Detroit Symphony Orchestra keeps the music paying with innovative performance schedule

This September, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) returns to the Orchestra Hall stage for the first time since March with a fall 2020 season featuring Classical and PNC Pops series concerts tailormade to bring new, live music moments to life.

Set to begin Thursday, September 10, the DSO’s slate of upcoming performances will be live streamed from Orchestra Hall on Thursday and Friday nights through the month of December without audiences in attendance. Each night will offer approximately 45 minutes of music and is innovatively programmed with health and safety considerations of performers in mind and to maximize enjoyment on computers, mobile devices, and smart TVs. 

A trailblazer in the world of orchestral webcasting since 2011, the DSO will launch a new streaming series, DSO Digital Concerts, available exclusively on dso.org to view both live and on-demand for a limited time. Subscribers and select donors will receive access to all DSO Digital Concerts, with individual tickets available for purchase. DSO Replay—the orchestra’s archive of past webcasts—will remain free for all, but the orchestra will suspend free, live webcasts during the new fall season.

Newly appointed DSO Music DirectorJader Bignamini launches this fall’s DSO Digital Concerts with four programs over back-to-back weeks, September 10-11 and 17-18. He will return December 10-11 to conduct two more programs. 

“I am so happy to return to Detroit this fall to conduct the incredible musicians of my beloved Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and I look forward to reigniting that instant chemistry we all felt on the Orchestra Hall stage,” Jader said. “These past months have been very challenging in Italy, in Detroit, and around the world, but I am so proud of how the musicians, staff, and leadership of the DSO have come together to keep the music playing.”

Other highlights of this fall’s DSO Digital Concerts include appearances by DSO Music Director Laureate Leonard Slatkinconductors Matthias Pintscher and Donald Runniclesviolinist Jennifer Koh in the world premiere of a new concerto by Tyshawn Sorey; and pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Marc-André Hamelin performing chamber music with DSO musicians. In addition to chamber orchestral and chamber music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Dvořák, there will be performances of works by ten Black composers from the Classical era through present day, including world premieres by Sorey and violist-composer Nokuthula Ngwenyama.

The DSO will also present four weeks of PNC Pops series programming, with special guests including DSO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzikconductors Steven Reinekeand Thomas Wilkinssinger-pianist Tony DeSare, and much more. See below for more details or visit dso.org

“The power of music has served as an enduring beacon of hope and joy through one of the most uncertain eras of our lives,” said DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons. “Whether it’s helping us escape into the beauty of a performance for a short time or bringing us together in new and unexpected ways for collective appreciation and connection, music has once again proven to be essential. This is why we are so passionate about restoring the presentation of live music for our audiences, whether that’s socially-distanced and outdoors or virtually in your living room with DSO Digital Concerts.” 

Since performing its last concerts in March, the DSO has built upon on its aspirations to be the most accessible orchestra on the planet. The orchestra made its webcast archive DSO Replay free to all and began offering weekly Watch Parties on Facebook, giving audiences a chance to interact with musicians. While away from the stage, DSO musicians and staff have regularly created innovative online content, including collaborative music projects with the community and several music education initiatives, including those for its Civic Youth Ensembles program and in partnership with Interlochen Center for the Arts. DSO musicians launched their own DSO Summer Institute for young conservatory and pre-professional musicians, and earlier this month returned to live performances in outdoor, socially distant settings around Detroit.

Jeremy Epp, DSO Principal Timpani, said, “The DSO musicians are thrilled to return to the stage of Orchestra Hall for the first time since March and excited to welcome Jader Bignamini back to Detroit. While the programming and format may look different, the DSO continues to be adaptive and innovative in living up to our commitment to serve our community through music. Delivering concerts virtually is a natural extension of the live webcasts we’ve produced for several years and our archive of broadcasts has enabled us to make past performances accessible to all while we’ve been away from the stage. We’re grateful to have felt the unwavering support of our audience members, donors, and community over the past months and we can’t wait until we’re able to safely welcome everyone back to Orchestra Hall with us.”

Concerts in the 2020-21 Classical Series and PNC Pops series scheduled after January 1, 2021, will remain on the calendar as planned until otherwise announced. The Paradise Jazz Series, Young People’s Family Concert Series, Tiny Tots, and William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series will continue as planned, but have been scheduled to begin later in the season. A special Halloween family program will be streamed this October as a special bonus webcast for subscribers.

Eclectic, multi-genre performances and events taking place in the Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube will also be scheduled as virtual concerts this fall. Details are to be announced. The DSO’s Wu Family Academy for Learning and Engagement will continue to offer music education virtually this fall. This includes the extensive training programs of its Civic Youth Ensembles, celebrating a 50th anniversary in 2021.

In the future, a limited number of tickets may be available for in-person attendance for concerts at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in accordance with State of Michigan public health and safety guidelines. Whenever this is possible, subscribers and donors will receive priority access to reserve these tickets.

The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc. The title sponsor of the DSO’s PNC Pops Series is PNC Bank. 

Visit dso.org for more.

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