Yo-Yo Ma joins the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Opening Night Gala, Saturday, September 30

Detroit’s premier fall black-tie gala experience returns for first time since 2003; including red-carpet entrance with photo opportunities, cocktail reception, and seated dinner for gala patrons

Concert tickets starting at $99 and gala tickets starting at $1,200 on sale now at dso.org

Detroit, (August 30, 2023) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and Music Director Jader Bignamini will welcome one of today’s most acclaimed artists, Yo-Yo Ma, to Orchestra Hall for the Opening Night Gala and Concert on Saturday, September 30. The event marks the DSO’s first Opening Night Gala since 2003, reinaugurating Detroit’s premier black-tie fall gala experience.

The illustrious evening will include a red-carpet entrance with photo opportunities, cocktail reception in the William Davidson Atrium, and a formal seated dinner for gala supporters in the Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube. The concert in Orchestra Hall will be conducted by Bignamini and feature a performance of Dvořák’s Concerto in B minor for Cello and Orchestra with Ma as soloist, plus Ravel’s Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé and Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla.

Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his belief in culture’s power to generate trust and understanding. He has recorded more than 120 albums, is the winner of 19 Grammy Awards, and has performed for nine American presidents. He has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of the Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Birgit Nilsson Prize.

The Opening Night Gala and Concert will take place on Saturday, September 30 at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Avenue, Detroit). The concert in Orchestra Hall will take place at 7 p.m., followed by a black-tie dinner for gala guests and dessert with a dancing afterglow. Please note: this event will not be webcast.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at dso.org, by calling 313.576.5111, or in-person at the DSO Box Office, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gala tickets cost $1,200; a limited number of concert-only tickets start at $99. Sponsorship opportunities are also available and begin at $10,000. Gala tickets and sponsorships can be reserved at dso.org/openingnightgala.

Opening Night Gala and Concert
Saturday, September 30 at 7 p.m.
Orchestra Hall
Jader Bignamini, conductor
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma "doesn't make his music something to marvel at. He makes it a gift" (The Denver Post). Treat yourself to an evening with one of the most acclaimed artists of our time. Program to include Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor.

Sponsorships and Gala tickets are available to purchase here.

MIKHAIL GLINKA Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla
MAURICE RAVEL Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé
ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 104

About Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his belief in culture’s power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works for cello, bringing communities together to explore culture’s role in society, or engaging unexpected musical forms, Yo-Yo strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity.

Most recently, Yo-Yo began Our Common Nature, a cultural journey to celebrate the ways that nature can reunite us in pursuit of a shared future. Our Common Nature follows the Bach Project, a 36-community, six-continent tour of J.S. Bach’s cello suites paired with local cultural programming. Both endeavors reflect Yo-Yo’s lifelong commitment to stretching the boundaries of genre and tradition to understand how music helps us to imagine and build a stronger society.

Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris, where he began studying the cello with his father at age four. When he was seven, he moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies before pursuing a liberal arts education.

Yo-Yo has recorded more than 120 albums, is the winner of 19 Grammy Awards, and has performed for nine American presidents, most recently on the occasion of President Biden’s inauguration. He has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of the Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Birgit Nilsson Prize. He has been a UN Messenger of Peace since 2006, and was recognized as one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.

About Jader Bignamini
Jader Bignamini was introduced as the 18th music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in January 2020, commencing with the 2020–2021 season. He kicked off his tenure as DSO Music Director with the launch of DSO Digital Concerts in September 2020, conducting works by Copland, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, and Saint-Georges. His infectious passion and artistic excellence set the tone for the season 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.

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, Bignamini 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 Opera de Paris conducting La Forza del Destino and with Deutsche Opera Berlin conducting Simon Boccanegra; appearances with the Pittsburgh and Toronto symphonies; 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 Trovatore and 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.

About the DSO
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 organization. In January 2020, Italian conductor Jader Bignamini was named the DSO’s next music director to commence with the 2020-2021 season. Celebrated conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik is the orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, while Oscar-nominated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. 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 PVS Classical, PNC Pops, Paradise Jazz, and Young People’s Family Concert series. One of the world’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, Orchestra Hall celebrated its centennial in 20192020. 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 live radio broadcast of a concert and continues today with the groundbreaking Live from Orchestra Hall series of free webcasts, 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.