ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The crisp early-winter air. The streets bustling with students and pre-holiday shoppers. The sounds of Strauss in a renowned concert hall.
Ann Arbor will feel a little like Vienna on Saturday, December 8 as the University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra takes the stage of U-M’s Hill Auditorium for a free concert of works written and arranged by Vienna-based composers.
Beginning at 8 p.m., the LSO and music director Chelsea Gallo, will transport their audience to the Austrian capital through works by both Richard and Johann Strauss, and a piece by Johannes Brahms arranged by Arnold Schoenberg. The LSO brings together medical, health and science faculty, staff, students and alumni from across the university.
The concert is free and open to the public, as is a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m. by Gallo in the lower level of the building.
No tickets are required, though the LSO accepts donations to support its concerts. A new easy way to show support for the LSO is by texting the word ARTS to the number 50555, which will trigger a process to give $10 to the orchestra.
The concert will begin with “Macbeth,” one of the first tone poems written by Richard Strauss. As it evokes the dramatic tale of the Scottish king and other famous figures in Shakespeare’s play, the piece changes character multiple times — highlighting the talents of the LSO’s musicians.
Johann Strauss, Jr. – a fellow Viennese but not related to Richard – will be represented on the program with his Kaiser-Walzer, much better known in English as the Emperor Waltzes. LSO assistant conductor Régulo Stabilito will conduct.
The concert’s second half features a unique work: Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25, but not the original written in 1861 for violin, viola, cello and piano. Rather, the LSO will play the 1937 arrangement for full orchestra, without piano.
Schoenberg, a revolutionary composer in his own right, met Brahms as a young man shortly before the older composer’s death at the end of the 19th Century. He created the arrangement in tribute to Brahms’ own spirit of innovation – and didn’t change a note. The piece especially features the LSO’s wind section.
Gallo is a doctoral student, and Stabilito a master’s degree student, in the UMSMTD’s nationally known orchestral conducting program. Gallo holds the Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D. Music Director position with the LSO, made possible by a gift from its namesake, the first U-M executive vice president for medical affairs and a longtime supporter of the LSO.
The orchestra is part of the Gifts of Art program, which brings the world of art and music to Michigan Medicine, the U-M academic medical center. The LSO gives members an outlet for their musical talents and a chance to interact with one another across academic disciplines and professions. The orchestra made its concert debut in January 2001 and plays two free concerts each year.