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Rockin' Out with the Detroit Symphony

For this concert, it was encouraged to get loud and cheer for our orchestra as they played. People were eager to dance and stand closer to the energy pulsating from the stage. It’s truly an experience like no other. ”

Declan O'Neal, concert attendee

Drumsticks used as a conductor’s baton. Audience members rushing to the stage. A post-concert line of fans vying for the full set list. Group selfies with the band.  

This is just a glimpse of the scene in Orchestra Hall when rock music blares from the stage.  

The fusion of the genre with the symphonic stylings of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is an experience of epic proportions. During the 2023 season, legendary rock star Stewart Copeland of Police fame delivered a high-energy concert with the orchestra performing hits including "Roxanne,” "Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” and “Message in a Bottle." The one-night celebration featured Copeland on drums, Amy Keys, Carmel Helene, and Ashley Támar on vocals, and Armand Sabal-Lecco on bass.  

Audience members were committed to every lyric and the antics that amplified the night: i.e. Copeland transitioning roles from drummer to conductor and leading the orchestra with his drumsticks before tossing them into the audience; patron excitement erupted through the hall.  

The musical pandemonium hit once again when Mick Adams graced the stage with the Windborne band, the DSO, and conductor Brent Havens for The Music of the Rolling Stones.  

“There were packs of people dressed in Hot Lips logos and standing in the lobby, chatting with other fans. Once the concert began, it wasn’t long before Mick Adams had the audience on their feet, dancing along,” recalls Declan O’Neal, concert attendee. “For this concert, it was encouraged to get loud and cheer for our orchestra as they played. People were eager to dance and stand closer to the energy pulsating from the stage. It’s truly an experience like no other.”  

So, yes, rock music with a symphony orchestra––preferably the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (wink, wink)––is the concert adventure you don’t want to miss.

Frankie Moreno Performs Elvis!

July 26


And your seat awaits. Our Special Events programming deliver dates that feature the music of: Pink Floyd and Elvis; and an eclectic classical-rock presentation of Steve Hackman’s merging of Brahms and Radiohead will rock us into the 2024-2025 season.  

(Fun note: Hackman also brought the musical fusion of Beethoven and Coldplay to Orchestra Hall with the DSO. These presentations lean into the classical genre, but at the DSO, you can find delight in pairings you wouldn’t expect.) 

At the top of February, the rock soul sounds of “Go Now! The Music of The Moody Blues” under the baton of Michael Krajewski filled Orchestra Hall with a two-night engagement featuring drummer Gordy Marshall and vocalist Mick Wilson. Patrons were treated to an orchestral blend of hits such as “Isn’t Life Strange,” “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” and “Go Now.” 

DSO flutist Amanda Blaikie had an exhilarating experience during the weekend concerts, performing a massive five-minute solo.  

“There was blues, scales—some improv—and three charts that said stand, sit, stand... so I was probably up and down like eight times during each show. It was wild and so much fun,” she expressed in a post-concert social media video. “The crowd went wild. We had two sold out shows. I never had to stand up and play jazz rock flute into a mic. It was amazing!”  

Part of classical music’s appeal is the way it can slip into any genre and add captivating instrumental elements that pull audience members into deep emotion; and its ability to paint vivid scenes through melody. In April, the DSO delivers progressive rock with The Music of Pink Floyd. Fan favorites like “Learning to Fly,” “Money,” “Comfortably Numb,” and selects from The Wall, played live in Orchestra Hall – this unique way of hearing the classics will be memorable.

There’s no sensation to compare with this/Suspended animation, a state of bliss... ”

Pink Floyd, "Learning to Fly"

Fused with electric blues, folk, rhythm and blues, and even country, rock is musical gumbo. There’s a fiery soul to it that ignites energy and an air of freeness.  

DSO summer shakes things up with the Music of Elvis Presley, performed by Frankie Moreno—who's known to electrify the stage with “the style of the Rat Pack and the showmanship of an Elvis Presley performance” as described in the Maryland Theatre Guide concert review of ‘Vegas Nights with Frankie Moreno.’ A five-time ‘Headliner of the Year’ entertainer and multi-instrumentalist, Moreno will bring out the King of Rock’s notable moves and distinct vocal arrangements to pay tribute to his legacy. Under the baton of DSO Principal Pops Conductor Designate, Enrico Lopez-Yañez, the celebration features big hits such as “King for a Night,” and “All Shook Up,” to name a few.  

You’ll have to attend to hear what else is waiting for you. But get your adrenaline pumping and ready to rock out with this peak into what Moreno is bringing to Orchestra Hall on July 26.

Frankie Moreno Rock & Roll Medley Live on PBS