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Schumann & Strauss

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Schumann & Strauss

Friday, May 30—Sunday, June 1, 2025

Friday, May 30—Sunday, June 1, 2025
Orchestra Hall
2 hours
Tickets start at {{ vm.min_price_formatted }}

Strauss’s Don Juan erupts with line after line of angst and virtuosity for every member of the DSO and Till Eulenspiegel gives us the quintessential soundtrack to fooling around and finding out. Liszt’s Préludes tell a different story of deep worlds and big moods. Guest soloist Steven Isserlis brings his “profoundly moving” playing (Los Angeles Times) to Schumann’s Cello Concerto.

Program

FRANZ LISZT
Les Préludes
ROBERT SCHUMANN
Cello Concerto in A minor
RICHARD STRAUSS
Don Juan, Op. 20
RICHARD STRAUSS
Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

Artists

Jader Bignamini

conductor

Jader Bignamini was introduced as the 18th music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in January 2020, commencing with the 2020–2021 season. His infectious passion and artistic excellence set the tone for the seasons ahead, creating extraordinary music and establishing a close relationship with the orchestra. A jazz aficionado, he has immersed himself in Detroit’s rich jazz culture and the influences of American music.

In December, Bignamini returned to Detroit to lead a triumphant performance of Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst, Strauss’s Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.” He returned again in May 2021 to conduct four programs including performances with violinist Midori and pianist Orli Shaham.

A native of Crema, Italy, Bignamini studied at the Piacenza Music Conservatory and began his career as a musician (clarinet) with Orchestra Sinfonica La Verdi in Milan, later serving as the group’s resident conductor. Captivated by the operatic arias of legends like Mahler and Tchaikovsky, Jader explored their complexity and power, puzzling out the role that each instrument played in creating a larger-than-life sound. 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, Bignamini has conducted some of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras and opera companies in venues across the globe including 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. Recent highlights include debuts with the Houston, Dallas, and Minnesota symphonies; Osaka Philharmonic and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo; with the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Dutch National Opera (Madama Butterfly); Bayerische Staatsoper (La Traviata); I Puritani in Montpellier for the Festival of Radio France; Traviata in Tokyo directed by Sofia Coppola; return engagements with Oper Frankfurt (La forza del destino) and Santa Fe Opera (La Bohème); Manon Lescaut at the Bolshoi; Traviata, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot at Arena of Verona; Il Trovatoreand Aida at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera; Madama Butterfly, I Puritani, and Manon Lescaut at Teatro Massimo in Palermo; Simon Boccanegra and La Forza del Destino at the Verdi Festival in Parma; Ciro in Babilonia at Rossini Opera Festival and La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, and Elisir d’amore at La Fenice in Venice.

When Bignamini 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.

Steven Isserlis

cello

Acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, British cellist Steven Isserlis enjoys a uniquely varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author, and broadcaster. He appears with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors and gives recitals in major musical centers. As a chamber musician, he has curated concert series for many prestigious venues, including London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s 92nd St Y, and the Salzburg Festival. Unusually, he also directs chamber orchestras from the cello in classical programs.

With a strong interest in historical performance, Isserlis has worked with many period instrument orchestras and has performed and recorded recitals with harpsichord and fortepiano. A keen exponent of contemporary music, he has given many premieres of new works, including Sir John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil and many other works, Thomas Adès’sLieux retrouvés, three works for solo cello by György Kurtág, and pieces by Heinz Holliger and Jörg Widmann.

Isserlis’s extensive and award-winning discography includes J.S. Bach’s complete solo cello suites (Gramophone’s Instrumental Album of the Year), Brahms’s Double Concerto with Joshua Bell and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and—as director and soloist—concertos by Haydn and C.P.E. Bach with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. His recording of works by John Taverner won the 2021 BBC Music Magazine Award.

Since 1997, Isserlis has been Artistic Director of the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, Cornwall. He also enjoys playing for children and created three musical stories with composer Anne Dudley. His two books for children, published by Faber & Faber, have been translated into many languages; his latest book for Faber is a commentary on Schumann’s Advice for Young Musicians, and a book about the Bach suites will appear in 2021. He has also devised and written two evenings of words and music, one describing the last years of Robert Schumann, the other devoted to Marcel Proust and his salons, and has presented many programs for radio, including documentaries about two of his heroes—Robert Schumann and Harpo Marx.

The recipient of many awards, Isserlis’s honors include a CBE in recognition of his services to music, the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau, the Piatigorsky Prize and Maestro Foundation Genius Grant in the US, the Glashütte Award in Germany, the Gold Medal awarded by the Armenian Ministry of Culture, and the Wigmore Medal.

Isserlis plays the ‘Marquis de Corberon’ Stradivarius of 1726, on loan from the Royal Academy of Music.

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