Tuesday, September 12, 2017

National Art in Education Week Post“Arts education, comprising a rich array of disciplines including dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design, and visual arts, is a core academic subject and an essential element of a complete and balanced education for all students.”

With these words, the U.S. House of representatives designated the week beginning with the second Sunday of September as National Art in Education Week. The Michigan Philharmonic, with our CLASSical Music Outreach Third Grade Program, Visiting Artists workshops, and of course the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is proud to nurture, support, and recognize the importance of arts education in Michigan. 

National Art in Education Week in September 10-16 this year. Share your stories of an important arts teacher or arts class that you have had with the hashtag #BecauseOfArtsEd.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Danzas del ballet “Estancia” is a bold, rhythmic orchestral work based on the ballet “Estancia” and is the first of two pieces composed by the great Alberto Ginastera that the Michigan Philharmonic will be performing this concert season. To help familiarize you with this Alberto Ginastera, before our season opens, here are eight things you may not have known about him:

  1. During his later years, Ginastera preferred to pronounce his name with a soft ‘G’ sound rather than the Spanish ‘J’ sound that he had preferred earlier in life. 
  1. The fourth movement of Ginastera’s first piano concerto was adapted by English rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer. They released the song titled “Toccata” on their album Brain Salad Surgery. Ginastera was a big fan of the adaptation. 
  1. The incorporation of Argentinian folk themes was important and often straightforward in Ginastera’s early compositions, but became more and more abstract as his career progressed.
  1. Ginastera’s music also saw him experiment with serial technique (an innovation by Schoenberg) later in his career. 
  1. The first planned performance of Ginastera’s opera Bomarzo (1967) was cancelled by the Argentinian government because of the opera’s “alleged immoral nature”. The opera was banned by Argentina until 1972. 
  1. Deeming several works as immature—regardless of how well received they had been—Ginastera had them withdrawn from publication. This included his first and second symphonies. 
  1. As a young professor, Ginastera traveled to the U.S. on a Guggenheim fellowship. It was then that he studied with famous American composer Aaron Copland. 
  1. Estancia, the ballet source material for Danzas del ballet “Estancia” was originally commissioned by New York’s Ballet Caravan who unfortunately disbanded before the premiere of the ballet. Ginastera pulled from and converted the work into this orchestral piece as to save the music from being lost to time. 

The “Estancia” ballet itself was eventually premiered in 1952, and 67 years later we are happy to bring Danzas del ballet “Estancia” to you. Be sure to see the Michigan Philharmonic perform Ginastera’s Danzas del ballet “Estancia” during our season opener “A Bit of Beethoven and Blue Jeans” Saturday, September 30th at the Cherry Hill Village Theater in Canton. Pre-concert talk with our music director and conductor, Nan Washburn and the great American composer, Mary Watkins at 6:45 pm. Don't miss it!

September 30th, 7:30 pm
Cherry Hill Village Theater

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

72nd Michigan Philharmonic Season 2017 - 2018

2016: Women take Strides!
While the Michigan Philharmonic embraced women composers in their 2016/2017 concert and lecture series, the Los Angeles Times critic Mark Swed deemed 2016 to be classical music’s “year of the woman.”  Du Yun became the seventh woman to win a music Pulitzer Prize for her operatic composition Angel’s Bone this year and history was made as all three music Pulitzer Prize finalists were women. Congratulations to all women working towards breaking the universal glass ceiling!

This season the Michigan Philharmonic continue its support for Women Composers as they will be preforming works by Mary Watkins, Alice Gomez, Peggy Glanville-Hicks and Gloria Estefan this upcoming season!

2017/2018 Season:
Last season, the Michigan Philharmonic focused on the promoting Women composers through lectures series and their concert series in the 2016/2017 season. This year, the Michigan Philharmonic is excited to broaden their focus as they plan to host speakers and composers that embody diversity. Look out for our upcoming lectures featuring speakers who’ll discuss Art Advocacy as the Michigan Philharmonic embraces art education, local artists, and diverse cultures and audiences.

Community/ Local Artists
The Michigan Philharmonic has a long-standing tradition of embracing the Plymouth-Canton-Livonia community as well as featuring composers form around the world at their concerts throughout each season. As they maintain their tradition embracing world class talent and local artists, this year the two of the three guest composers, Zhou Tian and Ricardo Lorenz, will be from the Lansing area. Look out for these groups and local composer/musicians in these upcoming concerts:
·       Hail to the Veterans (November 10th, 2017) featuring:
       The Detroit Children’s Choir
       Main Street Opera Theatre
       Plymouth Counselors Youth Chorale
       MPYO Sinfonia in the concert
·       Miniature Masterpieces (January 2017) featuring:
       Dennis Carter, Michigan Philharmonic’s own flutist and prominent musician in the metro-Detroit area
·       Tchaikovsky Spectacular (Sunday March 18th, 2018) featuring:
       Zhou Tian and this composition,  A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
·       Danzones y Tangos: A Cabaret CafĂ© (April 14th, 2018)

