Fire, passion and heroics: U-M Life Sciences Orchestra plays free concert on Jan. 21

Guest conductor Todd Craven leads program of works by Russian composers

ANN ARBOR, Mich. —  The weather outside Hill Auditorium may be frigid, but the music inside will be fiery, passionate and heroic on the evening of Saturday, Jan. 21.

That’s when the University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra will take the stage for a free 8 p.m. performance of works by Russian composers. The LSO is made up of medical, health and science faculty, staff, students and alumni from across U-M.

The concert, led by guest conductor Todd Craven, is open to the public, as is a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. in the lower level of the Hill Auditorium building. No tickets are required, though the LSO accepts donations to support its concerts.

The concert will begin with Mikhail Glinka’s overture to a 19th century opera, Ruslan and Lyudmila, about the dramatic rescue of a princess by her true love. Assistant conductor Niklas Tamm will led the LSO for the fast and furious piece.

Next up, the Firebird suite by Igor Stravinsky, in its 1919 orchestration, will capture the excitement of a Russian folk tale turned ballet. Alternately frenzied and poetic, the piece evokes the appearance of an enchanted red bird who helps a hero defeat a sorcerer and free trapped creatures.

The program will conclude with Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s stirring, emotional Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74. Popularly known as the Pathétique, a French translation of the Russian word for “passionate” or “emotional”, the symphony was the composer’s last – premiering just over a week before his death.

The LSO’s music director is Roberto Kalb, a doctoral student in the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s nationally known orchestral conducting program. Craven is a graduate, and Tamm a current master’s student, in the program, from which the LSO has drawn its conductors since it began blending science and music in the fall of 2000.

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 the U-M Health System. The LSO gives 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.

For more information on the concert or the LSO, visit http://lso.med.umich.edu/  or www.facebook.com/umlso, send e-mail to orchestra@umich.edu, or call (734) 936-ARTS. The LSO will also perform on Thursday, April 20 at Hill.

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