University Musical Society kicks-off season with virtual and in-person events

Although the Paul Taylor Dance Company performance was canceled, a digital event, "Paul Taylor: Celebrate the Dancemaker," will be shown for free through the UMS website. Photo courtesy of UMS. (Paul Taylor Dance Company)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University Music Society at the University of Michigan has kicked-off its 142nd season with a lineup of digital presentations, a virtual book launch and outdoor movement workshops.

While many live concert events have been postponed or altered into digital performances due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the UMS has continued to provide programming for the community.

Here’s what is happening in September:

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Centenary Concert

Sept. 5 - Sept. 30

Originally scheduled for a live event in October, the City of Birmingham Centenary Concert will be available online. The free online concert features specially-filmed live performances, interviews and music by various composers.

The digital premiere will be at 2 p.m. on Sept. 5 but will be on-demand through the UMS website until Sept. 30.

Paul Taylor: Celebrate the Dancemaker

Sept. 11 - Sept. 21

University of Michigan dance historian and educator Angela Kane and Paul Taylor Dance Company artistic director Michael Novak will take audiences through rarely-seen footage of iconic Paul Taylor works as well as a full viewing of Taylor’s “Promethean Fire” in a free UMS Digital presentation.

The digital premiere will be at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 but will be on-demand through the UMS website until Sept. 21.

A live chat with Kane and Novak will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 21.

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You Can Dance — Outside!

Sept. 12 & Sept. 26

Two outside movement workshops will be offered by the UMS’s popular “You Can Dance” series. The workshops are free but require registration and are intended for those 13-years-old or older.

Capacity is limited for public safety. Register here for modern dance and here for Ballet Folklórico.

The workshops will start at 10:30 a.m. at Wheeler Park. Sign-in begins at 10 a.m.

Behind the Scenes: Virtual Q&A with UMS President Matthew VanBesien

Sept. 16

UMS president Matthew VanBesien will discuss the society’s plans for the fall and how it UMS is adapting. VanBesien will be joined by UMS board member Versell Smith.

Viewers of the chat, happening at 5:30 p.m., will be able to submit questions.

Virtual Book Launch with UMS President Emeritus Ken Fischer

Sept. 22

Hosted by John U. Bacon, the virtual book launch of UMS President Emeritus Ken Fischer’s “Everybody In, Nobody Out” will start at 7 p.m.

Bacon and Fischer will discuss the book and the stories Fischer shares about his involvement in the arts.

“Everybody In, Nobody Out: Inspiring Community at Michigan’s University Musical Society” follows 30 years of Fischer’s work with the UMS to diversify and expand programming as well as impact local communities.

Related: Retired UMS president writes memoir of performing arts impact on Michigan communities

Digital Artist Residency Kickoff Events

Sept. 29 & Sept. 30

During its 142nd season, the UMS will work with six artists through Digital Artist Residencies. Each artist will share a project in development and activities with community members.

The residency cohort will include Wendell Pierce, Joyce DiDonato, Brian Lobel, Parker Robinson, Tunde Olaniran and Tarek Yamani.

The program will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 29-30 through virtual talks with the residency artists. Details about the lineup for each night will be announced on the UMS website.

Due to Michigan public safety guidelines, the UMS has translated its concert with the Takács Quartet into a free digital performance. Ticket holders will be able to exchange their tickets for refunds, donations or as a gift certificate.

Live events scheduled for November have been canceled or postponed, according to UMS. These events include the Berlin Philharmonic, Cloud Gate Dance Theater, Ali Chahrour, and Farida and the Iraqi Maqam Ensemble.

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Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.