Ken Fischer

Ken Fischer is President Emeritus of the University Musical Society (UMS) of the University of Michigan (U‑M), a position he held from 1987 to 2017. UMS, founded in 1879, is an independent multi-disciplinary performing arts presenter with a long and deep affiliation with U‑M. In 2015, Ken accepted the National Medal of Arts on behalf of UMS from President Obama at the White House. UMS is the first and only university presenter to receive the National Medal of Arts, which is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the U.S. government. Ken received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from U‑M in 2019.

For his career achievements Ken received major awards from each of the three professional organizations in the presenting field. Ken also received the Mariam Noland Award for Nonprofit Leadership from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and a Distinguished Alumnus Award from The College of Wooster (OH). Ken brings a broad and diverse background to his work. He has a B.A. degree in religion from The College of Wooster and is a Ph.D. candidate in the study of higher education at the University of Michigan. He has advanced training in group dynamics from the NTL Institute of Applied Behavioral Sciences. He also has extensive training and experience as a musician and actor and attended the Interlochen Arts Camp in his youth. He has written, produced, and directed seventeen plays for use by his conference clients.

Since retiring from UMS, Ken teaches Arts Leadership at U‑M and completed a memoir on his arts career titled Everybody In, Nobody Out: Inspiring Community at Michigan’s University Musical Society, released August 2020 by University of Michigan Press. He serves as president of The King’s Singers Global Foundation; chairs the advisory board of the Concert of Colors, Detroit’s annual music festival celebrating the community’s rich cultural heritage; volunteers with local social service organizations; and mentors students, artists, and emerging arts leaders