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Posted on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 10:08 a.m.

Life Sciences Orchestra prepares free performance of Mahler's Second Symphony at Hill

By Melanie Maxwell


Life Sciences Orchestra members rehearse.

The University of Michigan's Life Sciences Orchestra offers a free performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 at Hill Auditorium on Sunday afternoon.

The LSO is a group consisting of skilled yet nonprofessional musicians who work in U-M's medical, health or related fields.

The concert is 4 p.m. Sunday. The U-M's acclaimed Kenneth Kiesler conducts. The concert will kick off the orchestra's 11th season.

Photographer Melanie Maxwell captured these images from a Thursday night rehearsal:

The full press release on the concert from the University of Michigan:

The University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra will kick off its 11th season with a free performance of a stirring masterpiece of classical music, under the baton of a nationally known guest conductor.

On Sunday, January 23 beginning at 4 p.m., the LSO will take the stage of Hill Auditorium on the U-M campus to play Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2.

Often called the “Resurrection” symphony for its themes of mortality and the afterlife, the dramatic, moving and often rousing work features nearly 100 musicians and more than 100 singers.

All are welcome to attend and no tickets are required for the free concert. Donations will be accepted at the door.

The performance will be conducted by Kenneth Kiesler, professor of conducting at the U-M School of Music, Theatre and Dance and Director of Orchestras at U-M, who has conducted major orchestras and opera companies worldwide. Kiesler and his doctoral student, LSO music director Oriol Sans, have spent the past four months preparing the LSO for the performance of this monumental work.

The orchestra is made up of doctors, nurses, scientists, health professionals, students and staff from the U-M’s medical and scientific community.

Carmen Pelton and Melody Racine, two faculty members in the U-M voice program, will be featured as vocal soloists. Jason Harris, a doctoral student in the U-M choral conducting program, led preparations for the specially formed choir, which also includes many members of the U-M community as well as others from the area.

The Mahler symphony is the only piece on the concert program, and will be performed without an intermission.

The performance will begin with remarks by David Canter, the executive director of the U-M North Campus Research Complex and a noted supporter of the arts. The NCRC, a former Pfizer pharmaceutical research site, is currently undergoing a resurrection of its own, being converted to use by U-M and industry researchers.

For more information on the concert or the LSO, visit or, send e-mail to, or call (734) 936-ARTS.

The LSO is part of the Gifts of Art program, which brings the world of art and music to the U-M Health System. The orchestra is made up of members of U-M’s medical, health and life science community, and gives members an outlet for their musical talents and a chance to interact with one another across academic disciplines and professions. Founded by students and staff from the U-M Health System, the orchestra made its concert debut in January 2001.