Music Director Earl Lee spearheads a landmark celebration of one of classical music’s most influential and celebrated composers. Two concerts in two months showcase two of the most pivotal works ever composed for orchestra, with the brutality and extroversion of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 pairing with the transcendental expansionism of Symphony No. 9, the Ode to Joy.

Saturday, April 6, 2024 | 8 PM | The Michigan Theater
Pre-concert talk at 7 PM

Earl Lee, conductor

Ludwig van Beethoven Coriolan Overture
Beethoven Symphony No. 2
Beethoven Symphony No. 5

Saturday, May 18, 2024 | 8 PM | Hill Auditorium
Pre-concert talk at 7 PM

Julie Adams, soprano
Jazimina MacNeil, alto
César Andres Parreño, tenor
Joseph Parrish, bass
UMS Choral Union
Earl Lee, conductor

John Adams The Wound-Dresser
Ludwig van Beethoven  Symphony No. 9

Julie Adams, soprano 


A winner of the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2015 George London Award, 2015 Elizabeth Connell prize for aspiring dramatic sopranos, and recipient of a 2015 Sara Tucker Study Grant, soprano Julie Adams has been praised by The New York Times for possessing a voice that is “rich, full and slightly earthy in an expressive way.” The 2020-2021 season saw Adams joining Staatstheater Braunschweig, where she was featured in the title roles of Rusalka and Madama Butterfly. In the current season, Adams returns to Braunschweig for further performances of Rusalka, joins the Ann Arbor Symphony for Schumann’s Adventlied, and makes her company and role debut as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser in Wuppertal, Germany. In the 2019-2020 season, Adams returned to Arizona Opera as Mimì in La bohème after her 2018-2019 house debut with Arizona Opera as Anna Sorensen in Silent Night by Kevin Puts. Also in 2018-2019, Adams made her house debut with Des Moines Metro Opera as Mimì in La bohème, and was featured in recital under the auspices of the George London Foundation. Orchestral engagements included Beethoven’s Symphony Number 9 with the Phoenix Symphony conducted by Tito Muñoz, and a concert version of West Side Story with the Oakland Symphony.

The 2017-2018 season saw Ms. Adams return to San Francisco Opera as a guest artist in Francesca Zambello’s production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, singing Freia in Das Rheingold and Gerhilde in Die Walküre. Additional engagements included her house and role debut as Countess in Le nozze di Figaro at Michigan Opera Theatre, conducted by Stephen Lord, and her house debut at Opera Idaho as Blanche in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.

Highlights at San Francisco Opera include Mimì conducted by Carlo Montanaro, First Lady in the Jun Kanako production of Die Zauberflöte, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Kristina in Makropulos Case, Cesira in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s La Ciociara, and covering both Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the title role in Jenůfa.

Additional operatic highlights include appearances as Mimì in La Bohème and Anna Sørensen in Silent Night with Opera San Jose, her role debut as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire as part of the 2014 Merola Opera Program, Lia in Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and Magnolia Hawks in Show Boat and Rose in Street Scene with the Oakland East Bay Symphony. Additional roles include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Blanche in Les Dialogues des Carmélites, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. On the recital stage Ms. Adams was featured as part of the Schwabacher Debut Recital series with John Churchwell, which the San Francisco Chronicle praised for her “combination of plush tone and seeming effortless vocal power.”

Orchestral performances include Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Contra Costa Wind Symphony, and a chamber concert with San Francisco Opera musicians as part of SF Opera

Lab’s Chamberworks Concerts, with repertoire including Morgen! by Strauss, Previn’s Vocalise, Eternamente by Ponchielli, and Chausson’s Chanson Perpetuelle. Haydn’s Mass in C Major with Oakland East Bay Symphony, Brahms’ Requiem, and Vivaldi’s Gloria with Ventura College Orchestra, and a set of five Joseph Marx Lieder with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra.

A native of Burbank, California, Ms. Adams holds both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she was awarded the Phyllis C Wattis Memorial Scholarship.

Jazimina MacNeil, alto 

Hailed as “brilliant” by the Berliner Morgenpost and “clearly a singer to watch” by The New York Times, Jazimina MacNeil is a mezzo-soprano, creative producer, writer, actor, and wild blueberry picker rooted in the beautiful and artistically fertile Monadnock region of New Hampshire.

Jazimina has conceived, directed, and performed in a number of interdisciplinary works which explore the intersection of music, storytelling, and the natural world: Danika the Rose, an interweaving of Dvorak’s sublime Moravian Duets with an original eco-fairytale written by Jazimina in collaboration with master storyteller Odds Bodkin, and an orchestral version of this project, Love Like Water, produced in collaboration with conductor Eric Jacobsen and composer Lembit Beecher. In collaboration with the Harris Center for Conservation Education and Electric Earth Concerts, Jazimina created two site-specific musical hikes: The Singing Stream, which sets Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin alongside a real-life mill stream, and In Fine Feather, which invites walkers into a world of music and poetry inspired by birdsong, accompanied by the sights and sounds of the birds themselves. She has also collaborated with the DreamYard Project and Brooklyn Art Song Society to create Frozen Tears, a concert of artwork and spoken word inspired by the alienation in Schubert’s Winterreise as it resonates with young artivists from the South Bronx. Projects currently in development are an immersive theatrical retelling of Guantanamo survivor Mansoor Adayfi’s heartrending, humorous, and hope-filled stories, as well as a site-specific performance using live music and storytelling to make audible Dr. Suzanne Simard’s groundbreaking research on how forests function as complex, caring communities.

