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New U-M Symphony Band CD features multiple GRAMMY-winners


A new album by the University of Michigan Symphony Band (USB) has been released on the Equilibri label. Titled Poetics, it features three GRAMMY Award-winning artists: soprano Hila Plitmann, composer Michael Daugherty (SMTD professor of composition), and saxophonist Timothy McAllister (SMTD associate professor of saxophone).

Conducted by Professor Michael Haithcock, the USB performs Daugherty's Labyrinth of Love featuring Plitmann; Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Orchestra by Ingolf Dahl, featuring McAllister; and Masks and Machines, by award-winning composer Paul Dooley, SMTD lecturer of performing arts technology. According to Haithcock, the celebrated roster of talent offered SMTD students a rare opportunity to engage in "a laboratory of professionalism."

Haithcock said that engaging Plitmann to perform and record Michael Daugherty's Labyrinth of Love was a boon for the USB. The work is a 40-minute "tapestry of desire, loneliness, passion, humor and pathos," according to the composer, and features songs based on the poetry of eight famous women through the centuries, from Sappho (6th century BC) to contemporary poet Anne Carson (b. 1950). Plittman previously performed the world premiere of the wind version of Labyrinth of Love in 2013 with the University of Miami Frost Wind Ensemble.

"This dramatic work aptly displays the wide range of vocal talents that have made Plitmann the 'go to' singer for contemporary music on the scene today," said Daugherty, who was just nominated for three Grammy Awards for Tales of Hemingway (Naxos), a CD featuring three of his works performed by the Nashville Symphony under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero.

Plitmann, a champion of new music, won the GRAMMY Award in 2009 for Best Classical Vocal Performance for her recording, with the Minnesota Orchestra, of John Corigliano's Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan.

"What a joyful whirlwind recording this CD was," said Plitmann. "Maestro Haithcock and the U-M Symphony Band are unparalleled, and inspired me to no end with their immaculate musicianship. We tackled Daugherty's masterpiece with fervor and passion, and I have such immense gratitude at being able to delve into such unique and heartfelt music."

Amanda Ross, a second year specialist degree candidate in trumpet, said that Haithcock often provides the opportunity for the band to work with renowned artists, but she found Plitmann especially inspirational. "Hila Plitmann brought a command to the stage like I hadn't seen before," said Ross. "Her commitment to the music and humanity was quite powerful; I don't think I'll ever forget the experience of working with her."

The third GRAMMY winner on the album, Professor Timothy McAllister, is also an alum (BM '95, MM '97, DMA '02). In 2014 he succeeded his legendary mentor at SMTD, Donald Sinta, leading the saxophone program at the school. He was the featured soloist in a work composed specifically for him, John Adams's Saxophone Concerto, featured on the album John Adams: City Noir with the St. Louis Symphony, which won the 2014 GRAMMY for Best Orchestral Performance.

On the new USB CD, McAllister performs Ingolf Dahl's Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Orchestra, originally commissioned in 1948 by Sigurd Rascher, considered the world's first classical saxophone virtuoso. The work's musical and technical demands have set the standard by which saxophonists have been judged for more than 60 years.

"It was a great honor and, quite frankly, a lifelong dream to record Dahl's Saxophone Concerto," said McAllister. "It was my legendary predecessor's recording of the work from the early 1970s with the U-M Symphony Band that inspired me to become a musician; to follow in Don Sinta's footsteps is indescribable. The production quality of this new recording is of the highest standards in the industry, and the students all played at the highest professional level. I believe this new album will become a benchmark in the wind band world for decades to come."

"The Dahl Concerto for Saxophone is a brilliant piece of music written for a virtuosic sax soloist and a talented, flexible band," said Ben Wulfman, who graduated last spring with a BM in French horn. "Professor Haithcock has his recording sessions figured out to the minute. His point of view is that every second is precious time. The band members' time should not be wasted and neither should his or the soloist. Therefore, the sessions ran like clockwork. I have never experienced a more 'well-oiled machine' than Professor Haithcock's 'Laboratory of Professionalism'!"

The final work on the album, Masks and Machines by Paul Dooley, takes its name from a chapter title in the book Pyramids at the Louvre by U-M Professor Emeritus of Musicology Glenn Watkins. It is inspired by the early 20th century works of Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer and the Neoclassical music of Igor Stravinsky. Masks and Machines is one of only several works ever to win both the prestigious Sousa / Ostwald Award and the NBA Revelli Composition Award.

