November 1, 2023
Author: Kari Landry, Akropolis Reed Quintet Clarinetist
On November 12th in Rackham Auditorium in Ann Arbor, MI, the ensemble I helped build as an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theater and Dance is giving a very special performance. A performance, when I was a Masters Student studying Clarinet Performance and moonlighting as a digital marketing intern for UMS, I could have only dreamt about. The Akropolis Reed Quintet is performing on UMS’s luminary Chamber Arts Series alongside Grammy-nominated pianist Pascal Le Boeuf and drummer Christian Euman. Get Tickets Here.
My 3 years at UMS were some of the most transformative and artistically inspiring years of my young education. Not only was I exposed to the gold standard of artistic excellence, global programming, and the behind the scenes administrative talent it takes to put on these meaningful events, but I was given a taste of what my life as a touring artist could be like. UMS not only helped me build my marketing chops and hone my eye for creativity, but it was an artistic playground where I found new inspiration at every turn.
Some of the most memorable performances I was able to attend and help promote included the premiere of Phillip Glass’s Opera Einstein on the Beach, The National Theater of Scotland’s A Christmas Carol, Ballet Preljocaj’s Snow White, Kidd Pivot’s The Tempest Replica, Sabine Meyer’s Trio di Clarone, Théâtre de la Ville perform Ionesco’s Rhinocéros, Alison Balsom, and so many more.
Under the leadership of the legendary Ken Fischer, and my personal mentors in the Marking Department (Sara Billman, Anna Prushinskaya, Sophia Kruz, and Truly Render), I was able to be a part of creative projects that gave me direct access to some of the most coveted artists of our time. This included a number of interviews and blog posts I created while at UMS, including:
- Interview with Gabriel Kahane: https://ums.org/2013/01/07/our-interview-with-gabriel-kahane/
- Q&A with Silk Road Ensemble: https://ums.org/2012/04/13/qa-with-percussionist-joseph-gramley/
- YouTube video with the Emerson String Quartet: https://youtu.be/QVtrvhoYNlg?si=ewfrsPk1Na1pLNDr
- This Day in UMS History: Sergei Rachmaninoff: https://ums.org/2013/11/11/this-day-in-ums-sergei-rachmaninoff/
UMS also gave me a platform to showcase my own musical and adminsitrative accomplishments as a student, allowing me to write about my trip to perform on the Kennedy Center’s annual conservatory project in 2012. UMS also helped me land a competitive internship at the Kennedy Center later that summer.
The most inspiring project I was able to be a part of was the research and filming of the Hill 100 Documentary “A Space for Music, A Seat for Everyone,” which celebrated the 100 years of Hill Auditorium and the artists who performed in that space. This documentary won a Michigan EMMY® Award for “Best Historical Documentary”. I spent hours poring over historic programs and archives to help unearth several of the stills used in this documentary. Sophia Kruz also let me tag along on her filming, giving me a first hand exposure to so many luminary artists and historians featured in the film.
For this to come full circle a decade later is a surreal experience. I’ll forever associate UMS with so many legends who walked the halls and graced Ann Arbor’s stages, and my time behind the scenes as an intern soaking it all in. I owe Akropolis’ artistic vision and perseverance over the last 15 years to what UMS taught me about the wide world of performance and artistic excellence. I grew into the clarinetist I am today because of UMS, and it’s a privilege to be invited back to perform on the other side of the curtain.
About the Author:
Kari Landry is one of the founders and clarinetists of the Akropolis Reed Quintet. When she is not performing and touring with Akropolis, she helps run the nonprofit organization behind the ensemble with Akropolis saxophonist and husband, Matt. For the past 8 years, she also teaches Music Entrepreneurship in the EXCEL department at the University of Michigan School of Music Theater and Dance, and most recently, she’s a new mama to her 6 month old baby boy, Theo.