DSO family programming continues with "Peter and the Wolf" conducted by Na'Zir McFadden, March 16

DSO Assistant Conductor and Phillip & Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador Na’Zir McFadden leads orchestra performance for children ages 6 and up with storyteller Michael Boudewyns

The same day, the Kris Johnson Group performs in The Cube for children ages 2-6

Relaxed, sensory-friendly open rehearsal of Peter and The Wolf takes place in Orchestra Hall on Friday, March 15

Tickets on sale now at dso.org

Detroit, (February 21, 2024) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will continue its Young People’s Family Concert Series with Peter and the Wolf conducted by DSO Assistant Conductor and Phillip & Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador Na’Zir McFadden and featuring storyteller Michael Boudewyns on March 16 at 11 a.m. at Orchestra Hall.

In this program, Prokofiev's timeless tale of boy versus wolf comes to life in a signature performance by Boudewyns’s production company, Really Inventive Stuff. The Young People's Family Concert Series provides an exciting introduction to classical music and often includes dance, theater, storytelling, and video elements. The concerts, designed for audiences age 6 and up, have introduced generations of children to classical music—a friendship that lasts a lifetime.

Prior to the Young Peoples Family Concert Series performance at 10 a.m. in the Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube, join the Kris Johnson Group for a fun morning of music where audience members can learn about the foundation of Detroit music: groove. This program will allow audience members to move, dance, and become the animals, plants, and water in the music. Tiny Tots performances are fun-filled, interactive concerts designed for children ages 2-6 and their families. Please note the DSO does not appear on this performance.

On the morning of the concerts, the DSO will host family-friendly activities in the William Davidson Atrium including an interactive coloring banner, a "write to the DSO" station, a composer's workshop where children can write music and a live performer will play it back for them, and a craft station. 

Prior to these concerts, the DSO will host a sensory-friendly open rehearsal of Peter and the Wolf in Orchestra Hall on Friday, March 15 at 2 p.m. This free, relaxed open rehearsal gives audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the DSO as the musicians prepare for the Young People's Family Concert. "Relaxed" events are designed for individuals on the autism spectrum and with other sensory sensitivities. Our culture can be unforgiving for those unable to conform to the standard concert etiquette of quietly sitting still for extended periods, which excludes individuals who are unable to sit still or who may express emotions such as joy or excitement through vocalization. This relaxed open rehearsal aims to remove barriers, allowing everyone to be themselves and enjoy a musical experience in a safe and judgement-free environment. Click here to learn more  about this event.

Peter and the Wolf will take place Saturday, March 16 at 11 a.m. at Orchestra Hall. The Kris Johnson Group will take place Saturday, March 16 at 10 a.m. in the Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube (The Cube). Both Orchestra Hall and The Cube are located within the DSO’s Midtown Campus: the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Avenue).

Tickets for the Young People’s Family Concert Series performance start at $20; tickets for the Tiny Tots performance are $12. Tickets to both events can be purchased at dso.org or by calling the Box Office at 313.576.5111, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Young People’s Family Concert Series is sponsored by Sun Communities.


Young People’s Family Concert Series
Saturday, March 16 at 11 a.m.
Orchestra Hall
Na’Zir McFadden, conductor
Michael Boudewyns, storyteller
"Boys like Peter are not afraid of wolves..." Prokofiev's timeless tale of boy vs. wolf comes to life in Really Inventive Stuff's signature performance. A vaudeville-inspired solo performance hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "immensely like-able" and "using simplicity as a form of genius." Guaranteed to engage and inspire imaginations of all ages.

Tiny Tots
Saturday, March 16 at 10 a.m.
The Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube
The Kris Johnson Group, ensemble
Join the Kris Johnson Group for a fun morning of music where you and your kids can learn about the foundation of Detroit music: GROOVE. From swing, and blues to Motown and hip-hop, “What is Groove?” will get the audience to feel the beat in a whole new way. Led by trumpeter Kris Johnson, this presentation will introduce you to the role of various instruments in a band and how they work together to make music.


