April 11 concert cancelled

In light of the University’s recent announcement regarding COVID-19, we consider the health and safety of all of our members as our highest priority. Thus, the LSO will suspend all activities for the rest of the term, including all rehearsals and the April 11 concert.

As many performing arts organizations go through similar challenges, we hope our members and audience will keep using music as a tool for healing, whether it is on a personal level, or on a more global level. Continue sharing music and challenging yourself musically throughout this period.

We will post any updates about performances by small ensembles of LSO members, and our next season, on our website and Facebook page as new information is confirmed.


Save the date for our April 11 20th Anniversary concert!

The musicians of the LSO are hard at work rehearsing for the orchestra’s next concert, on Saturday, April 11 at 8 p.m. at Hill Auditorium.

On the program: blue cathedral,  written in 1999 by Jennifer Higdon, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, and Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony. Music director Tal Benatar and assistant conductor Nathan Bieber will lead the LSO, and there will be an opportunity for past members to help mark the anniversary. More details coming soon!

The concert will cap the LSO’s 20th anniversary season. The orchestra is asking fans, and current and past members, to give $20 in honor of the anniversary. Gifts can be made online here. 

Congratulations to our 2019-2020 members!

After three days of competitive auditions, we’re please to announce the roster of members for our January 2020 concert. A few names will be added in coming days.

LSO ROSTER as of Sept. 18

For those who were not accepted for this concert, or who missed auditions, we will hold auditions again in January in order to add to our ranks for the spring concert. Please keep practicing and finding other opportunities to play!

If you are on the roster but did not receive an email on the morning of Sept. 18, please check your spam folder. If there is no message there, please contact us at orchestra@umich.edu.

Looking forward to a great 20th season of blending science and music!

LSO Audition Signups Have Begun!

Our 20th season of blending music and science is officially under way, with the opening of registration for auditions on Sept. 11, 12 and 15.

All musicians interested in auditioning for the LSO who have not yet played with the orchestra or joined our email list for prospective members MUST fill out this information form before auditions. After you’ve filled it out, we’ll add you to our list.

To sign up for an audition: 

Please go to https://signup.com/go/UPMopup, read the introduction, and then select the spot that works for you. Please don’t sign up in the slots marked BREAK.

Please note the “show more spots” orange button for each day, which allows you to see all the spots.

Please also make sure you download the audition excerpt for your instrument, and read the audition requirements, at http://lso.med.umich.edu/join/audition-info/

Dates for the opening picnic, rehearsals and concerts are at http://lso.med.umich.edu/members/rehearsals/ .

If you aren’t able to audition on any of the three available dates, or you have questions, email orchestra@umich.edu.

Announcing our new music director, Tal Benatar!

The LSO is thrilled to announce that the music director for our 2019-2020 season – our 20th anniversary of blending science and music – will be Tal Benatar.

Tal is no stranger to our ensemble, having served as our assistant conductor in 2017-2018 while he earned his master’s degree in conducting at the U-M School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Now, he is  a Doctoral Pre-Candidate in Orchestral Conducting there, and continues a great tradition of LSO music directors from one of the nation’s top doctoral programs in orchestra conducting.

He will be the third music director to hold the Gilbert S. Omenn Music Director position, named for a former leader of the U-M Health System who has been a steadfast supporter of the LSO since its earliest days.

Tal will make his conducting debut with the LSO at our concert on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, at Hill Auditorium. He has selected a challenging program, including Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and Sibelius’s  Symphony No. 1. He will be assisted by Nathan Bieber, a master’s degree student in conducting at U-M.

Read more about Tal in his biography. 

Interested in joining the LSO for the 20th Anniversary Season? See our Auditions page, and learn about our rehearsal schedule.

The magic of flute: U-M Life Sciences Orchestra presents a free concert on April 14


Nearly 20 years ago, a young surgeon had an idea: What if the University of Michigan’s vast medical and science community had its own orchestra, to give give students and professionals a chance to express their musical talents and connect with one another and the community?

On Sunday, April 14, that surgeon will appear with the orchestra he envisioned, as its featured flute soloist.

David J. Brown, M.D., will play Carl Nielsen’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra with the U-M Life Sciences Orchestra, to close out the ensemble’s 19th season of blending science and music.

Beginning at 7 p.m. in U-M’s Hill Auditorium under the baton of music director Chelsea Gallo, the LSO will present a program of works composed in four centuries.

The concert is free and open to the public, as is a pre-concert lecture at 6:15 p.m. by Gallo in the lower level of the building. No tickets are required, though the LSO accepts donations to support its concerts.

The concert will begin with Helix, a short but intense overture by Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. Written in 2005, it brings out the mathematical side of music; the LSO will present its Michigan premiere.

The flute will come to the fore in two pieces: Mozart’s overture from The Magic Flute, written in 1791 and conducted by the LSO’s assistant conductor Régulo Stabilito, and the Nielsen concerto.

Written in 1926, the concerto offers Brown a chance to show the musical talent that made him co-winner of the LSO’s most recent concerto competition. He is also Associate Dean and Associate Vice President for Health Equity and Inclusion at Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center, as well as an associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology who cares for young patients at U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Brown first came to U-M in the late 1990s as a resident physician, and approached the health system’s Gifts of Art program with the idea of starting an orchestra like the one he had played in during his medical school years at Harvard University. The LSO launched in 2000 and played its first concert in January 2001. After leaving U-M for further training and his first faculty position, Brown returned in 2011 and rejoined the LSO soon after.

The concert’s second half features the Symphony No. 4 in F minor of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, written in the late 1870s. With its opening brass fanfare symbolizing the hand of fate, its quotes from Russian folk music, and one movement that calls for string players to pluck their instruments rather than bow them, the piece draws on the talents of dozens of the LSO’s members. Nearly all of them are medical, health and science faculty, staff, students and alumni from across the university.

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. She is also a cover conductor with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The orchestra is part of the Gifts of Art program, which brings the world of art and music to Michigan Medicine.

For information, visit http://lso.med.umich.edu/ or www.facebook.com/umlso, send e-mail to orchestra@umich.edu, or call (734) 936-ARTS.

Announcing the program for our April 14 concert, featuring guest soloist Dr. David Brown

Otolaryngologist David Brown, M.D., poses with his flute in the operating room

With the start of the New Year, the LSO has begun preparing for our concert on Sunday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in Hill Auditorium.

Please note the time change from the previously announced 4 p.m. start time!

The performance will feature guest soloist David J. Brown, M.D., co-winner of our Concerto Competition and Associate Vice President for Health Equity and Inclusion at Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center. He’ll perform Carl Nielsen’s Flute Concerto with the LSO. Brown is a founder of the LSO and a pediatric otolaryngologist at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Music director Chelsea Gallo has selected works to complement the Nielsen to round out the rest of the program. They are:

Helix, by Esa-Pekka Salonen, written in 2005

The Magic Flute Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which will be conducted by assistant conductor Regulo Stabilito

and the Symphony No. 4 in F minor by Pyotr Ilytch Tchaikovsky

The concert will be free and open to the public, with donations taken online and in person to support the LSO.  No tickets are required.