<August 2017>


DSO’s Educational Concert Series returns with “Music in Motion,” conducted by Michelle Merrill

Fifth grade group of immigrant and refugee students given complimentary tickets by DSO’s Next Gen committee for young professionals

In total, tens of thousands of students will experience concerts in Orchestra Hall and by tuning in to free classroom webcasts

Detroit, (April 18, 2017) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will present a program titled Music in Motion for its Spring 2017 Educational Concert Series. The concerts, conducted by Associate Conductor Michelle Merrill and hosted by D.J. Oliver, will feature high-energy pieces that uncover the ways that music and movement go hand in hand, including “The Flight of the Bumblebee,” Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5, and more. The program will also feature dancers, yoga instructors, and students from Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out, a fitness and nutrition initiative for elementary school children.

The performances will take place on Wednesday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. and Thursday, April 27 at 10:30 a.m. at Orchestra Hall, within Midtown Detroit’s Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. Over three performances, approximately 6,000 students, teachers, and chaperones are expected to attend the concerts in Orchestra Hall.

Additionally, the Thursday morning concert will be webcast for free via the DSO’s Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition series. Tens of thousands of students are expected to tune into the webcasts from schools and classrooms from around the region, the country, and the world.

The DSO will welcome a classroom of fifth graders from William Ford Elementary School in Dearborn to the 11:45 Orchestra Hall performance on Wednesday. The students, all immigrants from Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, or Syria, were provided complimentary tickets and lunch by the DSO’s Next Gen committee for young professionals. After raising money using crowdrise.com to cover the cost of attendance, the Next Gen committee solicited nominations for classrooms to attend this ECS concert for free.

For more than 80 years, the DSO’s Educational Concert Series has introduced children to classical music. Each concert within the series is thematically designed with accompanying teacher resource tools available for those who purchase tickets for performances or register to watch webcasts.

The DSO thanks Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman and the Mandell and Madeleine Berman Foundation for their support of the Classrom Edition webcast series. The Bermans will be honored at the 2017 Heroes Gala, the DSO’s annual celebration of the remarkable men and women who impact the vision, values, and success of the organization. Proceeds from the event support the DSO’s commitment to transforming the lives of children and youth across our region through music education, including the Classroom Edition webcasts.

The Penny and Harold Blumenstein Future Audiences Fund, established during the 2015-2016 season with a gift from its namesake DSO supporters, makes it possible for ECS tickets to be reduced to $1 for students, teachers, or chaperones at any school within Detroit city limits.

In February, the Dresner Foundation announced a generous grant to provide comprehensive music education for underserved youth in Detroit. In part, the $600,000 grant supports the expansion of the Educational Concert Series and the Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition webcasts.

The Educational Concert Series is presented by Target, with additional support from DENSO International America, Fifth Third Bank, Huron Business Advisory, Lear Corporation, PNC, and Young Woman’s Home Association.

About Michelle Merrill

A passionate and dynamic artist, Michelle Merrill was recently named as one of Hour Detroit magazine’s 3 Cultural Organization Leaders to Watch, and made her classical subscription debut with the DSO in April 2016. She is also a recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.

Recent and upcoming engagements include the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Symphoria (Syracuse), Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, Boise Philharmonic, Orlando Philharmonic, New Music Detroit, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, where she formerly served as Assistant Conductor before coming to Detroit. In addition to planning and conducting concerts, Merrill gives pre-concert lectures, leads adult music education seminars, engages with students in and around Metro Detroit, speaks on behalf of the DSO throughout the community, and participates in hosting Live from Orchestra Hall webcasts.

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. In March of 2014, she stepped in on short notice with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, which music critic Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News described as “stunning” and later placed on his list of Top Ten Classical Performances of 2014.

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. Apart from music, she loves cooking, running, hiking, and spending time outdoors with her husband, Steve Merrill, Principal Percussionist of the Jacksonville Symphony.

Ticket and Webcast Information

Tickets for the Educational Concert Series are $6 for students, teachers, and chaperones and can be requested at dso.org/ecs. For school groups with more than 10 guests, please call the ECS line at (313) 576-5591 or email ecs@dso.org.

For more information on Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition or to register a classroom, visit dso.org/classroom.

About the DSO

Hailed by The New York Times as “cutting edge,” the internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and an ardent commitment to Detroit. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the institution. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the DSO’s 12th Music Director, endowed by the Kresge Foundation, in 2008. Acclaimed conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik serves as Principal Pops Conductor, while celebrated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the Detroit community, the DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, and Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with high profile artists from Steven Spielberg to Ben Folds and Lang Lang. The DSO recently announced its 2017 Asia Tour, the orchestra’s first-ever tour of China and their first of Japan in 19 years. A commitment to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast, and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.


For Press Inquiries, please contact:

Ben Breuninger
Public Relations Coordinator
bbreuninger@dso.org | 313.576.5196