<September 2018>


DSO returns to Orchestra Hall stage for Opening Weekend of the 2017-18 Classical Season, October 12-14

Leonard Slatkin begins his 10th season as DSO Music Director, conducting Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony, Barber’s Piano Concerto with special guest soloist Olga Kern, and a DSO-commissioned world premiere by Conor Abbott Brown

October 14 concert will be webcast for free at dso.org/live 

Detroit, (October 4, 2017) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will kick off a season-long celebration of Music Director Leonard Slatkin’s 10th anniversary with the DSO and the 2017-18 Classical Series with concerts featuring special guest pianist Olga Kern.

On the program is the world premiere of a DSO-commissioned new work by composer Conor Abbot Brown entitled How to Relax with Origami, Samuel Barber’s celebrated and challenging Piano Concerto featuring Ms. Kern, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.”

The three Opening Weekend concerts take place Thursday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, October 13 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, October 14 at 8 p.m. at Orchestra Hall, within Midtown Detroit’s Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center.

The Saturday night concert will be webcast for free at dso.org/live and via Facebook Live, as part of the DSO’s groundbreaking Live from Orchestra Hall series. The series is presented by Ford Motor Company Fund and made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

One hour prior to each performance, patrons are invited to join Maestro Slatkin in Orchestra Hall for a pre-concert talk discussing the program. Guests will also be able to purchase Slatkin’s new book, Leading Tones, and get their copies signed by the author after each concert.

Maestro Slatkin will also attend a screening of the new documentary Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty, in which he is featured, at the Royal Starr Film Festival at Emagine Royal Oak on Saturday, October 14, at 1 p.m. After the screening he will do a Q&A session with the filmmaker and sign copies of Leading Tones. Film footage of Slatkin speaking about Barber’s Piano Concerto will also be included at the end of the Live from Orchestra Hall webcast of Saturday night’s concert.

The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc. Opening Weekend is sponsored by Honigman.


Music Director Leonard Slatkin (left), pianist Olga Kern (right). Click here to view hi-res versions of these images.

Leonard Slatkin’s 10th Anniversary with the DSO

The 2017-18 Season marks Leonard Slatkin’s tenth and final year as Music Director of the DSO before transitioning to the new role of Music Director Laureate. Maestro Slatkin’s commitment to new music, reaching audiences in new ways, and the American orchestral tradition has had a transformational effect on the DSO.

During Slatkin’s tenure, the DSO has released acclaimed recordings, embarked on an historic tour of Japan and China, played Carnegie Hall, expanded its educational offerings, and strengthened community engagement. United under the banner of being the most accessible orchestra in the world, Slatkin and the DSO have taken on new and groundbreaking initiatives, including the free webcast series Live from Orchestra Hall, the annual Winter Music Festival, the Soundcard student ticket program, and the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series, which brings orchestra concerts to Detroit’s surrounding communities.

Throughout 2017-18, the DSO performs some of Slatkin’s favorite works, from Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony in week one to Puccini’s magnificent opera Turandot in concert to conclude the season. The orchestra is also proud to present six world premiere DSO commissions by young composers, conducted by Slatkin. All six are former students of some of Slatkin’s closest musical colleagues and collaborators. “I wanted to continue to champion American composers, but in a different way,” says Slatkin. “Introducing these fresh, new voices to the orchestra and audience will give us a glimpse into what America’s concert music scene will look and sound like years from now.”

About Leonard Slatkin

In 2017-18, internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin celebrates his tenth and final season as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) before transitioning to the new role of Music Director Laureate, and his first season in the new role of Directeur Musical Honoraire with the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL). He also welcomes the publication of his second book, Leading Tones: Reflections on Music, Musicians, and the Music Industry, and serves as jury chairman of the Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors. His guest-con­ducting schedule includes engagements with the St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Polish National Radio Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Recent career highlights include a three-week tour of Asia with the DSO; tours of the U.S. and Europe with the ONL; a winter Mozart Festival in Detroit; and engagements with the St. Louis Symphony, WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, Verdi Orchestra in Milan, and San Carlo Theatre Orchestra in Naples. Moreover, he served as chairman of the jury and conductor of the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano 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 debut book, Conducting Business.

Slatkin has conducted virtually all the leading orchestras in the world. As Music Director, he has held posts in New Orleans; St. Louis; Washington, DC; London (with the BBCSO); and Lyon, France. He has also served as Principal Guest Conductor in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Cleveland. For more information, visit leonardslatkin.com.

About Olga Kern

Russian-American pianist Olga Kern jump­started her American career with an historic Gold Medal win at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001, becoming the first woman to do so in more than 30 years. Also first prize winner of the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition at age 17, Kern now serves as Jury Chairman and Artistic Director of the Olga Kern International Piano Competition, inaugurated in 2016.

Kern accompanied the DSO and Music Director Leonard Slatkin on the 2014 Florida Tour, performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in West Palm Beach, Miami, Vero Beach, and Sarasota.

In addition to appearing with the DSO, Kern will spend 2017 performing with the Pacific Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, and Copenhagen Philharmonic, as well as recitals at the Virginia Arts Festival and in Milan, Glasgow, New Haven, San Francisco, and Scottsdale. Kern has performed with many of the world’s top symphonies and appeared in recital at venues including Carnegie Hall, Salzburger Festspielhaus, Milan’s La Scala, Osaka’s Symphony Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y, and others. She has also toured South Africa (with the Cape Philharmonic and KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic) and Israel (with the Israel Symphony).

Kern’s discography includes her 2004 Grammy-nominated recording of Rachmaninoff’s Corelli Variations and other transcriptions, 2007’s Brahms Variations, and 2010’s Chopin Piano Sonatas No. 2 and 3. She was featured in the award-winning documentary about the 2001 Cliburn Competition, Playing on the Edge.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony begin at $15 and can be purchased at dso.org, by calling (313) 576-5111, or in-person at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center Box Office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit).

Groups of 10 or more can save up to 30% on the price of a single ticket for most DSO concerts. For more information, contact Group Sales Manager Jim Sabatella at (313) 576-5130 or jsabatella@dso.org.

Performance Details

Thursday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 13 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, October 14 at 8 p.m.

Orchestra Hall at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center

Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Olga Kern, piano


  How to Relax with Origami (World Premiere)                      


  Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 38

  Olga Kern, piano


  Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat major, Op. 55, “Eroica”              

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. In July 2017, the DSO embarked on its first international tour in 16 years, making its debut in China and first visit to 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