Although 20% of babies who were exposed to classical music in utero become doctors or lawyers, 100% of babies born on stage during a classical-music performance become Bill Gates. Upgrade your evening with this GrouponLive deal to see the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra’s “Around the World with Music” at the Michigan Theater. For $20, you get a family pass for two adults and two children on Sunday, March 17, at 4 p.m. (up to a $40 value). Preconcert events run from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The final show in this season’s Family Concert Series invites aural adventurers young and old on a whirlwind world tour. Jet setters start in the United States with Hoe-Down, the most famous movement of Aaron Copland’s rootin’, tootin’ ballet, Rodeo, before getting their passports ready for South America with Ginastera’s dramatically modern Estancia, which celebrates Argentina’s lasso-twirling gaucho population. Across the Atlantic to Africa, ears bask in Samuel Akpabot’s joyful Three Nigerian Dances, then jump up to England to experience Nimrod from Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and Russia to listen in on the blistering third movement of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Chinese composer Bright Sheng’s From the Savage Land from Postcards concludes the evening, predictably arriving years after he wrote it.
Fresh off her win at the 2012 Sphinx Competition, 15-year-old wunderkind Adé Williams deftly handles the Violin Concerto with her replica Stradivarius. The 2004 Walgreens National Concerto Competition marked the beginning of an incredible winning streak for this young artist—she since has won first place at the Sejong Cultural Society’s music competition and the DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers, and earned a William Warfield scholarship. Practicing tirelessly, Williams has toured Switzerland and Bermuda, played numerous Chicago charity events, and founded the trio SugarStrings with her cousins in 2004.
Before the Show
The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoos give little minstrels-to-be a chance to reach out and touch some of the instruments they’ll see on stage. Accumulated with the help of generous musicians who outgrew their flutes, trumpets, drums, and strings, the instruments are set out not only before select concerts but also at schools, daycare centers, and goat pens across Washtenaw County. The Instrument Petting Zoo and other preconcert activities are presented in partnership with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Girl Scouts, and Purple Rose Theatre Company.
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
In 1928, four musicians from an Ann Arbor church joined together to play at services. Decades later, after several names and a number of music directors, the orchestra continues strong. Current music director Arie Lipsky leads the group through programs tailored for listeners of all ages. That emphasis on accessibility even extends beyond the orchestra—the orchestra reaches out to the community with a number of school programs that engage and transform music for children.