel to the story of a sister's struggle to bury her brother honorably. In doing so, Weems helps viewers understand the present by examining their collective past.
UMS will announce the details of No Safety Net 2.0, the second iteration of its contemporary theater festival that launched last year, in the fall.
The central themes explored in Past Tense, and to an extent, American Wedding, are part of a collection of performances in the 2018-19 season that explore and spur dialogue about race in America. With ink, Camille A. Brown & Dancersreclaim African-American narratives that are often appropriated, rewritten, or silenced by celebrating the rituals, gestural vocabulary, and traditions that remain ingrained within the lineage of the African Diaspora.
UMS further incorporates diverse forms of music and artistic expression into its 2018-19 season through its Traditions and Crosscurrents series, spotlighting masters of American Roots and world music. Powerhouse Ranchera singer Aida Cuevas pays tribute to mariachi legend Juan Gabriel. American artists Béla Fleck with Abigail Washburn perform from their album, Echo in the Valley, showcasing the banjo's rich American heritage while elevating the instrument to new and unique realms. Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro performs in a trio format with bass and guitar, while California-based Las Cafeteras remixes perceptions of roots music with a blend of Afro-Mexican beats and a distinctly East L.A. sound.
In addition to working tirelessly to present world-class performance, UMS collaborates with artists to cultivate and educate future generations of artists, arts administrators, and arts patrons.
Perhaps the greatest expression of UMS's commitment to education and equipping students for successful careers in the arts is its highly competitive 21st Century Artist Internship Program. Each year, UMS partners with professional dance and theater companies or music ensembles it will present during the upcoming season to mentor University students during an intensive 5-7 week summer internship experience; they then become campus ambassadors for these artists when they return during the season, developing residency content and working closely with both UMS and the artists. Program participants for the 2018-19 season are: Bruna D'Avila (Theater Performance - Directing '19), who will work with independent arts Production Company The Office in New York; Johanna Kepler (Dance, '20) with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; Allison Taylor (Violin Performance '19) with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London; and Kandis Terry (Dance, '19) with Camille A. Brown & Dancers in New York.
In addition to delivering world class performances to its concert halls, UMS also collaborates with artists to bring high caliber education outreach into classrooms. While refining their own projects at UMS, Yuja Wang and Martin Grubinger of Percussive Planet Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will host open rehearsals and pop-up concerts, and lead multi-day in-depth residencies with U-M students and young composers. The Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead a three-day orchestral residency with master classes and pre-concert events. Similarly, Las Cafeteras will engage in four days of community and school outreach while in Ann Arbor.
Additional residencies are incorporated into all theater and dance productions in the 2018-19 season, providing students with unrivaled access to creative teams for focused instruction, candid conversation and professional guidance, and contextual activities to frame the performances. Additionally, all dance performances include community movement workshops, master classes for dance students, visits to K-12 classrooms, and post-show Q&As.
School visits are a critical and ongoing part of UMS's commitment to enrichment in Southeast Michigan, impacting 4,000-6,000 students each season. Six School Day Performances for K-12 students are scheduled as part of the 2018-19 season and feature abbreviated performances of the mainstage concerts presented by the artists: Las Cafeteras, Jake Shimabukuro, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, and the Martha Graham Dance Company. These performances are enhanced by in-school preparation by local teaching artists.
The full 2018-19 season at UMS includes:
140th ANNUAL CHORAL UNION SERIES
Performances held in the century-old Hill Auditorium.
- The Philadelphia Orchestra, led by music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, makes a welcome return to Ann Arbor for the first time in 24 years, with rising star violinist Lisa Batiashvili as The concert will feature Nico Muhly's Suite from Marnie, Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 7:30 pm.
- Sir John Eliot Gardiner brings his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, the National Youth Choir of Scotland, tenor Michael Spyres, and baritone Ashley Riches for a historically informed all-Berlioz program that features Symphonie fantastique, as well as its rarely-performed companion piece, Lélio, on Friday, October 12, 2018 at 8 pm.
- Superstar pianist Yuja Wang is featured in a three-day residency at UMS with the Percussive Planet Ensemble and Martin Grubinger Jr. The residency will culminate with a performance on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 7:30 pm, after which it will tour to New York's Carnegie Hall as part of Wang's five-concert Perspectives series.
- Semyon Bychkov conducts the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra with soloist Alisa Weilerstein featured in Dvo?ák's Cello Concerto on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 7:30 pm. The program also includes Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings and Francesca da Rimini.
- Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sings in recital with pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the pair's debut recital collaboration on Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 4 pm.
- Music Director Grant Gershon and his Los Angeles Master Chorale bring their production of Orlando di Lasso's Lagrime di San Pietro to UMS on Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 7 pm. Directed by Peter Sellars, the work is written for 21 singers who perform this 75-minute a cappella Renaissance masterpiece from memory with dramatic staging. Set to the poetry of Luigi Tansillo (1510-1568), the work depicts the seven stages of grief that St. Peter experienced after disavowing his knowledge of Jesus prior to his crucifixion.
- Principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen brings the London-based Philharmonia Orchestra to Ann Arbor for a residency that includes two Hill Auditorium concerts on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 and Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 7:30 pm. The first performance will feature cellist Truls Mørk as soloist in Salonen's own Cello Concerto, along with Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra and Sibelius's Oceanides. The second includes Stravinsky's complete Firebird, with additional repertoire to be announced.
- Tenor Lawrence Brownlee and bass-baritone Eric Owens partner with pianist Myra Huang for a duo recital on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 8 pm.
- Harry Bicket, artistic director and conductor of The English Concert, leads a presentation of Handel's Semele, with The Clarion Choir on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 8 pm. The cast includes vocalists Brenda Rae as Semele; Elizabeth DeShong as Juno/Ino; Soloman Howard as Cadmus/Somnus; Benjamin Hulett as Jupiter; Christopher Lowrey as Athamas; and Ailish Tynan as Iris.
- Pianist Murray Perahia returns in recital on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 7:30 pm.
56th ANNUAL CHAMBER ARTS SERIES
Performances held in Rackham Auditorium and Hill Auditorium.
- The Jerusalem Quartet is joined by violinist Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth for a performance of works for chamber sextet by Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, and Tchaikovsky on Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 8 pm.
- The critically acclaimed Danish String Quartet plays music by Haydn, Beethoven, and Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen on Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm.
- The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with violinist Daniel Hope, violist Paul Neubauer, cellist David Finckel, and pianist Wu Han, performs a program of piano quartets from Brahms, Suk, and Dvo?ák on Friday, January 25, 2019 at 8 pm.
- International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) performs In Plain Air, a program co-composed by Phyllis Chen and Nathan Davis on Thursday February 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm. The program consists of several new pieces that chart the introduction of various instruments - organ, harmonium, harpsichord, piano, music boxes, carillons (or percussion simulations), and electronic instruments - into music history. Throughout the season, Chen and Davis will also visit several times to collaborate with young composers through the U-M Student Composers Forum.
- New York Philharmonic principal clarinet Anthony McGill joins the renownedTakács Quartet for an evening that features Brahms's Clarinet Quintet, alongside works by Haydn and Shostakovich, on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 4 pm.
- UMS will present the winner of chamber music's most prestigious prize, the M-Prize, on its 2018-19 series. The artist will be identified at the M-Prize Finals Concert on Sunday, May 6, 2018, and a date for their UMS concert identified shortly thereafter.
Performances held in the Power Center for the Performing Arts.
- On Friday, January 18 and Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 8 pm, UMS presents the U.S. première tour of The Great Tamer, a dance-theater piece for a cast of 11 conceived and directed by Greek visual artist Dimitris Papaioannou. The wordless, abstract work explores themes of legacy and identity, with Johann Strauss's "Blue Danube" Waltz providing a leitmotif throughout.
- Director, writer, and video artist Carrie Mae Weems presents her multi-genre work, Past Tense on Friday, February 15, 2019 and Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 8 pm. This meditative and provocative piece, narrated by Weems, weaves music, text, projection, and video into the enduring significance of the iconic Antigone and her profound relevance to today.
- UMS offers the fully staged world première of American Wedding, exploring the work of controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 8 pm. The project is co-commissioned by UMS and a consortium of other esteemed arts presenters, including the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Toronto's Luminato Festival, the Adelaide Festival (Australia), the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Barbican Centre in London, among others. The piece features a libretto by Robert O'Hara and music by Bryce Dessner of The National, performed by Roomful of Teeth. Directed by Daniel Fish, American Wedding is the first live/theatrical performance granted permission to integrate the work of Robert Mapplethorpe.
- Théâtre National de Bretagne will perform William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, directed by Arthur Nauzyciel, on Friday, April 5, 2019 and Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm. First created by American Repertory Theater, the production has been remounted by the Théâtre National de Bretagne in France, which presents the U.S. tour. Set in the era of JFK and featuring a live jazz ensemble, this modern staging ties Shakespeare's narrative to 1960s America.
- Details regarding No Safety Net 2.0 will be nnounced in the Fall.
28th ANNUAL DANCE SERIES
Performances held in the Power Center for the Performing Arts.
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performs at UMS on Friday, October 19, 2018 and Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 8 pm. Led by artistic director Glenn Edgerton, the dance company will perform two distinct programs - one with contemporary classic work, and one featuring a new full-length work for eight dancers and three percussionists, choreographed by Emma Portner and Lil Buck and featuring Third Coast Percussion and Blood Orange (Devonté Hynes).
- Camille A. Brown Dance performs ink, the final installation of Brown's dance-theatre trilogy about African American identity, on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 8 pm. With the rhythms and sounds of traditional African instruments at its center, the work travels through time with elements of Blues, hip-hop, jazz, and swing, moving seamlessly through its musical landscape to provide its own storytelling. The movement is an amalgamation of African-American social dance, African, tap, jazz, modern, and hip-hop.
- France's Ballet Preljocaj, led by artistic director Angelin Preljocaj, gives two performances of the experimental and contemporary ballet La Fresque (The Painting on the Wall) on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 and Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 7:30 pm.
