Two World Premières, Artistic Research Residency, and More

Hello Writers and Editors!

UMS is gearing up for another busy month in March that kicks off with one particularly concentrated week showcasing UMS's commitment to unconventional activities:

We'll also continue our HD broadcasts from the National Theatre of London with a screening of Shakespeare's Antony & Cleopatra.

The month concludes with a two-night run of Ballet Preljocaj's evening-length work La Fresque (The Painting on the Wall).

In addition to these performance events, UMS Research Residency Artist Omar Offendum returns for the final phase of his residency, which includes a work in progress showing of his new piece, Little Syria.

Read on for more details about these events. Press images are always available at, or they can be downloaded by clicking the respective "Press Photos" buttons below.

As always, don't hesitate to reach out if I can help enhance your story with interviews, quotes, or additional photos.


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Two Different Programs
Philharmonia Orchestra

Esa-Pekka Salonen, principal conductor
Truis Mørk, cello

Tuesday, March 12 // 7:30 pm
Wednesday, March 13 // 7:30 pm
Hill Auditorium

Esa-Pekka Salonen, recently named the successor to Michael Tilson Thomas as music director of the San Francisco Symphony, spent 17 years as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic before moving to the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. As both a composer and a conductor, he has no limits in iether technique or imagination. He makes his UMS debut leading London's Philharmonia Orchestra in a two-day residency that features two different programs.

The first evening features Salonen’s Cello Concerto, which Yo-Yo Ma premiered in 2016 with the Chicago Symphony, paired with Stravinsky’s epic Firebird. The second concert includes Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Bruckner’s magnificent Symphony No. 7.

Cello Concerto
The Firebird (complete ballet, 1910)
Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4
Symphony No. 7


UMS 101: Classical Music
Tue, Mar 12 // Hill Auditorium Mezzanine Lobby
Class begins at 5:30 pm, performance begins at 8 pm
Registration fee with ticket: $59
Registration fee for workshop only: $15

Explore the connection between composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the music of Stravinsky’s Firebird (the complete ballet score from 1910) with this unforgettable evening with the world-renowned Philharmonia Orchestra. Register at (case sensitive).

Work in Progress Workshop: Dreamers by Jimmy López and Nilo Cruz
Wed, Mar 13 // 4:30 pm
Hill Auditorium
This special preview event will focus on the creative process behind Dreamers a new oratorio written for the Philharmonia Orchestra by composer Jimmy López and librettist Nilo Cruz. The piece focuses on the experience of young undocumented immigrants in the United States. NPR journalist Neda Ulaby will interview López, Salonen, and soprano Ana María Martinez and local immigration experts about the creation of the work and its implications on our current political climate, and the Philharmonia will play excerpts from the work in advance of its world première in California on March 17.

Exclusive Presenting Sponsor of Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen: The Menakka & Essel Bailey Endowment Fund for International Artistic Brilliance
Presenting Sponsors: Peter and Julie Cummings
Supporting Sponsors: Bank of Ann Arbor and Conlin Travel
Funded in part by: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Media Partners: WRCJ 90.9 FM and WGTE 91.3 FM

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World Première & UMS Co-Commission
Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)

Composed by Bryce Dessner
Libretto by Korde Arrington Tuttle
Featuring words by poets Essex Hemphill & Patti Smith
Directed by Kaneza Schaal
Music direction and conducting by Brad Wells
Produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann
in cooperation with The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Friday, March 15 // 8 pm
Saturday, March 16 // 8 pm
Power Center

Thirty years after the death of Robert Mapplethorpe we still cannot turn away from the compelling emotional complexity of his influential body of work. Fueled by a lifelong fascination with the artist’s transgressive, sacred-profane vision, composer Bryce Dessner (The National) invites us to experience these arresting images anew with the world première of this new multimedia work.

A new score by Dessner that features poetry by Korde Arrington Tuttle, Essex Hemphill, and Patti Smith will be performed by the eight-person vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth and a chamber orchestra as enormous projections of Mapplethorpe’s iconic photographs — approved for use in a theatrical setting for the very first time — move across the stage.

This work may contain a frank discussion of sexuality and will include images depicting sexuality and nudity.


Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series
Mapplethorpe in Performance
Thu, Mar 14 // 5:10 pm
Michigan Theater
Composer Bryce Dessner and librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle discuss the range of influences that informed Mapplethorpe's work, and how the production translates the visual medium into an interdisciplinary experience.

Pre-Performance Talk: Richard Meyer on the Legacy of Robert Mapplethorpe
Fri, Mar 15 // 6 pm
U-M Institute for the Humanities
(202 S. Thayer St.)
Noted art historian Richard Meyer, the Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor of Art History at Stanford University, unpacks Mapplethorpe's complicated afterlife in the public imagination.

Post-Performance Artist Q&As
Held in the Power Center after each performance

Patron Sponsor: Level X Talent

Funded in part by: The Wallace Foundation
Media Partners: WEMU 89.1 FM, Between the Lines, and Metro Times

Produced in Residency with and Commissioned by University Musical Society, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
Co-produced by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel Music and Artistic Director. TRIPTYCH was co-commissioned by BAM; Luminato Festival (Toronto); Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (Athens); Cal Performances (UC Berkeley); Cincinnati Opera; Stanford Live (Stanford University); Adelaide Festival (Australia); John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for performance as part of DirectCurrent 2019; ArtsEmerson (Emerson College, Boston); Texas Performing Arts (UT Austin); Holland Festival (Amsterdam); Barbican Centre (London); Wexner Center for the Arts (Ohio State University); the Momentary (Bentonville, AR); Celebrity Series (Boston); and residency development through MassMOCA (North Adams, MA).

