<August 2019>

Community Engagement

Community Engagement at the DSO

Composer Residencies

Music Alive – Gabriela Lena Frank

Gabriela Lena FrankBorn in Berkeley, California, to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Dr. Gabriela Lena Frank explores her multicultural heritage through her compositions.

Winner of a Latin Grammy and nominated for Grammys as both composer and pianist, Gabriela also holds a Guggenheim Fellowship and a USA Artist Fellowship given each year to 50 of the country’s finest artists. Her work has been described as "crafted with unselfconscious mastery" (Washington Post), and "brilliantly effective" (New York Times). A member of the Silk Road Ensemble, Gabriela is regularly commissioned by luminaries such as cellist Yo Yo Ma, soprano Dawn Upshaw, the King’s Singers, and the Kronos Quartet. She is also commissioned and performed by premiere orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony.

Gabriela began her 3-year tenure as composer-in-residence with the Detroit Symphony in 2013, under maestro Leonard Slatkin; as well as a second 3-year residency with the Houston Symphony under Andrés Orozco-Estrada. She also continued her longstanding creative relationship with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, with a commission for a large-scale opera, Frida and Diego, from Arizona Opera. In 2015, she began her tenure as the Visiting Composer for Sphinx Virtuosi.

Gabriela’s music is prominently featured in multiple scholarly books including the W.W. Norton Anthology: "The Musics of Latin America." She is also the subject of several PBS documentaries, including "Compadre Huashayo"—about her work in Ecuador composing for the Orquestra de Instrumentos Andinos, comprised of native highland instruments.

Gabriela received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Rice University, and her Doctorate from the University of Michigan. Her most prominent teachers have been Jeanne Kierman Fischer and Logan Skelton for piano; and Sam Jones, William Albright, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, and Michael Daugherty for composition. She resides in the San Francisco Bay area and is published and managed exclusively by G. Schirmer.

See Gabriela perform with the Sphinx Virtuosi:

African American Composer in Residence

For more than 40 years, the Classical Roots Celebration has celebrated African-American contributions to classical music. In 2000, the Celebration benefit was founded to honor select African-American composers, musicians, and educators for lifetime achievement and raise funds to support the DSO’s African-American music and musician development programs. The African American Composer in Residence selects a living composer and premiers his or her work in conjunction with the Classical Roots Celebration.

The application for the 2019 African American Composer Residency is now open.

Full Description of Residency

African American Composer in Residence Poster

Symphony in D

What does Detroit sound like? Composer and MIT Media Lab Director Tod Machover sought to answer this question with his composition Symphony in D. Detroiters in every community submitted sounds and conceptual contributions, including commentary on the current state of Detroit as well as their hopes and dreams for the city’s future to be included in the work. The work premiered on Nov. 20, 2015, made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Mohammad Fairouz

Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz premiered his work Desert Sorrows, a concerto for cello and orchestra, over a weekend of performances at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, and Orchestra Hall January 14 through January 16, 2016. Maya Beiser, an Israeli-born cellist, performed the work which Fairouz had written for Beiser. A collaboration that sought to confront and bridge the divide between Palestinian and Israeli communities after multiple decades of conflict, community engagement activities not only describing Fairouz’s work but also discussing Israeli-Arab relations took place throughout locations in the Metro-Detroit community.

The DSO Commission of Desert Sorrows is supported by Julie F. and Peter D. Cummings.

Education Partnerships

PNC Grow Up Great

Convincing evidence exists to suggest that at-risk students who have access to the arts in or out of school appear to have better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement than at-risk students who do not. The DSO’s program with PNC Foundation seeks to expand early childhood music education throughout the City of Detroit by offering interactive school visits with DSO Musicians, led by a DSO Teaching Artist. Through this program, students are exposed to musical concepts and genres at an early stage of development, laying the groundwork not only for music education opportunities later in life, but also for long term effects on academic and social success.

