<November 2018>


DSO's French Festival will include six Orchestra Hall programs, plus film screenings, romantic Valentine's Day cabaret, wine tasting, and much more

Fifth annual winter music festival will celebrate the music and culture of France, including six Orchestra Hall concerts conducted by Music Director Leonard Slatkin

 “Le Max” (Midtown Detroit’s Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center) will buzz with additional special events, unique food and drink options, and Gallic spirit

French Festival is sponsored by Varnum LLP

Detroit, (January 11, 2018) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is très excité to present a French Festival from February 6-25. For three weeks, the orchestra will celebrate French music and culture through 22 concerts and events, anchored by six DSO programs in Orchestra Hall led by Music Director Leonard Slatkin. This is the DSO’s fifth annual winter music festival and the first to focus on a country and culture rather than a specific composer. Previous festivals have celebrated the music of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Mozart.

DSO concerts in Orchestra Hall—rich with French classical music highlights—include an all-Ravel program (featuring the Pavane for a Dead Princess, Daphnis and Chloe suite, and more), an all-Saint-Saëns program (featuring the Danse Macabre, Piano Concerto No. 2, and more), and a program pairing Gershwin’s An American in Paris with Milhaud’s A Frenchman in New York, as well as performances of Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Debussy’s La Mer, and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. Guest soloists throughout the three weeks will be violinist Renaud Capuçon and pianists Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, George Li, and Christina and Michelle Naughton.

Across from Orchestra Hall, the Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube will offer curated, urban, boundless experiences in a French style—including Om @ Le Max (a yoga session set to live music), Le Ciné Cube (free screenings of French film shorts with live musical accompaniment, plus the1986 American-French jazz drama Round Midnight), and more. Intimate performances by cabaret singer Cyrille Aimée (on Valentine’s Day), accordion and bandoneón wizard Julien Labro, and French Afropop phenoms Les Nubians with DJ Cambeaux bring genre-bending twists to the Festival schedule.

There’s also a scholar-in-residence (Steven Whiting, Professor of Musicology at the University of Michigan), a wine tasting event featuring rare French wines paired with live music, a chamber music performance at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Commerce Township, and food and drink specials in the Salon du Paradis (formerly the Paradise Lounge). The festival will close with a special Wu Family Academy Showcase featuring performances of French music by the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles, including the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra.

See below or visit dso.org/FrenchFest for a complete schedule of events.

Six French Festival concerts (one performance of each Orchestra Hall program) 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.

French Festival is sponsored by Varnum LLP. “On behalf of Varnum, I invite everyone to enjoy the DSO’s French Festival,” said Varnum attorney and DSO Trustee Eric Nemeth. “As a lifelong Detroiter, I am very proud to be associated with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and their performances of this timeless music will leave audiences enriched and inspired.” Nemeth was elected to the DSO Board of Trustees in December 2017.

All Classical Series concerts are sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc. The French Festival is also made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

To request materials (including biographies and photos) about Music Director Leonard Slatkin and/or any French Festival performer, please contact PR Coordinator Ben Breuninger.


All Orchestra Hall programs conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Performances with an asterisk (*) will be webcast for free at dso.org/live and via Facebook Live. Note that locations and ticket prices vary. Please visit dso.org/FrenchFest or call the DSO Box Office at (313) 576-5111 for more information.


Tuesday, February 6 at 5:30 p.m.

Rush Hour Recital

at WeWork Campus Martius (1001 Woodward Avenue, Detroit) 

French repertoire selected by DSO musicians in another unique Detroit venue—conveniently at the end of a work day. Free and open to the public!


Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m.

and Friday, February 9 at 10:45 a.m.*

DSO Program 1: Daphnis and Chloe

at Orchestra Hall


Menuet antique

Pavane for a Dead Princess

Concerto in G major for Piano and Orchestra

  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano

Piano Concerto (Left Hand) in D major

  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano

Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé


Saturday, February 10 at 8 p.m.

and Sunday, February 11 at 3 p.m.*

DSO Program 2: Organ Symphony

at Orchestra Hall


Marche héroïque, Op. 34

Danse macabre, Op. 40

Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22

  George Li, piano

Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78, "Organ Symphony"

  Jeffrey Walker, organ


Saturday, February 10 at 10 p.m.

