Get your program notes here!

Roberto Kalb

Roberto Kalb, LSO Music Director

LSO music director Roberto Kalb has written program notes for the concert, which bring the pieces to life.

Read them here in PDF form! Or print to bring to the concert.

Read them here to prepare for your listening experience – and learn more at the pre-concert lecture starting at 3:15 in the lower level of Hill.

The concert begins at 4 p.m., and doors to the auditorium will open for general seating at 3:40.
See you at the concert!

Paging Dr. Violin?


devare violin 2 blog

Dr. Jenna Devare “scopes” her violin

If you could see Dr. Ellen Janke or Dr. Jenna Devare in action in a U-M operating room, you’d probably notice how confidently they handle the complex equipment of 21st Century surgery.

You’d see how every operation is a team effort, with surgeons, anesthesiologists, residents, nurses and technicians each playing their part to help every patient.

But if you come to Hill Auditorium this Sunday afternoon, you can see Dr. Janke and Dr. Devare engaged in another kind of teamwork: the kind it takes to play in a 70-member symphony orchestra.

Dr. Ellen Janke, LSO

Dr. Ellen Janke checks her violin’s “vital signs”

Together with dozens of other medical and scientific professionals and students from around the university, they’ll present a free concert as the U-M Life Sciences Orchestra.

The LSO will kick off its 15th season of blending music, medicine and science with works by two of the most famous composers from Scandinavian countries: Jean Sibelius, from Finland, and Edvard Grieg of Norway. An overture by Beethoven will start things off.

Both doctors, and other LSO musicians, brought their instruments to work for these fun photos taken by another LSO member, retired physician and viola player Dr. Bern Mueller.

The team, the team, the team

Engelke trumpet patientsmjpg

Carl Engelke, who’s pursuing both an M.D. and a Ph.D. at the Medical School, is the LSO’s lead trumpet player

The entire LSO “team” has been rehearsing for this performance every Sunday night since October, giving them a weekly release from the demands of caring for patients, performing research or studying technical fields.

When they come to the LSO’s Sunday evening rehearsals, the orchestra’s doctors, nurses, dentists, graduate students, medical students, engineers and research staff leave behind their workplace identities and ranks.

And when U-M conducting student and LSO Music Director Roberto Kalb raises his baton, they become musicians above all else. Kalb is working toward his doctorate in orchestral conducting at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He’s assisted by Jacobsen Woollen, a master’s degree student in the same program.

The LSO is one of the signature offerings of Gifts of Art, a program of the U-M Health System that brings visual and performing arts into many areas of the medical campus. And for many LSO members, it’s the only chance they get to express musical skills and talents they’ve been developing for years.

Medical student Whit Froehlich checks his cello in for "care"

Medical student Whit Froehlich checks his cello in for “care”

“Since childhood, music has always been an important part of my life,” says Devare, who is training to become an ear, nose and throat surgeon. “The LSO provides me with a wonderful opportunity to continue making beautiful music and to collaborate with U-M physicians, scientists, and trainees in a new context, helping to balance my life as an otolaryngology resident. I am lucky to be a part of such a multitalented group!”

Janke, an anesthesiologist, says, “I never cease to be amazed by the musical talent that exists within the Health System, and in the broader reaches of the life sciences.  It is an utter privilege to play in this orchestra.  And I love it when I see colleagues in the audience!”

Carl Engelke, a trumpet player who is training for dual degrees in medicine and biomedical science at the Medical School, agrees. “Music has always been a very important part of my life,” he says. “Since I joined in 2011, the LSO has been a wonderful way to keep playing music with others even during the busiest times of medical school and graduate school.”

Olivia Palmer, a graduate student in engineering, and LSO violinist, in her lab

Olivia Palmer, a graduate student in engineering, and LSO violinist, in her lab


Take the next step:

  • Learn more about the LSO Concert, which  begins at 4 p.m. and is free with no tickets required
  • See what all the LSO’s members do in “real life”
  • Find out about Gifts of Art, the UMHS program that sponsors the LSO and much more


Music to thaw the ice: U-M Life Sciences Orchestra plays free concert on Jan. 24

LSOSpring2014flier_finalNordic composer Sibelius featured during his 150th birthday celebration

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Winter in Ann Arbor pales in comparison with the cold, snowy darkness of Finland or Norway at this time of year.

But the University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra will try to melt some of the Nordic frost on Sunday, Jan. 24 with a concert featuring two Scandinavian composers.

The concert will begin at 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public with general admission seating. No tickets are required.

Continue reading

Introducing: Our January 24 concert poster!

A wintry sky and a frozen lake – what better symbols for the Nordic feel of our January 24 concert? After all, Sibelius was from Finland, Grieg was from Norway, and Beethoven’s overture was premiered at a castle in what is now the Czech Republic.

Share this post to start spreading the word about the concert!

Download a high-resolution version to print here.

