Back to all news stories


Love and death and music: U-M Life Sciences Orchestra to play free concert on May 2

By Kara Gavin

Photo of Tunde Wey during his pop-up dinner series “Blackness in America.” Photos by Moyo Oyelola; Courtesy Tunde Wey.

Passion. Tragedy. Romance. Vengeance. Mourning. Peace.

These themes and more will come to life in musical form on the evening of Wednesday, May 2, when the University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra takes the stage of U-M’s Hill Auditorium for a free concert.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the LSO and special guest soloists will perform four works on the dual theme of love and death, from across the classical spectrum. The orchestra, led by Chelsea Gallo, brings together medical, health and science faculty, staff, students and alumni from across the university.

The concert is free and open to the public, as is a pre-concert lecture at 6:45 p.m. by Gallo in the lower level of the building.

No tickets are required, though the LSO accepts donations to support its concerts. A new easy way to show support for the LSO is by texting the word ARTS to the number 50555, which will trigger a process to give $10 to the orchestra.

The concert will begin with the overture and opening scene of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni”, with opera students from the U-M School of Music, Theatre and Dance as featured soloists.

The tone poem “Isle of the Dead,” composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff and inspired by a painting of a lone mourner being rowed to an island cemetery, will follow, led by assistant conductor Tal Benatar.

The second half of the concert will open with the lush melodies of the first two movements of Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, performed by Joshua Jung, a member of the LSO and co-winner of the orchestra’s 2018 Concerto Competition.

A musical evocation of the tragic love of Romeo and Juliet will close the performance, with selections from the ballet score by Sergei Prokofiev.

Gallo and Benatar are both students in the UMSMTD’s nationally known orchestral conducting program. Gallo holds the Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D. Music Director position with the LSO, made possible by a gift from its namesake, the first U-M executive vice president for medical affairs and a longtime supporter of the LSO.

The orchestra is part of the Gifts of Art program, which brings the world of art and music to Michigan Medicine, the U-M academic medical center. The LSO gives members an outlet for their musical talents and a chance to interact with one another across academic disciplines and professions. The orchestra made its concert debut in January 2001 and plays two free concerts each year.