Saturday Night Soirée

at The Cube (following the Feb. 10 Organ Symphony program in Orchestra Hall)

Late-night chamber music performances by the Civic Youth Ensembles and local college musicians. Free and open to the public!


Sunday, February 11 at 10:30 a.m.

Om @ Le Max

at The Cube

Practice yoga to music by French composers! Certified yoga instructor and DSO Librarian Ethan Allen leads a group yoga session open to all skill levels—accompanied with music performed live by violinists Will Haapaniemi and Jiamin Wang, violist Jim VanValkenburg, and cellist Peter McCaffrey of the DSO.



Monday, February 12 at 7 p.m.

Neighborhood Chamber Recital

at Steinway Gallery of Detroit (2700 E. West Maple Rd, Commerce Charter Twp.)

A chamber music recital in a unique venue, featuring music by Ravel and Fauré performed by DSO musicians.


Wednesday, February 14 at 7 p.m.

Valentine’s Day with Cyrille Aimée

at The Cube

Share an intimate Valentine’s Day concert with your special someone and French cabaret vocalist Cyrille Aimée.


Thursday, February 15 at 7 p.m.

Julien Labro

at The Cube

French-born Julien Labro has established himself as one of the foremost accordion and bandoneón players in both the classical and jazz genres.


Friday, February 16 at 10:45 a.m.

and Friday, February 16 at 8 p.m.*

DSO Program 3: An American in Paris

at Orchestra Hall


La Création du monde, Op. 81


Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor

  Michelle and Christina Naughton, piano


A Frenchman in New York


An American in Paris


Friday, February 16 at 10:30 p.m.

Le Ciné Cube: Film Shorts + Live Music by the Andrew Alden Ensemble

at The Cube (following the American In Paris concert in Orchestra Hall)

Silent French films come to life with live music performed by the Andrew Alden Ensemble. From 1920s avant-garde horror to famous shorts by French Filmmaker Georges Méliès, AAE’s textual scores will transform your film experience with original music and fresh new sounds. Free and open to the public!


Saturday, February 17 at 5:30 p.m.

Le Ciné Cube: Round Midnight

at The Cube

Bertrand Tavernier’s 1986 American-French musical drama film Round Midnight stars legendary jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet, and Herbie Hancock, and captures the Paris jazz scene of the1950s. Following the film screening, jazz archivist and Dexter Gordon’s widow Maxine Gordon will host a discussion and Q&A about the film. Free and open to the public!


Saturday, February 17 at 8 p.m.

and Sunday, February 18 at 3 p.m.*

DSO Program 4: Carnival of the Animals


The Sorcerer’s Apprentice


Carnival of the Animals

  Michelle and Christina Naughton, piano


Gymnopédies (1 & 3) (orch. Debussy)                        


Gaîté Parisienne


Wednesday, February 21 at 7 p.m.

A Wine and Music “Tour de France”

at The Cube

Sommelier and music expert Ron Merlino leads an unparalleled tasting experience featuring rare French wines paired with live music performed by DSO musicians—plus a commemorative wine glass to take home.


Thursday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m.

and Friday, February 23 at 10:45 a.m.*

DSO Program 5: La Mer and Faun


La Procession Nocturne, Op. 6


Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61 

  Renaud Capuçon, violin


Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune                   


La Mer


Friday, February 23 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, February 24 at 8 p.m.*

DSO Program 6: Symphonie Fantastique




Sonata for Violin and Piano 

  Renaud Capuçon, violin


Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra                    

  Renaud Capuçon, violin


Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14


Les Nubians + DJ Cambeaux

Saturday, February 24 at 9:30 p.m.

at The Cube

Les Nubians—Parisian sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart—bring their distinctive Afropean, urban, and R&B sound to The Cube.


Wu Family Academy Showcase

Sunday, February 25 at 2 p.m.

at Orchestra Hall

The Wu Family Academy’s Civic Youth Ensembles features Michigan’s best student musicians and represent the future of orchestral music. Enjoy as they showcase their extraordinary talents on the Orchestra Hall stage.


Ticket Information

Tickets for all French Festival concerts in Orchestra Hall begin at $15 and can be purchased at dso.org, by calling (313) 576-5111, or in person at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Avenue, Detroit).

Visit dso.org/FrenchFest for ticket information about other festival events, some of which are free of charge.

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.

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