OUR MISSION: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a leader in the world of classical music, embraces and inspires individuals, families and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.
Leonard Slatkin, Music Director
Music Directorship endowed by the Kresge Foundation
Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin is Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL). He also maintains a rigorous schedule of guest conducting and is active as a composer, author, and educator.
Highlights of the 2015-16 season included a three-week Brahms festival in Detroit; engagements with the St. Louis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and NHK Symphony in Tokyo; and debuts with Beijing's China Philharmonic Orchestra and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Summer events included a tour of Japan with the ONL and performances of Barber’s Vanessa in Santa Fe.
During the 2016-17 season—in addition to his regular duties in Detroit and Lyon—he will return to Pittsburgh and St. Louis; tour the U.S. and Europe with the ONL; conduct overseas with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Verdi Orchestra in Milan, and San Carlo Theatre Orchestra in Naples; and serve as chairman of the jury and conductor of the 2017 Cliburn Competition.
Slatkin’s more than 100 recordings have garnered seven Grammy awards and 64 nominations. His recent Naxos recordings include works by Saint-Saëns, Ravel, and Berlioz (with the ONL) and music by Copland, Rachmaninov, Borzova, McTee, and John Williams (with the DSO). In addition, he has recorded the complete Brahms, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky symphonies with the DSO (available online as digital downloads).
A recipient of the prestigious National Medal of Arts, Slatkin also holds the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor. He has received Austria’s Decoration of Honor in Silver, the League of American Orchestras’ Gold Baton Award, and the 2013 ASCAP Deems Taylor Special Recognition Award for his book, Conducting Business.
Slatkin has conducted virtually all of the leading orchestras in the world. As Music Director, he has held posts with the New Orleans, St. Louis, and National symphony orchestras, and he was Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has served as Principal Guest Conductor of London’s Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the Minnesota Orchestra. For more information, visit leonardslatkin.com.
Jeff Tyzik, Principal Pops Conductor
A tremendously versatile artist, Tyzik is many things to many people. Onstage, audiences love him for his engaging podium style and stellar trumpet playing. Behind the scenes, musicians love him for his brilliant arranging, intelligent programming and straight-shooting professionalism. An anomaly among conductors, Tyzik creates every one of his signature programs from scratch—including his programs with guest artists—and he always includes opportunities to feature members of the orchestra.
Learn more at jefftyzik.com.
Fred A. & Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair
Grammy Award-winning musician and composer Terence Blanchard will serve as the Detroit Symphony Orchestsra's Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director for both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
Learn more at terenceblanchard.com.
Neeme Järvi, Music Director Emeritus
Neeme Järvi, the DSO's celebrated Music Director for 15 years, is the Music Director Emeritus of the orchestra. Following his appointment in 1990, Maestro Järvi led the DSO to new artistic and institutional heights, attracting audiences in record numbers, leading acclaimed concerts, national and international tours, radio broadcasts and award-winning recordings. Under his leadership, the DSO became a symbol for the rebirth of Detroit. Järvi is the second-longest serving music director in the organization's history (famed Russian conductor Ossip Gabrilowitsch led the DSO from 1918 to 1936).
Learn more at neemejarvi.ee.
Michelle Merrill, Assistant Conductor
Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador
Michelle Merrill is currently in her second season as Assistant Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra where she helps plan and conduct over 30 concerts per season and makes her classical subscription debut in April 2016. Recent and upcoming engagements include the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Symphoria (Syracuse), Orlando Philharmonic, Sacramento Philharmonic, Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, where she formerly served as Assistant Conductor before coming to Detroit. In 2013, Merrill was awarded the prestigious Ansbacher Conducting Fellowship by members of the Vienna Philharmonic and the American Austrian Foundation, which enabled her to be in residence at the world-renowned Salzburg Festival. Born in Dallas, TX, Merrill studied conducting with Dr. Paul C. Phillips at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she holds a Master of Music Degree in conducting and a Bachelor of Music in performance.
Learn more at michelle-merrill.com.