We were thrilled to announce that Italian conductor Jader Bignamini has been selected as the DSO's next music director on January 22, 2020. Jader's first season in the role will be 2020-2021, during which he'll conduct three Classical Series programs.
When Jader was nine years old, he became fascinated by the cover of one of his brother’s books. It was a photo of a boy playing what he thought to be a flute, and Jader became determined to play the same instrument. The only problem was that the photo featured a boy playing a clarinet. Jader may not have recognized all the instruments, but that image was the spark that ignited a lifelong love of music and a passion for performing, first as a musician with Orchestra Sinfonica La Verdi in Milan (clarinet, not flute), and later as the group’s resident conductor.
Jader studied at the Piacenza Music Conservatory. He was drawn to operatic arias, captivated by the power and complexity of symphonic music in masterpieces by legends like Mahler and Tchaikovsky. For the Crema, Italy native, it was thrilling to explore that complexity, and to puzzle out the role that each instrument played in making that larger-than-life sound. Even as a young musician, the seeds of a future conductor were present. As a teenager, he would “practice” conducting in room at night with a chopstick from a Chinese restaurant. When he conducted his first professional concert at the age of 28, it didn’t feel like a departure, but an arrival.
In the years since, Jader has conducted some of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras in venues across the globe. His 2019-2020 season includes debuts with the Toronto, Houston, and Dallas symphonies; Minnesota Orchestra; Canadian Opera Company conducting Aida; Bayerische Staatsoper conducting La Traviata; and a return engagement with Stadttheater Klagenfurt conducting Eugene Onegin. He continues to tour with soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Yusif Eyvasov.
Other recent engagements include debuts at the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Dutch National Opera conducting Madama Butterfly; La Traviata in Tokyo directed by Sofia Coppola; return engagements with Oper Frankfurt conducting La forza del destino and Santa Fe Opera conducting La Bohème; Manon Lescaut at the Bolshoi; Turandot at Teatro Filharmonica; Il Trovatore and Aida at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera; and La Forza del Destino at the Verdi Festival in Parma. Memorable engagements for Jader have included working with Riccardo Chailly on concerts of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in 2013 and his concert debut at La Scala in 2015 for the opening season of La Verdi Orchestra.
Jader’s passion and enthusiasm are infectious. And his warmth and joyful spirit animate an engaging personality as prodigious as his musical talent. When Jader leads an orchestra in symphonic repertoire, he conducts without a score, preferring to make direct eye contact with the musicians. He conducts from the heart, forging a profound connection with his musicians that shines through both onstage and off. He both embodies and exudes the excellence and enthusiasm that has long distinguished the DSO’s artistry.
A jazz aficionado and amateur chef, Jader is excited to immerse himself in Detroit’s rich jazz scene and to explore his new second city with his wife Lidia—also a clarinetist—and their two children, who play trumpet and trombone. But above all, he can’t wait to make more extraordinary music with the DSO musicians he has already established close relationships with. It’s an opportunity that, like the picture on the cover of a book that once caught his attention as a boy, was love at first sight.
Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin is Music Director Laureate of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), Directeur Musical Honoraire of the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL), and Conductor Laureate of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He maintains a rigorous schedule of guest conducting throughout the world and is active as a composer, author, and educator.
Slatkin has received six Grammy awards and 34 nominations. His latest recording is the world premiere of Alexander Kastalsky’s Requiem for Fallen Brothers commemorating the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I. Other recent Naxos releases 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. His second book, Leading Tones: Reflections on Music, Musicians, and the Music Industry, was published by Amadeus Press in 2017. He is working on a third volume, Musical Chairs: The Changing Landscape of Classical Music in the Twenty-first Century.
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); Detroit; and Lyon, France. He has also served as Principal Guest Conductor in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Cleveland. For more information, visit leonardslatkin.com.
Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik is one of America’s most innovative and sought-after pops conductors. Tyzik is recognized for his brilliant arrangements, original programming, and engaging rapport with audiences of all ages. In addition to his role as Principal Pops Conductor of the DSO, Tyzik holds The Dot and Paul Mason Principal Pops Conductor’s Podium at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and also serves as principal pops conductor of the Oregon Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Rochester Philharmonic (RPO) — a post he has held for 23 seasons.
Frequently invited as a guest conductor, Tyzik has appeared with the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Milwaukee Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In May 2007, the Harmonia Mundi label released his recording of works by Gershwin with pianist Jon Nakamatsu and the RPO, which stayed in the Top 10 on the Billboard classical chart for over three months. Alex Ross of the New Yorker called it "one of the snappiest Gershwin discs in years."
Committed to performing music of all genres, Tyzik has collaborated with such diverse artists as Megan Hilty, Chris Botti, Matthew Morrison, Wynonna Judd, Tony Bennett, Art Garfunkel, Dawn Upshaw, Marilyn Horne, Arturo Sandoval, The Chieftains, Mark O’Connor, Doc Severinsen, and John Pizzarelli. He has created numerous original programs that include the greatest music from jazz and classical to Motown, Broadway, film, dance, Latin, and swing. Tyzik holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music.
Learn more at jefftyzik.com.
Trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and educator Terence Blanchard has served as the DSO’s Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Chair since 2012. Blanchard has performed and recorded with many of jazz’s superstars and currently leads the celebrated E-Collective. He is also well-known for his decades-long collaboration with filmmaker Spike Lee, scoring more than 15 of Lee’s movies since the early 1990s. 2018’s BlacKkKlansman earned Blanchard his first Academy Award nomination; in and out of the film world, Blanchard has received 14 Grammy nominations and six wins, as well as nominations for Emmy, Golden Globe, Sierra, and Soul Train Music awards.
A New Orleans native, Blanchard was childhood friends with Wynton Marsalis and studied jazz at Rutgers University. He was invited to play with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra in 1982 and later joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He debuted his first solo recording in 1991 and has released more than a dozen acclaimed albums since; he has appeared as a collaborator or sideman on a dozen more. His latest, with the E-Collective, is Live, released on Blue Note in April 2018.
Blanchard has held artistic leadership positions at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Monterey Jazz Festival, Berklee College of Music, and Henry Mancini Institute at the University of Miami.
Learn more at terenceblanchard.com.
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.