Italian Romance: U-M Life Sciences Orchestra plays free concert on Thursday, April 20

Roberto Kalb leads performance of works written in, or inspired by, Italy

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — From the hills of Rome to the villages of Sicily, classical music inspired by Italy will come to life on Thursday, April 20 on the stage of the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium.

That’s when the U-M Life Sciences Orchestra will take the stage for a free 7:30 p.m. performance of works by Italian composers – and a German composer during his time in Italy. The LSO is made up of medical, health and science faculty, staff, students and alumni from across U-M.

The concert, led by Roberto Kalb, is open to the pubic, as is a pre-concert lecture at 6:45 p.m. Kalb will give in the lower level of the building. No tickets are required, though the LSO accepts donations to support its concerts. The concert will begin with opening remarks by Carol Bradford, M.D., M.S., executive vice dean for academic affairs at the U-M Medical School.

First on the program is Giaochino Rossini’s overture to his opera “La Gazza Ladra”, or “The Thieving Magpie”. Assistant conductor Niklas Tamm will lead the LSO for the lighthearted piece, which Rossini wrote under an intense deadline on the day of the first performance of his melodrama about a maid falsely accused of stealing silver.

Next, Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, dubbed the “Italian” symphony for the inspiration that the composer drew from his Grand Tour of the country.

Another piece drawn from Italian opera, Pietro Mascagni’s “Intermezzo” from the opera “Cavalleria Rusticana”, will follow. Composed as an orchestral interlude to a blockbuster opera set in Sicily on Easter, it’s now often performed as a concert work.

The LSO will close out the concert with “Pines of Rome”, a symphonic poem written by Ottorino Respighi in 1924 to evoke four scenes of the ancient city.

Kalb and Tamm are both students in the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s nationally known orchestral conducting program. Kalb 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.

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