Poetics is available to purchase at iTunes,, or



past news

November 2015
October 2014

Anisha Nandi, from The Michigan Daily, sat down with professor Michael Gould to talk about his "Remember Me" show. The video can be seen on the Michigan Daily website.   10/01/2014

July 2014

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Dance, Peter Sparling is a recipient of a Distinguished University Professorship. Effective September 1, Sparling will be a Rudolf Arnheim Distinguished University Professor. This appointment is one of the highest honors the University can bestow upon a faculty member.   07/18/2014

Professor Patricia Hall will be presenting her paper, "Alban Berg's 'Guilt' by Association to the Music, Censorship and Meaning in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union conference at the Colburn School in Los Angeles this August.   07/12/2014

April 2014

Prof. Ed Sarath Receives U-M's "Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award" 04/21/2014

Professor Kuster Wins Prestigious OPERA America Grant 04/04/2014

Professor Mukherji to Speak in London this July 04/04/2014

Áine Heneghan, Assistant Professor of Music Theory, will present her research on Schoenberg's Formenlehre at the following conferences, all in 2014: Music Theory Midwest (Appleton, WI), the Eighteenth Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music (Toronto, Canada), EuroMAC (Leuven, Belgium), and the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory (Milwaukee).   04/01/2014

March 2014

U-M UpstART Festival Begins 03/31/2014

A Multimedia Installation on Climate Change 03/28/2014

Wayne Petty, Associate Professor of Music Theory, will read his paper, "Some Multimovement Designs in C. P. E. Bach's Late Keyboard Sonatas" at the Seventh EuroMac conference, which will gather scholars from all music theory societies in Europe in Leuven, Belgium, from 17 to 21 September, 2014.  An adaptation of the paper will be presented to the Society for Music Theory in Milwaukee in the Fall of 2014.   03/26/2014

Walter Everett, Professor of Music Theory, announces the publication of Los Beatles como músicos: De Revolver de la Antología (Buenos Aires: Eterna Cadencia, 2013), the Spanish translation of his The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver through the Anthology (Oxford University Press, 1999).   03/21/2014

Celebration of Professor George Shirley's 80th Birthday 03/19/2014

Prof. Korsyn presents keynote in The Hague, serves in scholarly appointments 03/14/2014

December 2013

In January 2014 Professor Wayne Petty will read the paper, "Wilhelm Fischer and the Fortspinnung-type Sonata Exposition," at the Seventh International Conference on Music Theory in Tallin and Pärnu, Estonia.  The conference theme is "Musical Form: Mapping the Territories."   12/17/2013

AmeriGrove II, edited by Professor Charles Garrett, is published 12/13/2013

November 2013

Gosman Presents Beethoven Research 11/16/2013

Department of Music Theory Announces Visiting Speakers of 2014 11/16/2013

Everett Launches Beatles Observances 11/16/2013

Interarts professor Holly Hughes presents The Dog and Pony Show (Bring Your Own Pony) in a webcast performance at the Chicago Humanities Festival on Mon., Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Her newest performance work, the piece offers a poetic and comic meditation on midlife crises in the key of canine.   11/01/2013

September 2013

SMTD Welcomes New Faculty 09/27/2013

Ramon Satyendra, associate professor of music theory, has published his essay, "Morphisms of Generalized Interval Systems and PR-Groups" (co-authored with Thomas Fiore and Thomas Noll), in Journal of Mathematics and Music 7/1.   09/20/2013

Alan Gosman Co-authors New Beethoven Book 09/06/2013

July 2013

Professor Ashley Lucas and three Theatre & Drama students are engaged in an intensive exchange program with UniRio in Rio de Janiero, Brazil this summer, where they are blogging about their experiences in UniRio's prison arts program and more.   07/12/2013

June 2013

SMTD Mourns Professor Emeritus Erling Bengtsson 06/10/2013

Holly Hughes, professor of interarts performance in the Department of Theatre & Drama, was profiled in Hyperallergic, an online magazine about art and culture, which included a Q&A with Hughes about her role as one of the "NEA Four."   06/06/2013

Music theory professor Walter Everett's role as an expert on the music of the Beatles was the subject of an article in      06/06/2013

Hall presents in Copenhagen 06/03/2013

May 2013

Robert Hurst, associate professor of jazz and contemporary improvisation, was featured in a Q&A article in on the occasion of the release of his new CD, BOB: a palindrome.   05/01/2013

November 2012
November 2011
February 2010
Hila Plitmann performing with the USB in 2016 (photo: Peter Smith)
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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower