<February 2018>

Classical Roots 2018


The mission of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Classical Roots Celebration is to increase awareness of the contributions of African-American composers and musicians through performance and recordings and to support increased opportunities for African-Americans in classical music through the DSO’s African-American Composer Residency, Emerging Composer Program, and African-American Fellowship.

40th Anniversary Classical Roots Evening Schedule & Tickets

Saturday, March 3, 2017 - Black Tie

5:30 PM | Seated Dinner - Peter D. & Julie F. Cummings Cube
8:00 PM | Classical Roots Concert - Orchestra Hall

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Joseph Young, conductor
Joshua Williams, horn
George Shirley, narrator
Janice Chandler-Eteme, soprano
Olivia Johnson, mezzo-soprano
Issachah Savage, tenor
40th Anniversary Celebration Choir

10:30 PM | Dessert & Dancing Afterglow - First Floor Atrium and Peter D. & Julie F. Cummings Cube


Buy Tickets

Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, please call Marah Casey at 313.576.5142.

Individual Ticket Levels

Ruby - $750 (FMV: $450)  SOLD OUT
Recognition on digital event signage
Opportunity for meet and greet with guest artist or honoree
Priority seating at Celebration dinner
Box Level seating at Classical Roots Concert
Access to Herman and Sharon Frankel Donor Lounge during intermission
Dessert and Dancing Afterglow with reserved seating
Recognition in commemorative program
Opportunity to include a message in commemorative program
Valet Parking

Benefactor - $500 (FMV: $275)
Priority seating at Celebration dinner
Premier Main Floor seating at Classical Roots Concert
Access to Herman and Sharon Frankel Donor Lounge during intermission
Dessert and Dancing Afterglow with reserved seating
Recognition in commemorative program
Valet Parking

Patron - $250 (FMV: $200)
Reserved seating at Celebration dinner
Main Floor Side seating at Classical Roots Concert
Dessert and Dancing Afterglow
Valet Parking

Young Friends - $85 (FMV: $75)
Dress Circle seating at Classical Roots concert
Dessert and Dancing Afterglow
Valet Parking

About Classical Roots

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will honor trailblazing tenor and educator George Shirley and visionary leader and academic Earl Lewis, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, at the 40th Anniversary Classical Roots Celebration. Classical Roots honors African-American composers, musicians, and educators for lifetime achievement and raises funds to support the DSO’s African-American music and musician development programs.

The 40th anniversary Classical Roots program also marks fifty years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and will include Undine Smith Moore’s Scenes from the Life of a Martyr, an oratorio written in tribute to Dr. King and based on his life story. The piece will feature honoree George Shirley as narrator, four vocal soloists, and the 40th Anniversary Celebration Choir, composed of voices from the Brazeal Dennard Chorale, the Detroit Choral Society, and choirs from Wayne State University and the Detroit School of the Arts.

Joseph Young conducts the program, which also includes the overture to Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus—the first opera that honoree George Shirley appeared in professionally—as well as John Rosamond Johnson’s Lift Every Voice and Sing and Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4 with soloist Joshua Williams, First Prize winner of the 2017 International Horn Competition of America.

African-American Education & Outreach Programs

The DSO has for years been at the forefront of the movement to celebrate the contributions of African-American composers, nurture the talents of young African-American classical musicians, and increase access and opportunity for younger African-Americans who might never otherwise experience the magic of classical music. The DSO extends the Classical Roots mission beyond the concert hall, with school visits, a chamber recital, and other community events scheduled for the weeks preceding the Celebration.

The African-American Fellowship Program addresses the shortage of African-Americans in professional orchestras by offering a yearlong fellowship with the DSO to one selected musician. Past DSO fellows have gone on to win positions in orchestras across the United States, including the DSO’s principal trombone, Kenneth Thompkins. A new addition for the 40th anniversary year is the Classical Roots African-American Composer Residency, an initiative that will select a living composer and premiere his or her work in conjunction with Classical Roots.

About the African-American Composer Residency

The residency is granted to a living African-American composer. The selected work(s) will be performed at the Classical Roots Chamber Recital, which will take place on February 26, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The winning composer will receive an honorarium of $500 plus round-trip air travel to Detroit, accommodations for the duration of their stay, ground transportation and a stipend for incidentals.

Learn more at dso.org/composerresidency