- The iconic Martha Graham Dance Company, under the direction of artistic director Janet Eilber, continues Graham's legacy with two different programs of mixed repertory on Friday, April 26, 2019 and Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 8 pm. Performances feature favorite Graham works, combined with new commissions for the company.
- Additionally, Dance subscribers will see the Michigan Opera Theatre presentation of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company's production of A Letter to My Nephew on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 7:30 pm. This performance is part of an ongoing collaboration between UMS and Michigan Opera Theatre to bring great dance to Southeast Michigan.
25th ANNUAL JAZZ SERIES
Performances held in Hill Auditorium and the Michigan Theater.
- Pat Metheny opens the season on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 7:30 pm.A 2018 NEA Jazz Master, guitar pioneer, and 20-time Grammy-winner, Metheny is known worldwide for his improvisational technique. His trademark style reinvented the way a new generation of musicians played the guitar, and he continually embraces new technology to evolve his sounds, even helping to develop new kinds of guitars along the way. He performs with Gwilym Simcock, piano; Linda Oh, bass; and Antonio Sánchez, drums.
- On Wednesday, November 28, 2018 7:30 pm, the Jazz at Lincoln CenterOrchestra with Wynton Marsalis perform their Big Band Holidays program with vocalists Veronica Swift and Yuyo Sotashe.
- In a folk, blues, and Americana program, special guest Lucinda Williams joins Charles Lloyd & The Marvels, a group that also includes guitarist Bill Frisell, on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 8 pm.
- The 2018-19 Jazz Series concludes with an all-star performance by CécileMcLorin Salvant, featuring pianist Christian Sands, saxophonist Melissa Aldana, trumpeter Bria Skonberg, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Jamison Ross on Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 4 pm.
UMS TRADITIONS & CROSSCURRENTS
Performances held in Hill Auditorium and the Michigan Theater.
- Celebrated Mexican artist Aida Cuevas brings Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán in a tribute program to the late mariachi legend Juan Gabriel on Friday, November 2, 2018 at 8 pm.
- Hawaiian ukulele artist Jake Shimabukuro continues to expand and showcase the relevance and range of his instrument. He performs with his trio on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm.
- 15-time Grammy-winning artist Béla Fleck teams up with his wife, the stellar Abigail Washburn, to perform their album, Echo in the Valley, on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 7:30 pm.
- The bilingual members of the Chicano band Las Cafeteras remix roots music by fusing spoken word and folk music with traditional Afro-Mexican music and dancing on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 7:30 pm.
- Upon the 50th Anniversary of the epic sci-fi film, UMS presents StanleyKubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, with the full score performed live by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the New York based chorus Musica Sacra to accompany the film. This free event, which launches UMS's 140th season, is presented Friday, September 21, 2018 at sunset.
- Arthur Miller graduated from the University of Michigan in 1938. A decade later his play Death of a Salesman premiered on Broadway, winning both the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. This tragic play about the American Dream and Willy Loman's inability to cope with the gulf between his perception of success and his own life is performed by stage and screen actor Alec Baldwin on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 8 pm and Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 2 pm in his first time in the role. Baldwin will work with student and faculty actors and directors from the U-M Department of Theatre & Drama in preparation for these dramatic readings from the stage.
- In their final performance together in the U.S., conductor Zubin Mehta leads the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 8 pm.
- The UMS Choral Union and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, led by Choral Union music director Scott Hanoian, join forces to present the ultimate holiday season classic, Handel's Messiah, on Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 8 pm and Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 2 pm.
- To honor the centennial of the WWI armistice, the UMS Choral Union and theAnn Arbor Symphony Orchestra, again led by Scott Hanoian, perform Benjamin Britten's War Requiem on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 8 pm.Vocal soloists will be announced at a later date.
Subscription packages go on sale to renewing subscribers on Monday, April 23 and to the general public on Monday, May 1. Current subscribers will receive renewal packets in April. Subscribers may add on additional performances at any point during the subscription period.
UMS also offers Series:You, a "custom-fit" series for patrons with a diverse range of interests looking to attend five or more performances in the 2018-19 season. Series:You offers a 10% discount and access to the best seats in the house, along with all other subscriber benefits.
Tickets to individual events will go on sale to the general public online, in person, and by phone on Monday, August 13; UMS donors of $250+ may purchase beginning Monday, August 6. Groups of 10 or more may reserve tickets beginning Monday, July 9. To be added to the mailing list, please contact the UMS Ticket Office at 734.764.2538 or visit ums.org. UMS also has an e-mail list that provides up-to-date information about all UMS events; sign-up information is available on the website.
A recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts, UMS (also known as the University Musical Society) contributes to a vibrant cultural community by connecting audiences with performing artists from around the world in uncommon and engaging experiences. One of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country, UMS is an independent non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Michigan, presenting over 70 music, theater, and dance performances by professional touring artists each season, along with over 100 free educational activities. UMS is committed to bold artistic leadership, engaged learning through the arts, and access and inclusiveness. Since 1990, the organization has co-commissioned and supported the production of nearly 80 new or reimagined works. Matthew VanBesien became the organization's seventh president in July 2017.