ANN ARBOR, MI (April 11, 2019) – The University Musical Society (UMS) announces its 141st season, which runs from September 2019 through April 2020. One of the most acclaimed and innovative performing art presenters in the nation and a 2014 recipient of the National Medal of Arts, UMS will continue to showcase time-honored ensembles and artists alongside a diverse lineup of young performers who push the boundaries of their art forms in new directions. In addition to presenting world-class performances, UMS is also committed to creating unique and engaging ways for audiences to connect with the artists on stage through a robust offering of education and community engagement activities.
“UMS’s 2019-20 season was conceived with an eye toward both the familiar and the disruptive, the traditional and the uncommon, and the emotional and the provocative — sometimes even within a single work or performance,” says UMS president Matthew VanBesien. “We’re thrilled to present another dynamic lineup of experiences that honors our 141-year history of presenting classic works while also taking risks that surprise audiences in new and innovative ways.”
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma returns to UMS in the 2019-20 season after collaborating with the organization to host a Day of Action in Flint this past February. This time, he comes to Hill Auditorium for a trio performance with pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist Leonidas Kavakos on Tuesday, March 3 at 7:30 pm. The all-star ensemble will perform a program of Beethoven piano trios. This special concert is not included on a UMS subscription series, but is available to 2019-20 subscribers for purchase as an add-on throughout the subscription period. Individual tickets for this performance will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, August 7.
This season will also include the return of No Safety Net, a Renegade theater festival that will offer four provocative theater productions over three weeks in January and February 2020. The four productions included were selected to foster timely conversations around topical social themes. The productions include Javaad Alipoor’s The Believers Are But Brothers (masculinity and internet radicalization); Tania El Khoury’s As Far As My Fingertips Take Me (refugee crisis); Lee Minora’s White Feminist (race, feminism, and privilege); and Half Straddle’s Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription (patriotism, interrogation, whistle-blowing). In addition to the performances, audience members will have an opportunity to engage in open dialogue and conversation with both artists and other audience members during several events presented in conjunction with the performances.
Also returning in 2019-20 is UMS’s Song Remix, a biennial series devoted to the art of the song in all of its forms. Featured performances include Zauberland (Magic Land):An Encounter with Schumann’s Dichterliebe, a new work performed by celebrated soprano Julia Bullock and featuring Schumann’s Dichterliebe interspersed with 16 new songs by Bernard Foccroulle and Martin Crimp; John Cameron Mitchell’s The Origin of Love Tour; Stew & The Negro Problem’s Notes of a Native Song, inspired by the James Baldwin book Notes of a Native Son; What’s in a Song: Hugo Wolf’s Complete Mörike Songs, a two-concert presentation of Hugo Wolf’s song cycle, curated by Martin Katz and featuring four different singers; and a two sets by jazz vocal phenom Cécile McLorin Salvant and pianist Aaron Diehl. Zauberland was co-commissioned by UMS along with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (London); La Monnaie (Brussels); Opera de Lille; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (New York); and Opera de Rouen.
The UMS season kicks off in September with two high-profile events: a season-opening performance by the Brooklyn-based collective Snarky Puppy on Sunday, September 8 at Hill Auditorium and a screening of the popular 1984 film Amadeus with live music by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the UMS Choral Union on Sunday, September 15 at Hill Auditorium.
Led by bassist and composer Michael League, Snarky Puppy grew out of the celebrated jazz program at the University of North Texas and represents the convergence of both black and white American music culture with various accents from around the world.
A winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Amadeuswas adapted from Sir Peter Shaffer’s original stage play, which tells the story of the frustrated Vienna court composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham, who won Best Actor for role) and the envy that consumes him upon discovering that the divine musical gifts he has longed for have been bestowed upon a bawdy, vulgar, and impish composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (played by Plymouth, MI native Tom Hulce). The score contains some of Mozart’s greatest works, including The Magic Flute, his Symphony No. 25, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, and his beloved Requiem.
In 2019-20 and for the next few seasons, UMS is pleased to renew a focus on artists, institutions, and ensembles from the Arab World. Artistic projects in this realm will explore the depth, complexity, and diversity of perspectives among Arab and Arab-American artists and communities. The events will serve as a platform for community building and cultural exchange, building on this past season’s work with UMS Education and Community Engagement Research Residency Artist Omar Offendum. This season’s Arab World focus features Tania El Khoury’s As Far As My Fingertips Take Me and a performance by the Tarek Yamani Trio.
UMS will once again partner with Michigan Opera Theatre to bring American Ballet Theatre’s acclaimed production of Swan Lake to the Detroit Opera House with five performances from Thursday, April 16 through Sunday, April 19.
Use the buttons below to download the full release with a complete listing by series or to view the season lineup in chronological order.