|April 11, 2008||Media contact: Kara Gavin
Free concert May 4 concludes U-M Life Sciences Orchestra’s eighth season
“Listener-friendly” concert of 20th and 21st century music will be farewell performance for music director as he leaves for MinnesotaOpera
The U-M Life Sciences Orchestra on stage at Hill Auditorium.
ANN ARBOR, Mich – When it comes to medicine and science, the modern and the new always take the spotlight. But when it comes to classical music, many people shy away from listening to pieces that were written after World War I — fearing that they’ll be “too modern.”
On Sunday, May 4, the University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra — made up of amateur musicians from the university’s medical and scientific community — will try to dispel that notion. They’ll play a concert of works written in the 20th and 21st centuries that are sure to please classical music fans and novice listeners alike.
The concert is the final performance of the LSO’s eighth season. It will begin at 7 p.m. at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, and is free and open to the public. No tickets are required; donations will be accepted.
The LSO will be led by music director Clinton Smith, who has led the LSO for two years and spent a year as assistant conductor, and by current assistant conductor Diego Piedra. Smith will become assistant conductor in residence at the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis this August. Both are students of the program in orchestral conducting at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
The concert will be introduced by Tony Denton, M.H.A., J.D., chief operating officer and senior associate director of the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers.
The program begins with “Asclepius,” a fanfare for brass and percussion composed by U-M faculty member Michael Daugherty and named for the Greek god of medicine. The fanfare was originally commissioned in 2007 for the opening of the new U-M Cardiovascular Center building. Daugherty drew inspiration from the beat of the human heart, and toured U-M Hospital’s operating rooms and cardiovascular diagnosis areas before writing the piece.
The “Billy the Kid” suite by Aaron Copland, and Samuel Barber's beautiful “Adagio for Strings,” round out the concert's first half. The suite by Copland, adapted from music written for a ballet in the late 1930s, tells the story of the Wild West outlaw through a series of “scenes” brought to life by both rollicking and placid tunes. Barber’s Adagio, also written in the 1930s, is the beautiful and haunting piece that is instantly familiar from its use in the movie “Platoon” and many other performances.
After intermission, the LSO will evoke scenes of Italy, with Ottorino Respighi's “Fountains of Rome” and “Pines of Rome.” The two pieces, written in 1916 and 1924 respectively, describe through music a series of locations around Rome.
The LSO is part of the Gifts of Art program, which brings the world of art and music to the U-M Health System. The orchestra was founded in the spirit of the U-M effort to encourage collaboration, community and creativity beyond the traditional boundaries between academic disciplines in the basic sciences, health sciences, health care, engineering, social science and the humanities.
The orchestra is made up of members of U-M’s medical, health and life science community, including faculty, staff, students, family members and alumni. It gives its members an outlet for their musical talents and a chance to interact with one another across academic disciplines and professions. Founded by students and staff from the U-M Health System, the orchestra made its concert debut in January 2001.
Written by: Kara Gavin