Music in Communities

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is an inclusive and culturally relevant community where all people can experience their world through music. To further this vision, the DSO focuses on Community Engagement efforts, bringing unsurpassed musical experiences to community gathering spaces, hospitals, schools, and everywhere in between throughout the Metro Detroit area.

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 will soon be listed at William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series subscribers can attend DSO Chamber Recitals for free!

DSO on the Go

DSO on the Go brings DSO performances to Detroit-based organizations that serve the community, right in their offices or gathering spaces. DSO on the Go is presented in collaboration with and with support from the Ford Motor Company Fund.

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 American House residences in Metro Detroit. And once per year, American House residents, family members, and staff come to Orchestra Hall for a unique concert experience.

DTE Community Concert Series

For nine seasons, the DTE Energy Foundation has sponsored four free Community Concerts across Metro Detroit. More information for the 2019 DTE Community Concert Series is available at

Beaumont Arts for the Spirit

DSO musicians proudly perform at all 16 hospitals within Beaumont Health, including senior engagements and partnership with Beaumont’s new Children’s Hospital. Through this program the DSO is able to share the healing powers of music with patients, doctors, and Beaumont staff.

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.

These 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 William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series performances, 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.

In addition to hospital performances, FCA Foundation and the DSO provide discounted concert 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.

Kadima Mental Health

Kadima Mental Health Services provides comprehensive residential, therapeutic, and social services to all people with mental health needs at they move forward in their lives. The DSO is proud to be a part of Kadima’s Creative Expressions Program, which provides creative enrichment activities for Kadima clients, both as programming in-house as well as in the community. DSO Musicians attend weekly sessions with Kadima clients, under the guidance of two board-certified Music Therapists. Clients have a chance to explore their musical talents through a supportive group music setting. 

More information about the Creative Expressions Program can be found here.

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

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

Sensory Friendly 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 to use for a break.

For those interested in attending, or those who wish to volunteer, please contact us.

Michigan Alliance for Cultural Accessibility

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

Music Alive- Gabriela Lena Frank

Born in Berkeley, CA, 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. 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. Her work has also been commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

Gabriela began her 3-year tenure as composer-in-residence with the DSO in 2013 under Music Director Laureate 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 the 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 using native highland instruments.
Gabriela earned a Bachelor and a Masters degree from Rice University and her Doctorate from the University of Michigan.

Classical Roots Composer Residency

For more than 40 years, the DSO’s Classical Roots initiatives have celebrated African-American contributions to classical music. The Classical Roots Composer Residency selects a living composer and premieres their work in conjunction with the annual Classical Roots Celebration and Benefit Concert.

Information about the 2020 Classical Roots Composer Residency will become available here at a later date. For more information, please contact us.

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. Machover asked Detroiters to submit sounds and conceptual contributions, including commentary on the current state of Detroit as well as their hopes and dreams for the city’s future. The work premiered on November 20, 2015, made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Mohammad Fairouz- Desert Sorrows

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, was featured soloist. A collaboration that sought to confront and bridge the divide between Palestinian and Israeli communities after multiple decades of conflict, Desert Sorrows included community engagement activities 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.

Meet The Composer: Gabriela Lena Frank