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Attracting leaders and the best (watch VIDEO)

Extended visits by acclaimed artists such as the RSC, Jessye Norman and Philip Glass underscores U-M’s commitment to the arts and supporting the creation of new works.

“The interactions among the RSC members, U-M faculty and students makes for an exciting exploration of the creative process,” said Gary Krenz, special counsel to U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. “The university, is in many ways an integral partner in the development of the work.”

Since 2001, Krenz along with Ralph Williams, acclaimed teacher of Shakespeare and professor emeritus, and UMS’ Kenneth Fischer have cultivated the relationship with RSC.  A decade ago, U-M was the first American university to partner with the company in an elaborate program of performance and education.

In the video below, Krenz, Williams and Fischer discuss the paramount value of the arts in higher education, and how the university is finding innovative ways to build connections among academic disciplines and with artists and arts groups in the vanguard of the international arts scene.


GARY KRENZ is Special Counsel to the President, providing counsel, direction and/or administrative support for presidential initiatives, response to emerging issues, and policy development.  He has served four presidents or interim presidents since 1996. Over that period, Gary has been involved with major presidential initiatives addressing the life sciences, the information revolution, ethics in public life, the health and wellbeing of the University of Michigan community, and the University’s engagements with China, Africa, and now Latin America. Among committees he serves on are the President’s Advisory Committee on Public Art, the University’s History and Traditions Committee, and the Bentley Historical Library Executive Committee.

LESTER MONTS is the University of Michigan’s senior vice provost for academic affairs; senior counselor to the president for the arts, diversity, and undergraduate affairs; and an Arthur F. Thurnau professor of music. As the senior vice provost, he works with the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on matters related to budget, tenure and promotion, enrollment, and a broad range of academic issues. He oversees operations of 13 academic units, ranging from undergraduate admissions and financial aid to military officer education.

KEN FISCHER is the President of the University Musical Society (UMS), a 133-year-old independent multi-disciplinary performing arts presenter with a long and deep affiliation with the University of Michigan (U-M).  Each season UMS presents 60-90 performances, sponsors an extensive education program, commissions and presents new work, and hosts many artists’ residencies.  Under Ken’s leadership UMS has expanded and diversified its programming and audiences; deepened its engagement with U-M and southeast Michigan communities; created effective partnerships with corporations, arts organizations, educational institutions, and community organizations; and received significant from leading foundations and the NEA.


JOSEPH LAM is Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan and Professor of Musicology, the School of Music, Theatreand Dance, the University of Michigan. A musicologist and sinologist, Lam specializes in Chinese musics and cultures of the Southern Song (1127-1275), the Ming (1368-1644), and modern times  (1900 to present). Lam regularly lectures in the US , Mainland China, and Asia. His most recent publications include: “Music and Masculinities in Ming China” (Asian Music, 2011), and Songdai yinyueshi lunwenji: lilun yu miaoshu/Historical Studies on Song Dynasty Music: Theories and narratives (Shanghai: Shanghai Conservatory of Music Press, 2012). Currently, he is working on a monograph entitled: Kunqu, the Classical Opera of Globalized China.

MICHAEL SCHOENFELDT is Professor of English Literature at the University of Michigan and Director of the Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies. He is the author of Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton (1999), Prayer and Power: George Herbert and Renaissance Courtship (1991), and co-editor of Imagining Death in Spenser and Milton (2003).

PRISCILLA LINDSAY is Chair of the Department of Theatre and Drama in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.  In addition to teaching acting Priscilla directs plays for University Productions. In 2010, she directed Fontaine Syer in The Year of Magical Thinking at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Priscilla completed eleven seasons as the IRT’s associate artistic director, with duties involving artistic planning as well as teaching in and directing the IRT’s Summer Conservatory for Youth. After receiving her training at the University of Michigan Ms. Lindsay first performed professionally at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. After a stint at the Missouri Repertory Theatre in Kansas City she found her artistic home at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, where she acted in over 60 productions. She directed extensively on the IRT’s Upper Stage and created ten editions of A Christmas Carol on the Main Stage.

RALPH WILLIAMS is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of English, Language and Literature. He has studied 15 languages including Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, and uses Italian, French, and Latin. He specializes in Medieval and Renaissance literature, Shakespeare, literary theory, comparative literature and Biblical studies. He has taught such wide-ranging courses as The Bible in English, plus the literature of Chaucer to Frederick Douglass, to the works of Primo Levi and the Memory of Auschwitz. While Associate Chair of the English Department, Ralph was instrumental in creating and developing the Royal Shakespeare Company Residency program at the University of Michigan. He continues to work closely with the University Musical Society to further the activities of the RSC Residency.

DOUGLAS TREVOR is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan. He is the author of “The Poetics of Melancholy in Early Modern England” (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and a short story collection, “The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space” (University of Iowa Press, 2005), as well as a number of articles on early modern authors and literary works. He is also the co-editor of “Historicism, Psychoanalysis, and Early Modern Culture” (Routledge Press, 2000). Last year he was a recipient of an LSA Excellence in Education Award.

KATE GORMAN is the Project Facilitator for the UM/RSC/UMS Creative Residency. She has worked as a theatre administrator at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Magic Theatre, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, PerformanceNetwork Theatre, and University Productions on campus. She is also a theatre director and has directed and assistant directed productions in the Bay Area, Ann Arbor, London, and Edinburgh.

HOME PAGE PHOTO: Michael Boyd, artistic director of Royal Shakespeare Company.

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