Leonard Slatkin returns as Music Director Laureate to open and close the season as well as lead a three-week festival of American music

DSO’s American Festival to feature music by Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Samuel Barber, Joan Tower, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Luther Adams, and more

Classical Opening Weekend performances with violinist Gil Shaham are October 5-7, with the PNC Pops Opening Weekend — “A Symphonic Tribute to Motown” — led by Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik from October 12-14

Every classical program webcast for free on Live from Orchestra Hall series in its eighth year

Detroit – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) has announced the 2018-2019 Season of its Classical and PNC Pops Series. Leonard Slatkin, currently in his 10th and final year as DSO music director, returns as Music Director Laureate to open the Classical Season on Friday, October 5, 2018, with a weekend of performances in Orchestra Hall featuring acclaimed violinist Gil Shaham. Maestro Slatkin will return twice more during the season, leading the DSO’s three-week American Festival in February and closing the season in June with pianist Makoto Ozone, the featured soloist on the DSO’s tour of Japan last summer.

“Many storylines and common threads come together over the course of the DSO’s 2018-2019 season,” said Erik Rönmark, DSO Vice President and General Manager. “The orchestra and Leonard Slatkin both have deserved reputations going back many decades for outstanding performances of American music and music by living composers. The new season brings both to the foreground, centered around our American Festival but also branching out over the entire year to feature twenty-six American works and music by twelve living composers including five women. In our Classical Series, we are thrilled to introduce our audiences to several artists making their DSO debuts as well as welcome back returning favorites. We are also pleased to welcome back Jeff Tyzik as our Principal Pops Conductor, who leads three new programs in our PNC Pops Series including ones devoted to the music of Motown and the Beatles.”

The DSO’s American Festival, the orchestra’s sixth annual winter music festival, will take place from February 8-24, 2019, and feature six programs in two performances each, conducted by Slatkin. Highlights include two programs with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet (in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 “The Age of Anxiety” and Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F), Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: Concert Version for two singers and chorus, an all-John Williams program including selections of his film music, a world premiere by composer Kristin Kuster, and a festival closing program titled Maximum Minimal with music by Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and John Luther Adams (the Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean).

The American Festival will highlight DSO musicians as soloists, including Principal Cello Wei Yu (Bernstein’s Three Meditations from “MASS”), Principal Oboe Alexander Kinmonth (John Williams’s Oboe Concerto), Associate Concertmaster Kimberly Kaloyanides Kennedy (Barber’s Violin Concerto), percussionists Joseph Becker (Principal) and Andrés Pichardo-Rosenthal (Assistant Principal) (Steve Reich’s Clapping Music), and timpanists Jeremy Epp (Principal) and James Ritchie (Assistant Principal) (Philip Glass’s Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra).

DSO musicians will also be featured soloists in other programs during the new season: Concertmaster Yoonshin Song (Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5), Principal Trumpet Hunter Eberly (Tomasi’s Concerto for Trumpet), and horn players Karl Pituch (Principal Horn) and Johanna Yarbrough (Haydn’s Concerto for Two Horns in E-flat Major).

The Classical Season includes 23 concert programs in 20 weeks conducted by Slatkin and acclaimed guest conductors, including Kent Nagano (making his DSO debut), Ludovic Morlot, Mark Wigglesworth, Nikolaj Znaider, Simone Young (making her DSO debut), Fabien Gabel, Cristian Măcelaru, Karina Canellakis, John Storgårds, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and others in a wide variety of symphonic repertoire both old and new.

Highlights include the fifth symphonies of Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev, and Sibelius; Stravinsky’s Firebird; Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3; Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8; Elgar’s Enigma Variations; and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, as well as new music by Daníel Bjarnason, Anna Clyne, Andrew Norman (Play), and Juliet Palmer, the ninth and most winner of the Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers. Clyne’s Mandolin Concerto, “Three Sisters,” will feature mandolinist Avi Avital on an otherwise all-Vivaldi program conducted by Nicholas McGegan and capped with a performance of the composer’s choral masterpiece Gloria with countertenor David Daniels and soprano Sherezade Panthaki.

Other guest soloists during the 2018-2019 season will be pianist Emanuel Ax (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1), violinist Christian Tetzlaff (Brahms’s Violin Concerto), cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras (work to be announced), pianist Hélène Grimaud (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4), and pianist Kirill Gerstein (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2); among many others.

Additionally, the DSO announced its wide-ranging 2018-2019 PNC Pops Season, which will bring favorites from Broadway, film and TV, rock, jazz, and more to the Orchestra Hall stage. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik will lead three PNC Pops Series programs: Dancing in the Street: A Symphonic Tribute to Motown in the season opener; Heroes & Villains, featuring music from Superman and Batman to King Kong and Jaws; and Revolution: The Beatles Symphonic Experience, with restorative arrangements by Tyzik of the original recordings for singers and orchestra.

Also in the new PNC Pops Season: Cirque de la Symphonie returns to the DSO with aerial acrobats choreographed to live music; Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II, featuring Looney Tunes classics; Home For The Holidays, Detroit’s favorite family holiday tradition; a tribute to Vegas & The Rat Pack; The Wonderful Music of Oz, featuring music from the classic movie musical and other songs influenced by it, from Wicked to Elton John; and Brass Transit: The Music of Chicago, featuring all the band’s hits; and much more.


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