Office of the VP for Communications – Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

We're with the band

Getting in tune

NY Phil's Alan Gilbert

NY Philharmonic Musical Director Alan Gilbert conducts rehearsal in the Big House. (Image: Michigan Photography.)

The partnership between the New York Philharmonic and the University of Michigan’s University Musical Society kicked off with the orchestra’s first rousing residency in October.

In conjunction with the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), the five-year residency partnership will feature the New York Philharmonic in performances and educational opportunities in 2015, 2017, and 2019.

The partnership is the centerpiece of the University Musical Society’s (UMS) residency program, which will bring three different orchestras to Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium over the next five years. Each residency will feature numerous performances, master classes, lectures, and workshops for U-M students, as well as activities for the regional community.

“UMS has a long history of presenting top orchestras in multi-day residencies going back more than 100 years,” says UMS president Ken Fischer. “What is significant about these residencies is the breadth and depth of their education and community engagement activities.”

Behind the scenes: U-M students prepare to play beside New York Philharmonic

Orchestra members and management participated in a wide range of public educational activities in partnership with U-M units and community organizations in early October, including a free chamber concert that featured U-M music students performing alongside New York Philharmonic musicians.

“This is a brilliant example of what is possible when a world-class presenting organization like UMS partners with a top-tier performing arts school,” says Aaron Dworkin, dean of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. “Studying and playing with musicians of the New York Philharmonic’s caliber can be truly life-changing for a student. All of us at SMTD are so grateful for this perfect storm of artistic collaboration, and for the time that the New York Philharmonic members and staff took to share their expertise in such a wide variety of activities.”

New York Philharmonic at the 2015 U-M Homecoming halftime show

Alumni who returned to campus for Homecoming Oct. 10 were able to see music director Alan Gilbert conduct the New York Philharmonic brass section alongside the Michigan Marching Band during halftime — the first time in which members of a major symphony orchestra took the field alongside students and band alumni.

Behind the Scenes: Alan Gilbert rehearses National Anthem at the Big House

The weather at Homecoming was beautiful, the victory over Northwestern was sweet, and the mood in the stadium was electric — even at rehearsal.

New York Philharmonic in Ann Arbor,  2015

The Philharmonic’s first residency featured three October performances at Hill Auditorium. During the first concert music director Alan Gilbert conducted “Vivo” by the New York Philharmonic’s former composer-in-residence Magnus Lindberg; Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 1” with Philharmonic artist-in-association Inon Barnatan as soloist; and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7.”

For the second performance, Gilbert led “LA Variations” by current composer-in-residence Esa-Pekka Salonen and R. Strauss’s “Ein Heldenleben,” featuring concertmaster Frank Huang.

In the third concert, David Newman led Leonard Bernstein’s score to the film On the Waterfront during a free screening of the classic picture.


(Top image: Members of the New York Philharmonic performed with the Michigan Marching Band during Homecoming 2015. Image: Michigan Photography.) 



  1. Patrick Reynolds - BM '81, MM '83

    Bravo! So much fun to see this. Congratulations on a successful and enriching residency.


  2. Howard Iwrey - AB 1983, JD 1986

    Thank UM Marching Band, UMS and NY Phil for in of the best halftime experiences ever. Bravo!


  3. Bruce Galbraith - '62 BMus '63 MAEduc '61 Russian Tour Band

    This was a wonderful Homecoming event. Thanks to all. Proud of My Michigan.


  4. Nancy Berkowitz Bate - 75

    I was an usher in Hill Auditorium during my years at U of M and saw fantastic performances. The May Festival featured the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy. It was 4 or 5 gorgeous performances.


  5. Brian Rozen - 1979

    Congratulations on this exciting collaboration!


  6. Naomi Kauffman - '67 LSA

    The Philadelphia Symphony during May Festival instilled my life long love and appreciation for classical music and great orchestras. Naomi Kauffman


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