Conductor John Storgårds and cellist Alisa Weilerstein return to Detroit to perform with the DSO, February 21-23

- Weilerstein performs Barber’s Cello Concerto; program also includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 and Outi Tarkiainen’s Midnight Sun Variations

- February 23 concert will be webcast for free at and via Facebook Live

Detroit, (February 6, 2020) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) welcomes conductor John Storgårds and cellist Alisa Weilerstein to Detroit for a program of Beethoven, Barber, and Outi Tarkiainen on the Classical Series.

The program will begin with the DSO premiere of Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen’s Midnight Sun Variations, inspired by the composer’s homeland and dedicated to Storgårds. Next, acclaimed cellist Alisa Weilerstein is featured soloist in Barber’s demanding Cello Concerto. The program concludes with a visit to the countryside in Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony No. 6.

The concerts take place Friday, February 21 at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 22 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, February 23 at 3 p.m. at Orchestra Hall, within Midtown Detroit’s Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center.

Watch Live around the world: the Sunday, February 23 concert will be webcast for free at and via Facebook Live, as part of the DSO’s groundbreaking Live from Orchestra Hall series. The series is presented by Ford Motor Company Fund and made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

One hour prior to each evening performance, guests are invited to enjoy an informative onstage Concert Talk about the program. These lectures and discussions will be made available for later viewing on the DSO’s YouTube channel.

Throughout the 2019-2020 season, the DSO will celebrate Orchestra Hall’s 100th anniversary with special programming and events, a commemorative book written by former Detroit Free Press music critic Mark Stryker, a documentary series produced by Detroit Public Television, a two-site exhibition created in collaboration with the Detroit Historical Society and Museum, and more. Learn more about the centennial at

The DSO would like to thank the Honorable Avern Cohn and Lois Cohn, Bernard and Eleanor Robertson, Aaron and Carolynn Frankel, DTE Energy Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, and Varnum LLP for their leadership support of Orchestra Hall’s centennial, and all Centennial Club members who generously contributed.

The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc.

About Orchestra Hall

Built for the DSO at the request of then-music director Ossip Gabrilowitsch during the summer of 1919, Orchestra Hall was designed by noted theater architect C. Howard Crane (who also designed Detroit’s Fox Theatre and the current Detroit Opera House) and is renowned for its historic beauty and perfect acoustics. After the hall’s opening on October 23, 1919, the DSO entered a twenty-year golden age, which included its Carnegie Hall debut, its first records for RCA Victor, and making history as the first orchestra to perform a live radio broadcast concert, on February 10, 1922, from Orchestra Hall. 

When the DSO left for the larger Masonic Auditorium in 1939, Orchestra Hall took on a new life as the Paradise Theatre from 1941–1951, serving as Detroit’s premier venue for jazz, blues, and R&B. The hall was then long-dormant and nearly demolished in 1970 to make way for a fast-food burger chain, before a group of musicians and civic leaders rallied to save it from the wrecking ball and raise money to restore it over the course of 20 years. The DSO returned to a refurbished Orchestra Hall in 1989 and expanded its footprint in 2003 with the opening of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center.

About John Storgårds

John Storgårds currently serves as chief guest conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, principal guest conductor of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa, and artistic director of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra – a title he has held for nearly 25 years, under which he has earned global critical acclaim for the ensemble’s recordings and programming.

Storgårds’s vast repertoire includes all symphonies by Sibelius, Nielsen, Bruckner, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann, including the Finnish premieres of Schumann’s only opera Genoveva and the early “Zwickau symphony,” plus world premieres of Sibelius’s Suite Op. 117 for violin and strings. Embracing contemporary repertoire in his programs, Storgårds regularly performs world premieres, with many works being dedicated to him.

Storgårds has appeared with many of the world’s major symphony orchestras and several celebrated opera companies, especially in his native Scandinavia. Highlights of the current season include a return to the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (with whom he embarked on a major tour in fall 2019), as well as re-engagements with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, and others.

