Are you an orchestral aficionado? Then surely you’ve heard of the New York Philharmonic, the country’s oldest symphony orchestra. Thanks to a groundbreaking partnership with Ann Arbor’s University Musical Society (UMS), the New York Philharmonic is returning to Ann Arbor for the second installment of their five-year residency. It couldn’t be more timely, as the New York Philharmonic’s former president, Matthew VanBesien, just took the reins from Ken Fischer to become UMS’s seventh president. “In its 139-year history, UMS has presented many multi-day residencies with world-renowned orchestras, but we’re particularly excited about this partnership between America’s first orchestra and its first university arts presenter. Our collaboration in 2015 reached thousands of people, and we’re thrilled to join forces with our university partner — the School of Music, Theatre & Dance — and the New York Philharmonic in putting together another great residency,” said VanBesien.
The 2017 residency centers on performances taking place on November 17, 18, and 19. Each performance has something special to offer; the opener on the 17th will be conducted by the New York Philharmonic’s music director designate Jaap van Zweden, while the closer on the 19th will be narrated by British actor Jeremy Irons. All three performances will be at the 3,528-seat Hill Auditorium, an Ann Arbor attraction in and of itself. Known for its perfect acoustics and rich history, the 104-year-old venue has hosted a wide variety of world-famous artists ranging from the Grateful Dead to Yo-Yo Ma.
In addition to the performances, Ann Arbor locals and visitors alike can take advantage of an array of activities and events ranging from free lectures to workshops with New York Philharmonic artists. “As the New York Philharmonic’s president during the last residency, I was completely bowled over by the enthusiasm of local audiences who participated in attending these events and am thrilled by the scope represented in this schedule of activities,” continued VanBesien. This year’s highlights include two free pop-up performances; a conversation on the business of running an orchestra featuring VanBesien and his counterpart at the New York Philharmonic, Deborah Borda; and special activities for kids, including a musician meet-and-greet.
If you’re not an orchestral aficionado, check out UMS 101, which is designed especially for first-time attendees. The program on November 17th pairs a class on the fundamentals of classical music with the ability to experience them firsthand at the New York Philharmonic’s afternoon performance.
All in all, the New York Philharmonic’s residency weekend will be filled with opportunities to immerse yourself in Ann Arbor’s thriving arts scene. When you’re not busy enjoying the various events and performances, be sure to check out Ann Arbor’s vibrant downtown, which is just a 10-minute walk from Hill Auditorium. Grab a pre-show cocktail, appetizers, or a full meal at one of the many cafes, restaurants, and bars in the area. Newcomers to the culinary scene include Chela’s, First Bite, and Nightcap. Need a pick-me-up to keep you going? Stop by Roasting Plant, a brand-new coffee roastery and shop on State Street. For even more recommendations, check out UMS’s list of dining options.
Don’t miss the action — get your tickets today! And if you’re part of a family or a current student, be sure to check out UMS’s discount programs for tickets starting at just $10.