New York Philharmonic performing at Hill Auditorium

World-Class Orchestra in Ann Arbor

Donor-sponsored residencies bring unrivaled musical experiences to campus

New York Philharmonic performing at Hill Auditorium
The New York Philharmonic performs at Hill Auditorium in November 2017. The concert was one of three at Hill Auditorium during the second residency with the New York Philharmonic.

For 140 years, the University Musical Society (UMS) has been one of the most respected presenters of the performing arts in the country, recognized with the National Medal of Arts in 2014. During the Victors for Michigan campaign, gifts by the late Eugene M. Grant (AB ’38) and Emily Grant totaling $2.1 million opened the door for three major orchestral residencies in Ann Arbor, building on UMS’ prodigious history of hosting world-renowned orchestras and major artistic residencies, including three with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Grant passed away last year at the age of 100, but along with being its first million-dollar donor, the vision he cast for UMS has been a significant boon for the society’s development. “I believe the arts are a critical part of a well-rounded education and should be a part of the Michigan experience for all students,” Grant said. “Ticket prices should be affordable, more classes should use the arts for experiential learning, and the best world-class performers should be available on and off the stage for students at Michigan.”

With additional leadership gifts from Regent Mark Bernstein (AB ’93, JD ’96, MBA ’96) and UMS National Council Co-Chair Rachel Bendit (AB ’97), the residencies have more than exceeded Grant’s vision. Their support mobilized local support for a second residency with the New York Philharmonic, which included special guests like actor Jeremy Irons and Jamie Bernstein, daughter of renowned composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. Another major residency featured maestro Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic.

Extended campus stays with both orchestras allowed SMTD students to learn from, practice with, and even join these world-class performing groups on stage. Thanks to discount prices, thousands of students were able to experience these performances. Collectively, the impact of these residencies on the student body and the broader campus community are immeasurable.

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