DSO appoints Jessica Slais to newly created position of Creative Director of Popular and Special Programming

Detroit, (July 1, 2022) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced that it has hired longtime orchestra artistic administrator Jessica Slais as Creative Director of Popular and Special Programming effective August 1, 2022. In this newly created position, Ms. Slais will work closely with Jeff Tyzik, Principal Pops Conductor, and Jessica Ruiz, Senior Director of Artistic Planning on enhancing and expanding the DSO’s popular and special programming. 

“Through her deep connections in the music industry, Jessica will bring new and exciting programs to DSO audiences that have wide appeal across diverse genres,” said Ms. Ruiz. “This will build upon the DSO’s rich legacy of popular orchestral programming with an eye toward attracting and growing future generations of orchestra lovers. We couldn’t be more ecstatic to have Jessica join the team.” 

“I am honored and excited to join the esteemed staff and musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in this new role as Creative Director of Popular and Special Programming,” said Ms. Slais. “My passion for orchestral music extends across all genres, and I am deeply committed to how an orchestra can connect to and serve its community through creative programming and collaborations. I am looking forward to continuing to expand the DSO’s commitment to community-focused work, and to building innovative and inclusive new projects that are exciting for both our audiences and our artists.” 

Along with Goode Wyche III, Manager of Jazz and @ The Max, this appointment fills out the DSO’s recently restructured Artistic Planning team led by Ms. Ruiz together with Music Director Jader Bignamini, Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, and Fred A. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair Terence Blanchard.  

About Jessica Slais 
Jessica Slais is the new Creative Director of Popular and Special Programming for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where she is responsible for planning and producing the PNC Pops and Young People’s Family Concerts series as well as special presentations and community concerts at Orchestra Hall and throughout Metro Detroit. 

Slais is also General Director and Co-Founder of Symphonica Productions, which specializes in offering entertaining and engaging Pops, Family, and Education programs to orchestras across the country. Additionally, Symphonica Productions is a boutique publisher of orchestral music with a diverse roster of award-winning composers. 

Previously, Slais held the position of Vice President of Artistic Administration at the Nashville Symphony. During the course of her five-season tenure, she oversaw programming of the Classical, Pops, Movie, Family, and Jazz series as well as all Special and Presentation concerts at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Prior to Nashville, Slais was the Vice President of Artistic Planning at the Omaha Symphony, where she developed numerous pops shows in addition to managing the programming of six subscription series. She also served as Acting General Manager for the Omaha Symphony’s 2010-11 season.   

Slais began her orchestra career as a music librarian and served as head librarian for the Omaha Symphony for 12 seasons, including hosting the 2010 MOLA Conference. She was a Library Fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach and studied clarinet performance at Concordia College, Moorhead MN. 

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. 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.