Storgårds’s award-winning discography includes recordings of works by Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn as well as rarities by Holmboe and Vasks. Two cycles of symphonies by Sibelius (2014) and Nielsen (2015) with the BBC Philharmonic were released to critical acclaim by Chandos. Their latest recording project includes works by the American composer George Antheil. For BIS Records, Storgårds and the Lapland Chamber Orchestra have released a critically acclaimed recording of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony in a special arrangement by Michelle Castelletti. Other successes include discs of works by Nørgård, Korngold, Aho, and Rautavaara, the latter of which received a Grammy nomination and Gramophone Award in 2012.

Born in Finland, Storgårds studied violin with Chaim Taub and subsequently became concertmaster of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, before studying conducting with Jorma Panula and Eri Klas. He received the Finnish State Prize for Music in 2002 and the Pro Finlandia Prize in 2012.

About Alisa Weilerstein

Alisa Weilerstein is an American cellist and MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant recipient. In her new role as artistic partner of Norway’s Trondheim Soloists, she began the current season with the ensemble playing sextets by Tchaikovsky, Strauss, and Schoenberg on a European tour. In addition to appearing with the DSO, this season Weilerstein performs Saint-Saëns with the New York Philharmonic, Schumann with the Houston Symphony, Strauss and Bloch with the San Diego Symphony, and Elgar with the London Symphony Orchestra both at home and on tour. She also gives solo recitals of Bach’s complete cello suites and joins her frequent piano partner Inon Barnatan for Brahms and Shostakovich in Europe.

Weilerstein released a recording of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Barnatan, Alan Gilbert, Stefan Jackiw, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields on Pentatone this fall. Her discography also includes Elgar and Elliott Carter cello concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin (named “Recording of the Year 2013” by BBC Music magazine), Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Czech Philharmonic, a compilation of unaccompanied 20th century cello music (titled Solo), sonatas by Chopin and Rachmaninoff with Barnatan, Shostakovich’s cello concertos with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and Pablo Heras-Casado, and Transfigured Night with the Trondheim Soloists. The centerpiece of Solo, the Kodály sonata, also features on the soundtrack of the 2014 film If I Stay (in which the cellist also makes a cameo appearance).

Weilerstein has appeared with all the foremost orchestras of the United States and Europe. Her major career milestones include Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic and Daniel Barenboim for the orchestra’s 2010 European Concert, which was televised live to an audience of millions worldwide; an invitation from First Lady Michelle Obama to perform and lead workshops at the White House in 2009; and a Venezuelan tour as a soloist with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra under Gustavo Dudamel.

Born in 1982, Weilerstein began playing the cello at age four. She made her Cleveland Orchestra debut at age 13 and her Carnegie Hall debut two years later. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music (where she studied with Richard Weiss), she also holds a degree in history from Columbia University. Weilerstein was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was nine and is a Celebrity Advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Beethoven’s Sixth begin at $15 and can be purchased at, by calling (313) 576-5111, or in-person at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center Box Office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit).

Groups of 10 or more can save up to 30% on the price of a single ticket for most DSO concerts. For more information, contact Group Sales Manager Jim Sabatella at (313) 576-5130 or

Performance Details

Friday, February 21 at 8 p.m. EST
Saturday, February 22 at 8 p.m. EST
Sunday, February 23 at 3 p.m. EST

Orchestra Hall at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center

John Storgårds, conductor
Alisa Weilerstein, cello

OUTI TARKIAINEN            Midnight Sun Variations

BARBER                           Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 22
                                                            Alisa Weilerstein, cello

BEETHOVEN                     Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, "Pastorale"

About the DSO

The most accessible orchestra on the planet, the acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and a deep connection to its city. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the institution. Italian conductor Jader Bignamini was named the DSO’s next music director in January 2020, beginning with the 2020-2021 season. Conductor Leonard Slatkin, who recently concluded an acclaimed decade-long tenure at the helm, now serves as the DSO’s Music Director Laureate, endowed by the Kresge Foundation. Celebrated conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik is the orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, while the outstanding trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, the DSO offers a performance schedule that features Classical, PNC Pops, Paradise Jazz, and Young People’s Family Concert series. One of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, Orchestra Hall will celebrate its centennial in 2019-2020. In addition, the DSO presents the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series in seven metro area venues, as well as a robust schedule of eclectic multi-genre performances in its mid-size venue The Cube, constructed and curated with support from Peter D. & Julie F. Cummings. A dedication to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the people of Detroit, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.