Kudos to Carrie McClintock of the U-M Health System’s Gifts of Art program for her poster design.


Announcing our 2015-2016 Roster

Thanks to all who came out for auditions this year – both those who had played with us before, and those new to the LSO.

Auditions were competitive on every instrument, and you can find the full roster of musicians on this page.

Please note that string seating is mixed and not in order of audition performance, and that woodwind/brass seating will rotate on some pieces.

Information for all members:

First rehearsal:

  • This Sunday and every Sunday, we will tune at 7 p.m. sharp, so please arrive in the hall at 6:45 p.m. to help set up and warm up.
  • We will provide folders with music and LSO member handbooks.
  • We will run through each piece on the program.
  • Please bring $50 in cash or check paid to U-M Life Sciences Orchestra. This is your member dues; you are welcome to give additional amounts as a gift to fund the orchestra further, and you will receive a tax receipt for the gift amount.

All rehearsals:

  • The rehearsal schedule is here; please mark your calendar now for each one.
  • This Sunday, the LSO Committee will bring snacks for everyone to have at the break. Starting next week, we will begin asking members of different sections to bring snacks.
    First violins: It will be your turn on Oct. 11!
  • Please note that some woodwind and brass players will rotate into different chairs for each piece.
  • Wind players: please help cover parts for absent section-mates whenever possible. You’ll receive copies of all the parts for all the pieces for your instrument.
  • If you already know you will have to miss or be more than 15 minutes late to an upcoming rehearsal: please email this week to let us know so we can plan accordingly.
  • Please also email about any last-minute absences or notices that you will be late for rehearsal.



  • You and your family/significant other are invited to a Season Kickoff Potluck Picnic this Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at Gallup Park.
  • This is a rain-or-shine event: We have reserved the indoor Meeting Room in the building next to the canoe rental location. Here’s a map:
  • The LSO will provide pizza and party supplies. Bring a dish or drink to share; no alcohol please.
  • Canoe rental is open until 7 p.m.


Recap of the virtual meeting & January’s concert program!

For those who missed the kickoff meeting for the LSO’s 2015-2016 season, here are the high points of the presentation:

  • Once again, we’re asking each person who is accepted into the orchestra to make a $50 member contribution, payable by cash/check to U-M Life Sciences Orchestra at a rehearsal in September or October (or, $25/semester)
  • If you can pay more, we’ll give a gift receipt for amount above $50!
  • We will play two free concerts this year, at Hill Auditorium on January 24 and April 24
  • We’ll keep adding updates to this website and our Facebook page (
  • If you have questions or need anything, contact the committee and music director at
  • We went over Key Dates for this season:
    • Auditions: Evenings, Sept. 21 & 24 and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27
    • Roster distributed: Sept. 30
    • Audition location: See map

      • Moore Bldg.
      • School of Music, North Campus
      • Free parking evenings and weekends
      • Bus service – Pierpont

      audition map1

    • How to sign up for an audition:
      • Go to my
      • Read the directions
      • Scroll down. Pick a time by selecting My Audition to the right of the time you want, in the column for the day you want – you are choosing a seven-minute slot and we will call you as close to your appointed time as possible.
      • Fill out the required info. Please include a cell phone in case we need to reach you on the day/evening of your audition.
      • Download your audition excerpt from the LSO website and practice the part between the two brackets ONLY! Also prepare a short piece of your own choosing.
      • Don’t forget to write down the day and time you choose, and bring TWO copies of your chosen piece to the audition! (one for you, one for Roberto)
      • If you’re there & there are open slots before yours, you may be able to go early.
      • If you decide not to audition, or you need to reschedule at the last minute, please email AND change your listing on the schedule.
    • Member picnic: Oct. 3, Gallup Park Meeting Room/Patio, 5-7 p.m.
      Pizza & potluck sides/desserts/drinks
    • First rehearsal: Oct. 4, 7-9:30 pm
    • Rehearsals almost every Sunday
    • Winter 2015 Concert: Sunday, Jan. 24, 2013, 4 p.m., Hill Auditorium, 
    • Dress rehearsal: Jan. 23, afternoon
    • Spring 2015 concert:
    • Sunday, April 24, 4 p.m. Dress rehearsal: April 23, afternoon

Assistant Conductor: Jacobsen (Jake) Woollen

And what everyone has been waiting for:


January 24 –

  • Beethoven – Coriolan Overture
  • Grieg – Peer Gynt Suite No. 1
  • Sibelius – Symphony No. 2

April 24 –

  • Poulenc: Organ Concerto in G minor, with Naki Kripfgans, 2014 Concerto Competition co-winner
  • Other works TBD


Audition date/time update – and a renovated building!

rehearsalhallDue to scheduling issues, LSO auditions will NOT be held on Tuesday, Sept. 22 as previously announced. We will extend the hours for auditions on Monday, Sept. 21 and Thursday, Sept. 24 to accommodate all those who would have auditioned on Tuesday.

To signup for your audition, visit any time after 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16 and follow the instructions on the site.

If your plans change, or you absolutely can’t audition on one of the available days, please email

Also – if you haven’t yet been to the School of Music’s E.V. Moore building, where our auditions are held, it has just undergone an incredible renovation. Read this article in the University Record to learn more and see photos.

Announcing our new music director, Roberto Kalb! Plus: Audition excerpts available

Roberto Kalb

Roberto Kalb, LSO Music Director

The LSO is thrilled to announce the appointment of our new music director, Roberto Kalb, to lead the orchestra for our 2015-2016 season. He’s the LSO’s ninth musical leader, and the second conductor to hold the title of Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D. Music Director.

Roberto continues our longstanding tradition of leadership by students of the famed U-M orchestral conducting program in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Roberto already holds a Master’s Degree in Composition from U-M, and is simultaneously pursuing Doctoral degrees in Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music and Conducting at the University of Michigan.

Read more about Roberto in the full biography available here.

He will introduce himself to prospective members at the Virtual Season Kickoff Meeting on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. Participate via any computer at (enter the meeting as a guest) You can also download the Adobe Connect app for mobile devices and enter the meeting wherever you are.

Roberto and the LSO Committee will hold auditions in late September. Audition excerpts for each instrument are now available on this page, along with the dates and times for auditions and a full description of audition requirements.

If you are interested in joining Roberto and the LSO for this season, and you have not played with us before, please see this page to get started. 

Welcome, Roberto!

Calling all musicians!

Do you play an orchestral instrument?

Are you in grad or med school, or training/working in a science/medical field?

Want to meet new people, all involved in science & health?

The U-M Life Sciences Orchestra (LSO) is for you!


The LSO was founded in Fall 2000 to bring together amateur musicians who are students, faculty, staff and alumni of U-M’s life sciences and health units: the Medical School and the rest of the Health System, the schools of Public Health, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Social Work, Kinesiology and Natural Resources, the Life Sciences Institute, and the life science units of Rackham Graduate School, Engineering, LS&A and other areas of U-M.

We routinely attract more than 1,000 people to our concerts in January and April, and we play major classical works in the fantastic Hill Auditorium. We share a lot of fun times as our members discover their common interests and backgrounds during Sunday night rehearsals designed for busy schedules.

If you’re interested in joining the LSO:

  • Visit our web site, to learn more about the LSO!
  • Fill out our online form, at This adds you to our e-mail list.
  • Take part in our “virtual meeting” on , Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. via (enter the meeting as a guest)
  • Prepare a brief piece of your choice, plus the required excerpt for your instrument. Find the excerpt for your instrument & other info at, in late August.
  • AUDITION! All prospective members (even those who played with us before) must audition. Sign up online at starting Sept. 16. Auditions are Sept. 21, 22, 24 and 27. You’ll be notified if you’re accepted.
  • Enjoy the LSO! The member picnic is Saturday, October 3 (location TBD), and the first rehearsal is Sunday, Oct. 4, 7-9:30 p.m., at the School of Music on North Campus.

Even if you can’t play this year, mark your calendar for these two Sundays:
Jan. 24 & April 24, for our concerts at Hill Auditorium. Both are free and begin at 4 p.m.

 Download and print a flyer of this page to share!

Announcing our 2015-2016 season!

Summer may be a quiet time for the LSO, but we’re already planning ahead for our new season.

We’ve chosen the following dates for our auditions, rehearsals and concerts – and for the first time, we’re also planning a kickoff picnic for all our members.

If you’re interested in playing with the LSO, but you haven’t yet filled out our webform to join our email list, please do so now!

Auditions (locations TBD)

  • Monday, Sept. 21st 7-9 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 22nd  7-9 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 24 7-9 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 27 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

We will post the roster of those chosen to play in the LSO on this site on Sept. 30

Member kickoff potluck picnic: Saturday Oct. 3rd


Sunday evenings, 7-9:30 p.m. at the School of Music Rehearsal Hall unless otherwise noted

Fall/winter rehearsals:

  • Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25
    (plan now for Halloween costumes on the 25th!)
  • Nov.  8, 15, 22
  • Dec 6, 13
  • Jan 3, 10, 17
  • Thursday Jan. 21st – time and location TBD
  • Dress rehearsal Sat 23rd, time TBD, Hill Auditorium

Concert Sunday, Jan. 24th at Hill Auditorium, time TBD

Spring rehearsals:

  • Jan. 31
  • Feb 7, 21, 28
  • Mar 6, 13, 20
  • April 3, 10, 17,
  • midweek rehearsal – date, time, location TBD
  • Dress rehearsal Saturday, April 23 at Hill Auditorium, time TBD

Concert Sunday, April 24 at Hill Auditorium, time TBD

More information to come about what we’re playing and who will lead us this season.

Questions? email