DPSCD School Partnerships

In partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Community District, DSO Musicians visit schools to introduce students to the world of Classical music, as well as introduce new career paths in the Arts to older students. Students who receive DSO school visits also attend Educational Concert Series concerts—either in person at Orchestra Hall or virtually—through the Live From Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition webcasts. For more information of the Educational Concert Series, please visit dso.org/classroom.

Wu Family Academy

The Wu Family Academy serves as the home for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE). CYE have provided Michigan's musicians of all ages a comprehensive music education experience. CYE's two-fold mission is to cultivate every student's artistic and creative potential through rewarding musical experiences while continuing to develop meaningful skills outside of the arts. Students enrolled in CYE receive opportunities to receive lessons, sectionals, and masterclasses from DSO Musicians. For more information on how to enroll, please visit dso.org/cye.

Health and Wellness

Beaumont Arts for the Spirit

As a program that began in 2013 with the Oakwood Healthcare System, the DSO's relationship with Beaumont Health has expanded to include DSO Musician performances at all 16 hospitals within the health system, senior engagements and residences, as well as a new partnership with Beaumont's new Children's Hospital. Through this program, the healing powers of music are shared with patients, doctors, and Beaumont staff. "Keep up the great music. Music has magical properties! It's good for the soul," one survey respondent remarked when asked for feedback about a performance.

Funding for this program is generously provided by Beaumont's Arts for the Spirit program.

Children’s Hospital of Michigan

Since 2012, DSO Musicians have participated in Lobby Concerts and Music Therapy activities at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. Since the inception of the program, performances have expanded to CHM’s Specialty Center and Troy, MI campuses.

DSO Musician Activities are generously presented by the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation.

Alzheimer’s Association Greater Michigan Chapter

The Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Michigan Chapter first partnered with the DSO in 2016, providing free programming with DSO Musicians at the Alzheimer’s Association office, at Neighborhood Concerts, and during exclusive open rehearsal opportunities through the Metro Detroit Community Connect program.

Veteran’s Affairs Hospital

In partnership with the FCA Foundation, DSO Musicians perform in the lobby of the Veteran’s Affairs hospital in Detroit, MI.

In addition to hospital performances, FCA Foundation provides discounted tickets to active duty military and veterans through a program called Heroes Nights. More information, including available concerts and dates, can be found by calling the DSO Box Office at 313-576-5111.

Music in Communities

DSO Chamber Recitals

Join DSO Musicians in your community for performances of chamber music, or music written for a fewer number of musicians than what is found in full orchestras. These unique and intimate performances are listed at dso.org/chamber.

DSO on the Go with Ford Fund

Detroiters are provided with enhanced access to music through DSO on the Go, in collaboration with and with the support of the Ford Motor Company Fund. Ten performances are brought to Detroit-based organizations that serve the community. As a result, the DSO is able to grow our community base and mean more to more people.

American House Senior Living Communities

In 2012, the DSO partnered with American House Senior Living Communities to provide residents with life enrichment activities such as concerts. Since then, the program has extended to provide 16 concerts per year, reaching most residences in the Metro Detroit area.

DTE Community Concert Series

For eight seasons, the DTE Energy Foundation has sponsored four completely free Community Concerts in Detroit and in the Metro Detroit Area. More information on locations, programs, and the venue selection process is available at dso.org/dtepowersdso.


Special Needs Open Rehearsal

At the beginning of each season, the DSO holds an open rehearsal for individuals who may not conform to a traditional concert experience. Special focus is given to audience members on the autism spectrum, who may be more sensitive to their environments, and may require softer lighting, noise reduction headphones, or a separate, quiet room incase audience members need a break from the concert environment.

For those interested in attending, or those who wish to volunteer, please contact Clare Valenti at cvalenti@dso.org.

Michigan Alliance for Cultural Accessibility (MACA)

The DSO is proud to be a part of the Michigan Alliance for Cultural Accessibility (MACA), which is a consortium of professionals working together in order to enhance the accessibility of Southeast Michigan’s cultural institutions for people with all abilities. For more information, please visit CultureSource.