       Ricardo Lorenzo and his composition, Habanera Science

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Saturday April 1st, the Michigan Philharmonic will conclude its 71st season in celebration with the concert, Phil-Palooza. Community enrichment has been an unfailing goal of Michigan Philharmonic since the symphony began. Phil-Palooza will honor the importance of community engagement as well as the platform music gives to foster collaboration and unite people from all age groups, and backgrounds. To demonstrate the inclusivity of music, Phil-Palooza will feature music both kids and adults will enjoy, including Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, narrated by Randy Bhirdo and a Star Wars Medley, compositions by John Williams. The Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra will also appear in a side-by-side performance of the symphony Finlandia, Op, 26 composed by Jean Sibelius.

To wrap up the concert, Phil-Palooza will debut the world premiere of 112 Degrees, written by Alice Gomez whose music embodies solidarity, as she embraces her heritage and the utilization of multicultural compositional techniques. And to end this successful concert series, the Plymouth Community Band, and the Michigan Philharmonic will perform together for the first time. This is a concert you, your family and friends won’t want to miss. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Touch of the Irish

This season, the Michigan Philharmonic has embraced and highlighted numerous compositions written by women throughout their concert series. This upcoming concert, A Touch of the Irish, will feature the Gaelic Symphony in celebration of 150 years of Amy Beach, one of America’s most influential female composers.

Did you know?
·         Amy Beach is the first American woman to succeed as a composer of large-scale works.
·         She was 7 years old when she performed her first private recital.
·         She made her debut as a concert pianist at the age of 16.
·         She founded and was the first president of the Society of American Women Composers.
·         She was the first female American composer to compose a symphony performed by  an orchestra, Gaelic Symphony.

·         She is the first American woman to perform as a soloist on her own work. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Black History Month, Women in Music

5 Significant African-American Women Composers in Music History: 

Nora Holt (1885- 1974): An accomplished singer, composer, and music critic, she was the first African-American to receive a master’s degree in the United States.

Florence Price (1887-1953): The first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and have a composition played by a major orchestra. In 1932 she composed Symphony in E minor and in 1933 it was performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Shirley Graham Du Bois (1896-1977): The first African American woman to compose an opera for a major professional opera company. Tom Tom: An Epic of Music and the Negro was written and performed by The Stadium Opera Company in 1932.

Margaret Bonds (1913-1972): One of the first African-American composers and performers to gain national recognition in the United States. Some of her pieces include The Negro Speaks of Rivers (1942), and Shakespeare in Harlem (1959).

Julia Amanda Perry (1924-1979): Composer and teacher known for her fusion of black spiritual music and a neoclassical compositional style. Some of her compositions include Stabat Mater (1951) and The Cask of Amontillado (1954). Julia Perry’s Short Piece for Orchestra was recently performed by the Michigan Philharmonic as part of their Women Composer Series. 

The last composer in the series will be Alice Gomez. Her compositions integrate both ethnic tradition with the universal language of classical music. Mixing extrinsic ideologies and culture with classical music is a technique used by many composers in history who helped reshape what classical music is today. The Michigan Philharmonic will be performing the World Premier of Alice Gomez’s 112 Degrees on April 1, 2017 as part of their Phil-Palooza Concert at 7:30 in the Plymouth Arts and Recreation Complex Gym in Plymouth. 

And join us at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton this upcoming Saturday, February 11, at 7:30 for Couch Potato Pops (Favorite TV tunes) in celebration of Valentine’s weekend.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Uke Can't Be Serious - Jim Beloff's Ukelele Concert

Discover the wonders of American Music at the Uke Can't Be Serious a Michigan Philharmonic concert held on November 12, 7:30 pm at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton.

This concert will bring various elements together that define the identity of American music. Henry Cowell's American and Irish heritage set combines folk, western and American music. Aaron Copland's Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo score demonstrates the reason he was acclaimed as a leader at defining American music.

Jim Beloff's Ukelele concert will delight and surprise you with his part in symphony music. Richard Rodgers contributions helped define the American music world by actively participating in the musical theater scene.

As a part of Michigan Philharmonic's Women Composer Series, we are featuring Julia Perry's Short Piece for Orchestra (1965). Julia Perry’s Short Piece for Orchestra is a powerful demonstration of confrontational tunes that captivates and surprises the audience. Fortunately, this piece was recorded by the New York Philharmonic in May of 1965 under conductor William Steinberg, unlike many other Perry's works that have been lost or never performed due to the many racial and prejudice issues women and African-American composers face in the musical world. Julia Perry achieved many awards overcoming many prejudices.

Let's be serious and attend "Uke Can't Be Serious", make sure to bring your Ukelele along for a strumming surprise.

"Uke Can't Be Serious"
November 12, 7:30 pm
Pre-Concert Talk at 6:45 pm
Cherry Hill Village Theater
Tickets: 734.451.2112