<November 2018>


DSO will perform at two public schools, in Detroit and Warren, on January 16 and 17

New grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation assists DSO in further strengthening in-school partnerships

Detroit, (January 12, 2018) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and Associate Conductor Michelle Merrill go back to school on January 16 and 17 with the help of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation. Funded by a new $50,000 grant focusing on in-school partnerships, three performances over two days will bring music to over 2,000 Title 1 elementary and middle school students.

The DSO will perform at Spain Elementary-Middle School, a Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) school in Midtown Detroit, on Tuesday, January 16, and twice at Warren Woods Middle School on Wednesday, January 17 (for an audience that includes additional Warren Woods Public Schools students from Briarwood, Pinewood, and Westwood Elementary schools). The concerts’ program will feature a broad range of selections, including Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral), Aaron Copland’s Variations on a Shaker Melody, and more.

Additionally, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation grant, with support from the Aaron and Carolyn Frankel Foundation, will enable these students to travel to Orchestra Hall for an upcoming Educational Concert Series (ECS) performance. It will also offer access to DSO Replay, the orchestra’s on-demand video archive of past performances.

Strengthening partnerships with schools is a key component of the DSO’s Social Progress Initiative, aimed at broadening access and increasing the impact of its programs. Current and new programs are evaluated around the goals of Inclusion, which is upholding diversity as a core value; Enrichment, which is improving the quality of life of participants; and Expression, which is elevating artistic creativity.

Additional support for the DSO’s school programs comes from The Penny and Harold Blumenstein Future Audiences Fund, which makes it possible for ECS tickets to be reduced to $1 for students, teachers, or chaperones at any school within Detroit city limits. The $1 discount will also be extended to patrons from schools participating in ECS for the first time.

The DSO thanks Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman and The Mandell and Madeleine Berman Foundation for their support of the Classroom Edition webcast series.

Support for the Educational Concert Series is provided by Ford Motor Company Fund, Lear Corporation, the Dresner Foundation, the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, Macy’s, PNC, Delphi, Denso, and Chemical Bank. Additional support for Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition is provided by the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation.

About Michelle Merrill

As the Associate Conductor and Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michelle Merrill helps plan and conduct over 30 concerts per season, including the renowned Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition webcasts, which have reached over 200,000 students to date in classrooms throughout the nation. She also 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 the DSO’s groundbreaking webcast series. She made her classical subscription debut with the DSO in April 2016.

A passionate and dynamic artist, Merrill was named as one of Hour Magazine’s 3 Cultural Organization Leaders to Watch, and was recently profiled by the Ford Motor Company for their website fordbetterworld.org. She is also a recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. In March 2014, Merrill 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 named to his list of Top Ten Classical Performances of 2014. In 2013 she 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.

A strong advocate of new music, Merrill recently conducted the world premiere performance of Gabriela Lena Frank’s Walkabout: Concerto for Orchestra with the DSO. In fall 2016 Merrill collaborated with New Music Detroit for their annual marathon Strange Beautiful Music 9, which featured David Lang’s “are you experienced?” and the world-premiere of Andrew Harrison’s “Hum,” based on the poetry of Detroit native Jamal May.

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 with her husband, Steve Merrill (who serves as the principal percussionist of the Jacksonville Symphony), and their newborn son, Davis.

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