Explore the Lineup
Duo Recital
Eric Owens, baritone
Lawrence Brownlee, tenor

Myra Huang, piano

Saturday, March 16 // 8 pm
Hill Auditorium

Named Musical America's 2017 "Vocalist of the Year," bass-baritone Eric Owens has a unique reputation as an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. With a powerful poise, an expansive voice, and instinctive acting faculties, Owens is a celebrated concert singer, who collaborates closely with conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Sir Simon Rattle.

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee was named "Male Singer of the Year" by both the International Opera Awards and Bachtrack in 2017. A Grammy-nominated recording artist and renowned performer on opera stages across the globe, Brownlee also serves as artistic advisor at Opera Philadelphia, helping the company to expand their repertoire, diversity efforts, and community initiatives.

Together, these two artists, friends for over two decades, will perform opera arias of  Donizetti, Verdi, Gounod, and Bizet, as well as traditional spirituals, gospel favorites, and American popular songs. This performance will be livestreamed and recorded for delayed radio broadcast.


Eric Owens Master Class
, Mar 15 // 2:30 pm
Britton Recital Hall (U-M School of Music, 1100 Baits Dr.)
Eric Owens coaches singers from the University of Michigan's Vocal Performance program.

Lawrence Brownlee Master Class
, Mar 15 // 2:30 pm
Detroit School of the Arts (123 Selden St, Detroit)
Eric Owens coaches singers from the University of Michigan's Vocal Performance program.

Post-Performance Artist Q&As
Held in the Power Center after each performance

Presenting Sponsor: The Karl V. Hauser and Ilene H. Forsyth Choral Union Endowment Fund
Patron Sponsor: Gary Boren

Media Partners: WGTE 91.3 FM

Explore the Lineup
National Theatre, London Live in HD
Antony & Cleopatra

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Simon Godwin
Starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo

Sunday, March 24 // 7 pm
Michigan Theater

Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo play Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in this modern production that includes a stunning revolving set and gorgeous costumes.

In the aftermath of Julius Caesar’s assassination, General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. Torn between his duty to Rome and his devotion to Cleopatra, Antony’s actions spark a war that threatens to destroy their love.

Presented in partnership with the Michigan Theater

Explore the Lineup
La Fresque (The Painting on the Wall)
Ballet Preljocaj

Angelin Preljocaj, artistic director

Tuesday, March 26 // 7:30 pm
Wednesday, March 27 // 7:30 pm
Power Center

Ballet Preljocaj makes its Ann Arbor return with La Fresque (The Painting on the Wall). Created in 2016 and based on a traditional and fantastical Chinese tale, La Fresque tells the story of a travelers who is mesmerized by a magnificent fresco and steps through the painting to join the beautiful girl in the scene. The ballet seeks to explore the mysterious relations between representation and reality, fixed image and movement, immediacy and duration, the live and the inert.

Founded by Angelin Preljocaj in 1984, Ballet Preljocaj became the National Choreographic Centre of Champigny-sur-Marne and Val-de-Marne in 1989. In 1996, the company was welcomed at the Cite du livre in Aix-en-Provence and became the National Choreographic Centre of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Region, the Bouches-du-Rhone Department the Pays d'Aix Community, and the Oty of Aix-en-Provence. Since founding his company, now composed of 26 dancers, Angelin Preljocaj has created 47 choreographic works.


Post-Performance Artist Q&A
Held in the Power Center after the Tuesday performance

Supporting Sponsors: David and Phyllis Herzig
Funded in part by: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Endowment Fund

Media Partner: Between the Lines

Explore the Lineup
Omar Offendum Research Residency

Each season, the UMS Education and Community Engagement Research Residency brings to Ann Arbor a young artist whose work fuses artistic excellence and public engagement. During the extended residency, which began last fall, the artist develops a new performance piece while working with our communities in Southeast Michigan.

This year’s resident artist, Omar Offendum, is a Syrian-American rapper/poet living in Los Angeles. Known for his unique blend of hip-hop and Arabic poetry, he’s been featured on prominent world news outlets, lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions, collaborated with major museums and cultural organizations on several high-profile projects, and helped raise millions of dollars for various humanitarian relief groups. A graduate of the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, he has been able to carve a distinct path for himself as a thoughtful entertainer/activist able to speak to a multitude of relevant issues and diverse global audiences over the course of his decade-long career.


Dialogue: Reimagining Historic Artifacts & Archives
Thursday, March 21 // 7 pm
Arab American National Museum (13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn)

Join Omar Offendum for a lively discussion about the fabled Little Syria neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. In the spirit of bustling Arab coffeehouses that once lined Washington Street in Little Syria, this intimate gathering will appeal to historians, artists, poets, and activists, with coffee service provided by Dearborn’s Qahwah House. Free with registration at

Work In Progress Showing: Little Syria
Featuring Ronnie Malley and Thanks Joey
Saturday, March 30 // 8 pm

Neutral Zone (301 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor)
Omar Offendum’s residency culminates with a work-in-progress performance. Set amidst the backdrop of the fabled Little Syria neighborhood in NYC (1880-1940), this unique performance project bridges hip-hop & live Arabic instrumentation with the time-honored "Hakawati" storytelling traditions of the Levant. Offendum (Syria via LA) is joined by oud virtuoso Ronnie Malley (Palestine via Chicago) and DJ/beatmaker Thanks Joey (Syria via Brooklyn), to uncover what life in the heart of Arab-America was like over a century ago, while informing much of what is happening today in terms of immigration, xenophobia, Syria, and the ever-evolving notion of an "American dream." Free with registration at

2014 National Medal of Arts recipient

University Musical Society
Burton Memorial Tower
881 N University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1011
United States