Joyce DiDonato, Brian Lobel Headline University Musical Society’s Digital Artist Residencies

By David Salazar
(Credit: Simon Pauly)

The University Musical Society at the University of Michigan has announced a series of Digital Artist Residencies, including one with famed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.

Per a press release from the university, the residencies will showcase the artists in broader conversations, participatory experiences, and discussions on the creative process in order to engage with audiences, including students and faculty.

“As we face unprecedented challenges in presenting live, in-person work by artists, I’m absolutely thrilled that we will be investing in and working with this select group of artists over the course of the next year, to develop new work and to invite audiences into the process,” said UMS President Matthew VanBesien in the press release. “Since our venues closed in March, we have been fully committed to exploring ways that we can continue to connect with our audiences and continue to support artists in their creative development. With this program, which is funded in part by a group of generous UMS board and board emeritus supporters, we are able to continue that work on both fronts.”

DiDonato’s participation will take place on Sept. 30, 2020 with the mezzo-soprano using song as a lens through which to process and navigate the human experience in relation to current events and global concerns in real-time. A series of videos will showcase the famed opera star engaged in conversation with people from a wide range of backgrounds on themes of grief, community, unity, patriotism, and nature. Her project is being developed in collaboration with Princeton University Concerts.

Another major residency will feature performance artists Brian Lobel as he interrogates the idea of failure in art, in life, in public, and in private through an extension of his 2015 performance piece “24 Italian Songs and Arias.” Audiences will be invited to submit recordings of themselves performing from the collection of songs, from which Lobel will curate a crowdsourced digital performance archive.

Other Digital Artists Residencies will include Taker Yamani and the Spektral Quartet; Wendell Pierce, Tunde Olarniran, and Cleo Parker Robinson.