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Growing Roots

Sustaining Detroit's Musical Home

Having an orchestra of tenured musicians bakes in a sense of lifelong commitment to the orchestra and organization: carrying on musical traditions, growing as an ensemble, and working together to create the best possible conditions for music-making. ”

Brandon Mason, DSO Bass

This winter, Music Director Jader Bignamini awarded DSO tenure to Principal Flute Hannah Hammel, Assistant Principal Oboe Sarah Lewis, Violin Alexander Volkov, and Bass Brandon Mason.

After a year-long probation period every new orchestra member plays through, the musicians got a green light to grow their roots in Detroit. When you consider that it is not unusual for tenured musicians to spend the remainder of their career with the same organization, the process makes sense: it’s serious business. As Hannah puts it, “Tenure is the final step in feeling confident to call this orchestra and city your forever home;” the new status recognizes each as a critical component of the DSO’s artistic vision and signals the institution’s investment in the future.

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Asked “why pursue tenure at the DSO?,” the musicians pointed to the caliber of their colleagues, the great sound they achieve together, and Jader’s leadership.

But no less important was the nature of the organization.  Alexander values the DSO’s commitment to engaging with audiences across the city, “It is an exciting characteristic,” he says. “I believe that our duty is to give performances that will have audiences returning for more, encouraging their families and friends to join a community that has revolved around art for over 100 years in this corner of the country.”

We might be biased, but Detroit is an excellent city to come home to. Next time you’re out, you might just bump into Sarah picking up the “amazing maple pie” at Sister Pie or Brandon and Hannah walking their dogs at Belle Isle.



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