<August 2019>

Gabrilowitsch Society logo


Ossip Gabrilowitsch was an internationally-known Russian pianist whose presence as the DSO's first Music Director gave the DSO instant credibility on the national and world stage. We have his visionary leadership to thank for the very creation of Orchestra Hall itself, as the building was constructed in a remarkable four months and 23 days after he insisted that he and his musicians have a permanent home. A contemporary of and friend to Mahler and Rachmaninoff and the son-in-law of Mark Twain, Gabrilowitsch himself was a gifted composer and conductor and has endowed the DSO with a legacy of greatness.

Gabrilowitsch Society Affair banner

It is that visionary spirit and atmosphere of greatness which we hope to promote through the Gabrilowitsch Society. Recognizing the contributions of donors who contribute at a $10,000 or above annual level, the Gabrilowitsch Society strives to nurture those supporters by thanking them with unique opportunities to experience the Orchestra. Whether it is providing members with exclusive previews to acclaimed upcoming performances, opportunities to mix and mingle with classical composers and musicians or other unique occasions to experience the magic of the Symphony, the Society is our Orchestra's way of expressing appreciation to its members who are so critically important to ensuring a financially viable and stable future.

Donor Spotlight: Janet & Norm Ankers

Janet and Norm AnkersBlind dates are not often viewed through rose-colored glasses, but when it comes to Janet and Norm Ankers, they should be.

The Ankers are longtime supporters of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and serve as co-chairs of the Gabrilowitsch Society (donors $10K+), named in honor of past music director Ossip Gabrilowitsch. They were brought together by friends through a blind date planned by Norm, who invited Janet to see the DSO at Meadowbrook. They dined outdoors in front of the DSO stage, getting to know each other to the tune of Carmina Burana.

“For us the DSO has always stood for spectacular music played by spectacular musicians, and that has never changed,” says Norm.

Following that evening, their engagement and dedication to each other and the DSO blossomed. Janet joined the Volunteer Council, helping spearhead the strategic planning for the group, and served as VC President for three years. Norm serves on the DSO’s Re-Development Task Force. Together, Janet and Norm together helped establish the Gabrilowitsch Society to celebrate cornerstone supporters.

“Any donation to the DSO is a worthwhile donation. For those whose financial circumstances have allowed them to give especially generously, it is important for us to recognize their contributions—particularly in these times when there are so many demands on their philanthropy. This is something we really wanted to do for the DSO.” Norm explains.

The Society celebrated its inaugural year in 2014 by creating the “Gabrilowitsch Society Affair,” an exclusive dinner for Society members to experience a unique location in the Detroit area with a private performance that would be unlike anything seen before by DSO supporters. This year the event was help atop the Madison Building in downtown Detroit, with a sneak preview of “Symphony in D” performed by Tod Machover with our principal percussionist and timpanist of the DSO.

We are honored to spotlight them for their great service to making musical excellence possible.