Detroit Symphony Orchestra keeps the music playing with innovative fall performance schedule

 -DSO offers extensive series of new, live DSO Digital Concerts through December

-New DSO Music Director Jader Bignamini conducts four programs in back-to-back weeks to open season

-World premieres by Tyshawn Sorey and Nokuthula Ngwenyama highlight ten works by Black composers

-Guest conductors and artists include Leonard Slatkin, Matthias Pintscher, Donald Runnicles, Thomas Wilkins, Jennifer Koh, Jacquelyn Stucker, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Detroit (August 25, 2020) – This September, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) returns to the Orchestra Hall stage for the first time since March with a fall 2020 season featuring Classical and PNC Pops series concerts tailormade to bring new, live music moments to life.

Set to begin Thursday, September 10, the DSO’s slate of upcoming performances will be live streamed from Orchestra Hall on Thursday and Friday nights through the month of December without audiences in attendance. Each night will offer approximately 45 minutes of music and is innovatively programmed with health and safety considerations of performers in mind and to maximize enjoyment on computers, mobile devices, and smart TVs.

A trailblazer in the world of orchestral webcasting since 2011, the DSO will launch a new streaming series, DSO Digital Concerts, available exclusively on to view both live and on-demand for a limited time. Subscribers and select donors will receive access to all DSO Digital Concerts, with individual tickets available for purchase. DSO Replay—the orchestra’s archive of past webcasts—will remain free for all, but the orchestra will suspend free, live webcasts during the new fall season.

Newly appointed DSO Music Director Jader Bignamini launches this fall’s DSO Digital Concerts with four programs over back-to-back weeks, September 10-11 and 17-18. He will return December 10-11 to conduct two more programs.

“I am so happy to return to Detroit this fall to conduct the incredible musicians of my beloved Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and I look forward to reigniting that instant chemistry we all felt on the Orchestra Hall stage,” Jader said. “These past months have been very challenging in Italy, in Detroit, and around the world, but I am so proud of how the musicians, staff, and leadership of the DSO have come together to keep the music playing.”

Other highlights of this fall’s DSO Digital Concerts include appearances by DSO Music Director Laureate Leonard Slatkin; conductors Matthias Pintscher and Donald Runnicles; violinist Jennifer Koh in the world premiere of a new concerto by Tyshawn Sorey; and pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Marc-André Hamelin performing chamber music with DSO musicians. In addition to chamber orchestral and chamber music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Dvořák, there will be performances of works by ten Black composers from the Classical era through present day, including world premieres by Sorey and violist-composer Nokuthula Ngwenyama.

The DSO will also present four weeks of PNC Pops series programming, with special guests including DSO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, conductors Steven Reinekeand Thomas Wilkins, singer-pianist Tony DeSare, and much more. See below for more details or visit

“The power of music has served as an enduring beacon of hope and joy through one of the most uncertain eras of our lives,” said DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons. “Whether it’s helping us escape into the beauty of a performance for a short time or bringing us together in new and unexpected ways for collective appreciation and connection, music has once again proven to be essential. This is why we are so passionate about restoring the presentation of live music for our audiences, whether that’s socially-distanced and outdoors or virtually in your living room with DSO Digital Concerts.”

Since performing its last concerts in March, the DSO has built upon on its aspirations to be the most accessible orchestra on the planet. The orchestra made its webcast archive DSO Replay free to all and began offering weekly Watch Parties on Facebook, giving audiences a chance to interact with musicians. While away from the stage, DSO musicians and staff have regularly created innovative online content, including collaborative music projects with the community and several music education initiatives, including those for its Civic Youth Ensembles program and in partnership with Interlochen Center for the Arts. DSO musicians launched their own DSO Summer Institute for young conservatory and pre-professional musicians, and earlier this month returned to live performances in outdoor, socially distant settings around Detroit.

Jeremy Epp, DSO Principal Timpani, said,“The DSO musicians are thrilled to return to the stage of Orchestra Hall for the first time since March and excited to welcome Jader Bignamini back to Detroit. While the programming and format may look different, the DSO continues to be adaptive and innovative in living up to our commitment to serve our community through music. Delivering concerts virtually is a natural extension of the live webcasts we’ve produced for several years and our archive of broadcasts has enabled us to make past performances accessible to all while we’ve been away from the stage. We’re grateful to have felt the unwavering support of our audience members, donors, and community over the past months and we can’t wait until we’re able to safely welcome everyone back to Orchestra Hall with us.”

Concerts in the 2020-21 Classical Series and PNC Pops series scheduled after January 1, 2021, will remain on the calendar as planned until otherwise announced. The Paradise Jazz Series, Young People’s Family Concert Series, Tiny Tots, and William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series will continue as planned, but have been scheduled to begin later in the season. A special Halloween family program will be streamed this October as a special bonus webcast for subscribers.

Eclectic, multi-genre performances and events taking place in the Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube will also be scheduled as virtual concerts this fall. Details are to be announced. The DSO’s Wu Family Academy for Learning and Engagement will continue to offer music education virtually this fall. This includes the extensive training programs of its Civic Youth Ensembles, celebrating a 50th anniversary in 2021.

In the future, a limited number of tickets may be available for in-person attendance for concerts at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in accordance with State of Michigan public health and safety guidelines. Whenever this is possible, subscribers and donors will receive priority access to reserve these tickets.

The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc. The title sponsor of the DSO’s PNC Pops Series is PNC Bank.

Visit for more.

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 organization. In January 2020, Italian conductor Jader Bignamini was named the DSO’s next music director to commence with the 2020-2021 season. Conductor Leonard Slatkin, who concluded a decade-long tenure at the helm in 2018, 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 the world’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, Orchestra Hall celebrated its centennial in 2019-2020. In addition, the DSO presents the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series in eight 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.

Fall 2020 DSO Digital Concerts – Classical and PNC Pops 

All events take place at 7:30 p.m. at Orchestra Hall unless otherwise noted

Jader Bignamini, conductor

Program A (Thursday, September 10)
COPLAND: Fanfare for the Common Man
GABRIELI: Canzon in echo duodecimi toni
R. STRAUSS: Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 7
PHILIP HERBERT: Elegy: In Memoriam – Stephen Lawrence
MORRICONE: Gabriel’s Oboe
Jader Bignamini kicks off his tenure as DSO Music Director with a program spanning four centuries. DSO brass is showcased in Copland’s American anthem and Gabrieli’s Venetian School innovations, while an early gem from Richard Strauss highlights the winds. DSO strings are featured in Philip Herbert’s remembrance of a Black British teenager murdered in an act of racist violence, and the concert concludes with a tribute to the late Ennio Morricone.

Program B (Friday, September 11)
PUCCINI: I Crisantemi
DVOŘÁK: Serenade for Wind Instruments, Op. 44
Puccini’s mastery of writing for strings is crystalized in I Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums), one of the famed opera composer’s few instrumental works, performed here in its string orchestra version. Dvořák’s joyous Serenade for winds was inspired upon hearing Mozart’s music on a trip to Vienna, yet still evokes the composer’s Czech background and influence.


Jader Bignamini, conductor

Program A (Thursday, September 17)

TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48
Tchaikovsky’s lyrical Serenade is full of robust, evocative harmonies and melancholic melodies— channeling the inventiveness and unpredictability of the composer’s idol Mozart—shot through with stirring Russian folk melodies.

Program B (Friday, September 18 at 5:30 p.m.)
WALKER: Lyric for Strings
STILL: Serenade for Orchestra
CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES: Symphony No. 1 in G major
Highly varied in style, George Walker’s elegiac Lyric for Strings and William Grant Still’s expressive Serenade showcase mid-20th century works from two prominent African American composers. Saint-Georges, born Joseph Bologne, was the son of a French plantation owner and his African slave, who rose to prominence in 18th-century France as a champion fencer, violinist, composer, and conductor.


Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Wei Yu, cello

Program A (Thursday, September 24)

HAYDN: Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major (Wei Yu, cello)
STRAVINSKY: Concerto for Chamber Orchestra, "Dumbarton Oaks"
The Classical era takes center-stage as German conductor Matthias Pintscher makes his Orchestra Hall debut, first with DSO Principal Cello Wei Yu performing Haydn’s Second Cello Concerto. Next, Stravinsky’s neoclassical “Dumbarton Oaks” Concerto brings us to the Washington D.C. estate where the United Nations was born.

Program B (Friday, September 25)

BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, BWV 1050.2
TAKEMITSU: Archipelago S.
The harpsichord, flute, and violin all share the spotlight in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, then Tōru Takemitsu’s Archipelago S. showcases the varied textures of the orchestra as the sections are spread across the stage like islands in the sea.


Leonard Slatkin, conductor [Thursday only]
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano [Friday only]

Program A (Thursday, October 1)

PURCELL (arr. BRITTEN): Chacony in G minor
PENDERECKI: Serenade for String Orchestra
MOZART: Serenade No. 6 in D major for Two Small Orchestras, K. 239, “Serenatta notturna”
Music Director Laureate Leonard Slatkin returns to conduct “a little night music” in a pair of serenades. One to pay tribute to composer Krzysztof Penderecki, his friend who passed earlier this year, along with Mozart’s Serenade No. 6, known as the “Serenata notturna.”

Program B (Friday, October 2)

FRANCK: Piano Quintet in F minor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, hailed as “one of the best pianists in the world” and favorite of DSO audiences, returns to Orchestra Hall to join DSO musicians for a special performance of César Franck’s Piano Quintet in F Minor.


Steven Reineke, conductor [Thursday only]
Tony DeSare, piano & vocals
Ed Decker, guitar
Dylan Shamat, bass
Michael Klopp, drums

Program A (Thursday, October 8)

Called “two parts Frank Sinatra and one-part Billy Joel,” triple-threat singer / pianist / songwriter Tony DeSare takes on the legend of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to headlining with major symphony orchestras, Tony DeSare joins the DSO for a fresh take on old school class in an outstanding, critically-acclaimed tribute to the great Frank Sinatra.

Program B (Friday, October 9)

Tony DeSare's popular daily song diaries on YouTube and Facebook draw upon his expansive catalogue of Sinatra standards, pop favorites, piano blockbusters and heartfelt originals. This new show featuring Tony and his trio will take you on a journey of music spanning the likes of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter to Bill Withers, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and more. *The DSO does not appear on this program.



Program A (Thursday, October 15)

BEETHOVEN: Septet in E-flat major, Op. 20
Beethoven’s Septet for winds and strings, written just a few years before the First Symphony, was his most acclaimed work during his lifetime. In this chamber music performance by DSO musicians, hear how Beethoven’s music was evolving from its Classical-era roots to the vast and emotional Romanticism that would define the later works we know and love.

Program B (Friday, October 16)

Hear musicians of the DSO perform a variety of intimate chamber works. Details to be announced.


Donald Runnicles, conductor
Jacquelyn Stucker, soprano [Friday only]

Program A (Thursday, October 22)

CARLOS SIMON: An Elegy: A Cry from the Grave
BRITTEN: Variations for String Orchestra on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10
Famed Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles leads the DSO in a program including Britten’s tribute to his teacher that brought him international attention, and Carlos Simon’s An Elegy: Cry From The Grave, a haunting dedication to those murdered by oppressive powers.

Program B (Friday, October 23)

ELGAR: Introduction & Allegro for String Quartet and String Orchestra, Op. 47
R. STRAUSS (arr. LEDGER): Four Last Songs (Jacquelyn Stucker, soprano)
Reflecting on a life and career spanning over 80 years, Richard Strauss wove themes of serenity and the fulfillment of one’s soul into his Four Last Songs. Soprano Jacquelyn Stucker, hailed as “glowing” and “incandescent,” brings these songs to life in Orchestra Hall.


Jeff Tyzik, conductor
Troupe Vertigo

Program A (Thursday, October 29)

Drawing on classical favorites and circus artistry, Troupe Vertigo leads us on a breathtaking experience featuring dizzying aerial acts, acrobatic perfection, contortionism, object manipulation (juggling), and more. They will lift your spirit and leave you in awe.

Program B (Friday, October 30)

Drawing on fiery Latin melodies and circus artistry, Troupe Vertigo leads us on a breathtaking experience featuring dizzying aerial acts, acrobatic perfection, contortionism, object manipulation (juggling), and more. They will lift your spirit and leave you in awe.


Saturday, October 31 at 11:00 a.m.
Jeff Tyzik, conductor
Troupe Vertigo

Join the DSO and the amazing acrobats of Troupe Vertigo for symphonic tricks, treats, and spooky surprises as we kick off another exciting season of Family programming. Our annual costume contest will continue online and is sure to get you in the Halloween spirit—it’s fun for the whole family!


Christian Reif, conductor
Jennifer Koh, violin [Friday only]

Program A (Thursday, November 5)

NOKUTHULA NGWENYAMA: Primal Message (world premiere of orchestral version)
DVOŘÁK: Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22
Violist-composer Nokuthula Ngwenyama writes “music of bold, mesmerizing character,” including her captivating viola quintet Primal Message, heard here in the world premiere of its orchestral version. Dvořák’s lively and enchanting Serenade for Strings remains one of his most popular orchestral works.

Program B (Friday, November 6)

PRICE: Five Folksongs in Counterpoint
TYSHAWN SOREY: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (world premiere) (Jennifer Koh, violin)
Jennifer Koh’s world premiere of Chris Cerrone’s Violin Concerto was a highlight of the DSO’s 17-18 season. She returns for a new work by Tyshawn Sorey, praised for creating immersive sound worlds that defy categorization. Florence Price’s arrangement of Spirituals for string quartet are equal parts hymn-like and lyrical. The DSO thanks the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for co-commissioning Tyshawn Sorey’s Violin Concerto and agreeing to its premiere in Detroit.


Marc-André Hamelin, piano [Friday only]

Program A (Thursday, November 12)

Hear musicians of the DSO perform a variety of intimate chamber works. Details to be announced.

Program B (Friday, November 13)
SCHUBERT: Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667, “The Trout”
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin makes his return to Orchestra Hall for Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet. This unusual instrumentation of piano, violin, viola, cello, and bass leaves room for the piano to shine with stunning melodies, some taken directly from Schubert’s deep catalogue of vocal music.


Enrico Lopez-Yañez, conductor
Clive and Suzanne Phillips, dancers

Program A (Thursday, November 19)

Dance through the decades and waltz around the world as the DSO treats you to a night on the town! With a special appearance by a dazzling duo of champion dancers from the renowned Dance New York studio, you'll enjoy a musical tour with stops at the ballet, the hottest night clubs, bustling ballrooms, and beyond.

Program B (Friday, November 20)

The DSO’s sparkling strings are featured in this exciting program highlighting themes from favorite TV shows, blockbuster films, and more!


Enrique Mazzola, conductor
Inon Barnatan, piano [Friday only]

Program A (Thursday, December 3)

RAVEL: Pavane pour une infante défunte
STRAVINSKY: Suite from L'Histoire du soldat
Transport yourself to turn-of-the-century France for these two works of Ravel and Stravinsky conducted by Enrique Mazzola. The serene Pavane for a Dead Princess transitions perfectly into the biting and militaristic Soldier’s Tale, the story of a soldier who trades his violin to a shadowy figure in return for wealth beyond belief.

Program B (Friday, December 4)

WAGNER: Siegfried Idyll
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488 (Inon Barnatan, piano)
Pianist Inon Barnatan steps onto the Orchestra Hall stage for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, a non-stop whirlwind of sweet melodies. Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll was written as a birthday present for his wife Cosima, performed through her window as she awoke in their villa overlooking Lake Lucerne.


Jader Bignamini, conductor
Alexander Kinmonth, oboe [Thursday only]

Program A (Thursday, December 10)

R. STRAUSS: Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra in D major (Alexander Kinmonth, oboe)
DSO Principal Oboe Alexander Kinmonth steps out to the soloist’s position for Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto, one of his final works. Before that, enjoy Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst, a sonic exploration of the rapidly changing colors of new stars forming in the sky.

Program B (Friday, December 11)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”
DSO Music Director Jader Bignamini returns for the “Eroica,” Beethoven’s monumental Third Symphony. From the very first notes, Beethoven turns the idea of the symphony on its head, presenting the wide range of emotions and characters that would come to define orchestral music for the next century.


Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Kisma Jordan, vocalist

Program A (Thursday, December 17)

Program B (Friday, December 18)

Celebrate the season with Detroit’s favorite holiday musical tradition. Across two nights, DSO audience favorite Thomas Wilkins leads a heartwarming program of carols and classics – and yes, Virginia, there will be a Santa Claus!