Northern Michigan Arts & Culture

Northern Michigan is a place with incredible natural beauty and varied landscapes. It is also home to the Interlochen Center for the Arts and several other longstanding cultural institutions. Little wonder the region has been so attractive to artists and musicians of all types. Here we bring you those stories. 


9:51 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Extreme Happiness coming to New York

Playwright Francis Ya-Chu Cowhig taught an intermester course at Interlochen this January. Her play "The World of Extreme Happiness" opens in New York in February.
Credit Chris Hintz

The Chinese economy and its rapid expansion is a wonder of the modern world. But its ugly side drives the story in Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s new play.

"The World of Extreme Happiness" opens in New York next month. It’s a dark comedy about the hopes of rural migrants in China whose dreams look rather American.

The hero of the drama, 19-year old Sunny, works as a janitor and wants a promotion. She meets an older worker who explains the power of positive thinking.

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Michigan Arts & Culture
8:03 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Did Beethoven’s heart trouble influence his music?

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 9:41 am

A team of researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Washington believes that Beethoven’s music came from his heart – literally. The team is proposing an intriguing theory: that Beethoven’s masterful compositions were influenced by his cardiac arrhythmia.

Dr. Joel Howell is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, a medical historian and a member of the team that has developed this theory.

The team also includes Zachary Goldberger, a cardiologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and Robert Johnson, a musicologist specializing in Beethoven from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

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ICA Alum News
2:40 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

IAA Alumnus named principal bassoon of Chicago Symphony

Interlochen Arts Academy Alum Keith Buncke, named Principal Bassoon of the Chicago Symphony

Interlochen Arts Academy Alumnus Keith Buncke has just been named Principal Bassoon of the famed Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

When Buncke graduated from Interlochen, he probably assumed he’d take a few years to finish college and begin a career. That was not to be: not long into his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, Buncke, then 20 years old, was selected as First Bassoonist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Now, at 21, Buncke embarks on his new adventure under the baton of Riccardo Muti in Chicago.

Toi toi toi, Keith!

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Public art
10:46 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Officials hope new plan will change Traverse City's rocky relationship with public art

An artist's rendering shows what the Time Myth sculpture would've looked like at the Open Space.
Credit Gene Jenneman, Dennos Museum

Last night, the Traverse City Commission introduced a new policy on how the city seeks out pieces of public art.

Public art has been a touchy subject in Traverse City for years. In 2008, public outcry derailed plans to put a modern art sculpture called Time Myth on the shore of Grand Traverse Bay. Time Myth is a 30-foot-tall, angular, white sculpture that’s been displayed in a courtyard at the K-Mart headquarters in Troy.

The public conversation about Time Myth quickly deteriorated and the idea was scrapped.

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