Jazimina is a company member of the award-winning Firelight Theatre Workshop, with whom she regularly performs and devises immersive, experimental, and community-based works.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and Manhattan School of Music, Jazimina spent glorious summers singing and studying at Marlboro Music, the Tanglewood Music Center, Ravinia, the Aspen Music Festival, SongFest and the Schubert Institute. Highlights from her recent performances include Mason Bates’ Passage for mezzo-soprano, electronics, and orchestra conducted by Eric Jacobsen and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, the role of the Subdominant Chord in Steven Stucky’s opera The Classical Style with the Aspen Music Festival, the role of Ruby in a workshop of Jennifer Higdon’s opera Cold Mountain with Opera Philadelphia, the alto solo in Mahler’s Second Symphony at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony, concerts of John Harbison’s music with the Pro Arte Quartet, chamber music collaborations with the Aureole Trio, a Mozart Requiem with the Albany Symphony, and a solo recital at the Curt Sachs Saal in the Berlin Philharmonic. Jazimina is endlessly grateful to have landed in such a fertile artistic ecosystem, and is honored to sing frequently with her dear friends at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, Around Hear, Ashuelot Concerts, the Caroga Arts Collective, Electric Earth Concerts, and Music on Norway Pond, among many others.

César Andrés Parreño, tenor 

A native of Manabí, Ecuador, tenor Cesar Andres Parreño started his voice studies with Beatriz Parra at Colegio de Artes Maria Callas. In 2016, Parreño performed as a soloist with the University of Cuenca’s Orchestra and with Guayaquil’s Symphonic Orchestra.

In the summer of 2019, Parreño performed his debut role as “Lysander” in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in Chautauqua, New York. In early 2020, Parreño made his Peter Jay Sharp Theater debut in NYFOS@Juilliard’s Cubans in Paris and has performed in two other NYFOS concerts since.

In 2021, Parreño covered the role of “Nemorino” in Juilliard’s production of L’elisir d’amore and made his soloist debut with the Juilliard Orchestra on Stravinsky’s Pulcinella conducted by Barbara Hannigan.

This season, Parreño performed his first Peter Jay Sharp Theater opera debut as “Momo” in Luigi Rossi’s L’Orfeo and in early 2022, Parreño starred as Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, both productions with Juilliard Opera. In March 2022, Parreño performed in Caramoor’s Schwab Vocal Rising Stars residency with Steven Blier and Bénédicte Jourdois, as well as making his Merkin Hall debut with the same program.

During the Summer, Parreño will sing “Le Remendado” in Bizet’s Carmen as his debut role in Opera Theater of Saint Louis. While at OTSL, Parreño stepped into the role of Dan White in the world premiere of Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk: Reimagined for 5 out of 6 performances. He will then attend Aspen Music Festival and School and sing “Dr. Cajus” in their production of Verdi’s Falstaff.

Cesar Andres Parreño is a proud Kovner Fellow in Darrell Babidge’s studio at The Juilliard School, where he is the first Ecuadorian to ever attend the institution.

Joseph Parrish, bass 

Bass-Baritone Joseph Parrish, a native of Baltimore, Maryland is a master’s student in Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School, where he studies with Darrell Babidge. Mr. Parrish has sung with the Asheville Lyric Opera and developed the role of Ensemble #4 in the premier of Davenport Richards’/Cote’s Blind Injustice with the Cincinnati Opera: dramaturgy by Robin Guarino and conducted by John Morris Russell. Recent highlights include vocal recitals, the role of Il Sacerdote di Minerva in Juilliard’s production of Teseo directed by Stephen Wadsworth, a debut as Dulcamara in Lakes Area Music Festival’s production of L’elisir d’amore, and singing the role of Spinelloccio in a production of Gianni Schicchi at Festival Napa Valley under the baton of Kent Nagano.

UMS Choral Union 

Formed in 1879 by a group of local university and townspeople who gathered together for the study of Handel’s Messiah, the UMS Choral Union has performed with many of the world’s distinguished orchestras and conductors over the course of its long history. First led by Latin professor and organist Henry Simmons Frieze and then conducted by the University of Michigan’s first music instructor, Calvin Cady, the group has continued to perform Handel’s Messiah in Ann Arbor annually. In May 2015, UMS announced the appointment of Scott Hanoian as the Choral Union’s music director and conductor following Jerry Blackstone’s 12-year tenure.

The 175-voice Choral Union is known for its definitive performances of large-scale works for chorus and orchestra. In 2004, UMSCU participated in a rare performance and recording of William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience in Hill Auditorium under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. The Naxos Records three-disc set of this recording won four Grammy Awards in 2006, including “Best Choral Performance” and “Best Classical Album.” The recording was also selected as one of the New York Times “Best Classical Music CDs of 2004.”

Other recent highlights include a recording project with the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s choral and orchestral ensembles of the rarely-heard Oresteian Trilogy by Darius Milhaud conducted by Kenneth Kiesler. In May 2013, chorus members joined the Detroit Symphony and Leonard Slatkin in a performance of Ives’s Symphony No. 4 as part of Carnegie Hall’s Spring for Music festival in New York.