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UMS and SMTD partner to present concert of new scholarly edition of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess


As part of its 2017‐18 Choral Union Series, the University Musical Society (UMS) will present the University Symphony Orchestra, the premier orchestra of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), joined by SMTD choirs, performing the most recent draft of the U‐M Gershwin Initiative's new scholarly edition of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin.

This special test performance of this landmark work in concert will take place on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in Hill Auditorium. Tickets for UMS subscribers go on sale on Monday, April 17; tickets for non‐subscribers (individual event tickets) go on sale Monday, August 7. Visit the UMS website ( for more information.

Conducted by Kenneth Kiesler, director of university orchestras and professor of conducting, the performance will offer an aural sneak peek of the new edition of Porgy and Bess. Edited by Wayne Shirley, the new edition has been in development for more than two decades, and is finally coming to fruition in collaboration with the University of Michigan's Gershwin Initiative under the direction of Mark Clague, editor‐in‐chief of The George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition and associate professor of musicology at SMTD, as well Jessica Getman, managing editor of the project.

Porgy and Bess is considered, without rival, the most famous 20th‐century American opera. Since its 1935 debut, this story of a disabled beggar transformed by the unexpected love of Bess has been performed worldwide and features such well‐known songs as "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'," "My Man's Gone Now," "Summertime," and "It Ain't Necessarily So."

In addition to the concert, UMS and SMTD will host related symposia and other educational activities as part of an ongoing scholarly examination of the art of George and Ira Gershwin, a key element of SMTD's Gershwin Initiative.

The George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition, to be published by European American Music and Schott International, is the first‐ever scholarly edition of the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin. It will give conductors, musicians, performers, scholars, and audiences greater insight into the Gershwins' original material and, in many cases, offer the first performance materials to accurately reflect the creators' vision.

For more information on the Gershwin Initiative and the critical edition, including a blog that shares discoveries being made during research, visit The Gershwin Initiative website. (



past news

April 2017

Visitors to the School of Music, Theatre and Dance might wish to see the Music Library's exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Two authentic sets of autographs, records from six countries and other artifacts will remain on display through through June.   04/21/2017

UMS and SMTD partner to present concert of new scholarly edition of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess 04/18/2017

March 2014

Elizabeth Batiuk (ethnomusicology) has been chosen as a fellow at the Sweetland/Rackham Dissertation Writing Institute for spring 2014 and James McNally (ethnomusicology) received a summer and academic year FLAS for the study of Portuguese.    03/17/2014

Musicology graduate student Elizabeth McLain has been awarded a prestigious Lurcy Fellowship for research in France during the 2014-2015 academic year.   03/14/2014

February 2014
John Bubbles (Sportin’ Life) and Anne Brown (Bess), 1935 (Photo courtesy of the Ira & Leonore Gershwin Trusts)
Current News
Confronting Porgy and Bessmore
The way it was meant to be: George Gershwin's "An American in Paris"more

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower