DSO announces additional performance of tribute to Elton John with Michael Cavanaugh

DSO Assistant Conductor Na’Zir McFadden conducts sold-out performance on May 13; DSO welcomes Jason Seber to conduct same program on July 19

Program features popular Elton John hit songs including Your Song, Tiny Dancer, and Rocket Man

Tickets for July 19 concert on sale April 21 at dso.org

Detroit, (April 20, 2023) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) has added a second performance to its upcoming tribute to Sir Elton John. The May 13 concert at Orchestra Hall conducted by DSO Assistant Conductor Na’Zir McFadden and featuring pianist/vocalist Michael Cavanaugh is sold out. Due to popular demand, Cavanaugh will return on July 19 to present a second night of the same program, this time conducted by Jason Seber.

The DSO and Cavanaugh—hailed as “amazing” by The New York Times and “brilliant” by Variety—will perform beloved Elton John hits including “Your Song,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” and many more. Audiences at both performances will enjoy a Crocodile Rockin’ night.

The Music of Elton John Featuring Michael Cavanaugh will take place Saturday, May 13 at 8 p.m. and Wednesday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Orchestra Hall.

Tickets for the July 19 performance start at $38 and can be purchased beginning on April 21 at dso.org or by calling the Box Office at 313.576.5111, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2022-2023 SEASON DSO SAFETY POLICIES: The DSO no longer requires audiences to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend performances. Masks are optional although strongly recommended at DSO performances, particularly when Wayne County and surrounding communities are in the high or "red" category as defined by the CDC. The DSO asks audience members to do their part to create a safe environment for everyone and encourages those who are not feeling well to stay home.


Saturday, May 13 at 8 p.m.
Orchestra Hall
Na’Zir McFadden, conductor
Michael Cavanaugh, piano/vocals
The New York Times calls him “amazing.” Variety says he’s “brilliant.” You stood and cheered after his Music of Billy Joel show with the symphony. Now, Michael Cavanaugh returns to the DSO to perform the music of the other great piano man, Elton John. Beloved tunes include “Your Song,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” and many more. Whether you loved his last show or missed it, be sure to join Michael and the symphony for a Crocodile Rockin’ night.

Wednesday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Orchestra Hall
Jason Seber, conductor
Michael Cavanaugh, piano/vocals
The New York Times calls him “amazing.” Variety says he’s “brilliant.” You stood and cheered after his Music of Billy Joel show with the symphony. Now, Michael Cavanaugh returns to the DSO to perform the music of the other great piano man, Elton John. Beloved tunes include “Your Song,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” and many more. Whether you loved his last show or missed it, be sure to join Michael and the symphony for a Crocodile Rockin’ night.


About Na'Zir McFadden
American conductor Na’Zir McFadden is the newly appointed Assistant Conductor and Phillip & Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

In this position, he works closely with Music Director Jader Bignamini and guest conductors on both the PVS Classical Series and William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series. Additionally, he leads pre-concert lectures at Orchestra Hall, and conducts a variety of programs on the Educational Concert Series, Young People’s Family Concert Series, PNC Pops Series, as well as DTE Community Concerts. McFadden also serves as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra.

An advocate for arts education, McFadden strives to provide access to the arts for students in underserved communities. This season, McFadden makes appearances with youth ensembles in Salt Lake City and with the Philadelphia All-City Music Festival. In the past, he’s worked with youth ensembles in Chicago, New York City, St. Louis, and Los Angeles.

Recent engagements include a recording project with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s "Notes for Peace" initiative—which featured Hilary Hahn as guest soloist.

McFadden was the inaugural Apprentice Conductor of the Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra from 2020 to 2022, where he worked with Music Director Beatrice Jona Affron. He also served as the Robert L. Poster Conducting Apprentice of the New York Youth Symphony from 2020 to 2021.

McFadden conducted his hometown orchestra–The Philadelphia Orchestra–in their “Pop-Up” series in 2017, meeting their Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who has been a mentor ever since. The Philadelphia Inquirer praised his “great stick [baton] technique and energetic presence on the podium” in their review of the concert.

Upcoming engagements include a series of commissions with Orchestra 2001 and appearances with the Utah Symphony and the Philadelphia Ballet.

About Jason Seber
Jason Seber recently completed his six-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. He led the Symphony in more than 300 concerts on the Classics Uncorked, Pops, Family, Film + Live Orchestra, Young People’s Concerts, KinderKonzerts, and Link Up series, as well as Christmas Festival, Symphony in the Flint Hills, and many other programs. In October 2019, he made his debut on the Classical Series and recently led another Classical Series program in the spring of 2021. He also served as a co-host for the Symphony’s podcast, "Beethoven Walks into a Bar."

Prior to his appointment with the Kansas City Symphony, Seber served as Education and Outreach Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra from 2013 to 2016 and Music Director of the Louisville Youth Orchestra from 2005 to 2016. Seber has guest conducted many leading North American orchestras, including the Charleston Symphony, Cleveland Pops, Colorado Symphony, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Nashville Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and the Windsor Symphony. This summer includes return engagements with the Louisville Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, and Houston Symphony, and a debut with the San Diego Symphony.

A passionate advocate of music education, Seber has recently led the Honors Performance Series Orchestra in performances at Carnegie Hall (2018 and 2022), Royal Festival Hall in London (2019), and the Sydney Opera House (2017). In November 2019, he led the APAC Honors Festival Orchestra in Seoul, South Korea. He has served as the All-State Orchestra conductor for Georgia, Missouri, and Pennsylvania, and will be the conductor for the Kansas All-State Orchestra in 2024.

Seber has performed with classical artists Jinjoo Cho, Paul Jacobs, Conrad Tao, and Joyce Yang, and a diverse range of pops artists including Patti Austin, Andrew Bird, Boyz II Men, Ashley Brown, Melissa Etheridge, Ben Folds, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Lyle Lovett, Brian Stokes Mitchell, My Morning Jacket, Leslie Odom Jr., Aoife O’Donovan, Pink Martini, Doc Severinsen, Bobby Watson, and Wynonna. He earned his master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his bachelor’s degrees in violin performance and music education from Baldwin Wallace University.

About Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh is the new voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook and a charismatic performer and musician made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway musical Movin' Out. Handpicked by Billy Joel to star in Movin' Out, Cavanaugh evokes a style rivaling the Piano Man. He appeared in the show for three years with more than 1,200 performances and received multiple accolades. The show culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony Award nominations.

Cavanaugh began playing at age seven, when his parents bought their first piano. Encouraged by family and friends, and inspired by his hero Billy Joel, Cavanaugh formed his first band at age 10 and began playing local functions, fine-tuning the craft that would become his chosen career. His first full-time gig as a musician was an extended engagement in Orlando, Florida, at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. In January of 1999, Cavanaugh received an offer that would unknowingly change his life: an opportunity to play Las Vegas at the famed New York, New York Hotel and Casino. It was there that Billy Joel spotted Cavanaugh and joined him on stage one fateful night of February 2001. It only took two songs before Billy was convinced that he had found his new Piano Man: Michael Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh closed up shop at New York, New York and moved to New York City to work alongside Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp to shape the Broadway Musical that would be called Movin' Out. In the lead role, he received both Tony and Grammy Award-nominations.

With the close of Movin' Out at the end of 2005, Cavanaugh began touring in his own right, creating a show that reinterprets the modern pop/rock songbook. Cavanaugh soon became one of the hottest artists in the private events market, and he continues to perform worldwide for company and charity events as well as sporting events including many PGA Tour events, the Super Bowl, and the Indy 500. His interpretation of the modern rock/pop songbook led to Billboard calling him "The New Voice of the American Rock and Roll Songbook," and he was recognized by Reuters as Entertainer of the Year for the private events market.

It wasn't long before symphony orchestras discovered Cavanaugh's talents and audience appeal. He accepted his first orchestral booking, "Michael Cavanaugh–The Songs of Billy Joel and More," which debuted in April 2008 with the Indianapolis Symphony and continues to tour today. In October 2008, he signed with Warner/ADA to distribute his first CD, In Color. In June 2010, Cavanaugh debuted his second symphony show in the Generations of Rock series titled "Michael Cavanaugh: The Songs of Elton John and More" and then debuted his third symphony show, "Singers and Songwriters: the Music of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and James Taylor," in 2012. In 2015, he debuted his fourth symphony show: "Rockin' Christmas with the Pops." He continues to tour all four symphony productions along with performing with his band in performing arts centers and other public venues.

"The Way I Hear It", his second commercial album, was released in April 2017, and it debuted at #17 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

In 2020, Cavanaugh reached the POLLSTAR Live75, the top 75 active touring acts in the country.

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 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 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.