About Na’Zir McFadden
American conductor Na’Zir McFadden is the Assistant Conductor and Phillip & Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, working closely with Music Director Jader Bignamini. McFadden also serves as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra. Together, they’ll present three programs—exploring masterworks by Tchaikovsky, Valerie Coleman, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Margaret Bonds, respectively.

Establishing his presence on the classical music scene, the 2023–2024 season includes a debut with the Ann Arbor Symphony and a return to the Philadelphia Ballet in addition to maintaining several ongoing engagements with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He’ll also serve as a guest cover conductor for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In the 2022–2023 season, he made his subscription debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra alongside bass-baritone Davóne Tines and clarinetist Anthony McGill. In March of 2024, he will return to conduct the DSO’s annual Classical Roots program premiering two new works by composers Billy Childs and Shelly Washington. Other conducting highlights include debuts with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Ballet.

Additionally, McFadden led a recording project with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago featuring Hilary Hahn as co-collaborator and soloist. This past summer, McFadden participated in the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Conducting Seminar as part of the Tanglewood Institute under the guidance of Andris Nelsons and Stefan Asbury. In 2020, McFadden was named the inaugural Apprentice Conductor of the Philadelphia Ballet; a position he held until 2022. He also served as the Robert L. Poster Conducting Apprentice of the New York Youth Symphony from 2020 to 2021. At the age of 16, he conducted his hometown orchestra—The Philadelphia Orchestra—in their “Pop-Up” series, meeting their Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who has since served as a mentor to McFadden.

The Philadelphia Inquirer praised his “great stick [baton] technique and energetic presence on the podium” in their concert review. An advocate for arts education, McFadden strives to provide access to the arts for students in underserved communities. Currently, McFadden is a board member of Generation Music, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that provides classical music education to underrepresented youth in local school districts that cannot afford to do so. His efforts have led to collaborations with youth ensembles in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Salt Lake City.

About Michael Boudewyns
Michael Boudewyns is thrilled to return to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for a third season after making his DSO debut in 2016.

In 2004, Boudewyns co-founded ReallyInventiveStuff.com; a production company that creates delightful concert performances for young audiences and families with orchestras internationally (England, Singapore), in Canada, and around the United States.

In the 2022–2023 season, Really Inventive Stuff returned to The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony in C.

Along with orchestra performances, Boudewyns is the host of a new YouTube series celebrating noteworthy people and their remarkable achievements: Taphotopia.com

Michael lives in Maine and has two cats named Pippy and Prudence.

About Kris Johnson
Kris Johnson is an award-winning trumpeter, composer, and educator based in the metro Detroit area.

As an artist, Johnson’s work focuses on music that spans the depth and breadth of Black American music. The influences that have shaped his artistry include Terence Blanchard, Thad Jones, Nicholas Payton, Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews, Clifford Brown, Roy Hargrove, and many others.

As the leader of The Kris Johnson Group, he has recorded several studio albums including Odd Expressions, Journey Through a Dream, and The Unpaved Road with Lulu Fall. Many of his projects in recent years have combined his music with technology and often address poignant themes, including his 2020 self-produced and entirely self-performed audio-visual album SAFE, which features his abstract illustrations and animation and explores childhood memories. In 2021, Johnson compiled the music produced for a social media series, which examines the idea of breaking free from generational trauma, into an album, #looptherapy, vol. 1. Lighter in mood but no less impressive is his series of videos with the Kris Johnson Big Band, a project dreamed up during the pandemic of 2020, which uses clever video editing to create a an entirely virtual large ensemble, the players of which were gathered from Johnson’s diverse circle friends and professional contacts from around the globe.

Besides his own projects, Johnson’s career has been filled with incredible moments working as a trumpet player for hire. He toured the world with the illustrious Count Basie Orchestra from 2008–2019 and has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious jazz venues including the Apollo Theater, the Blue Note Jazz Club (US and Japan), Sydney Opera House, Blues Alley, and the Hollywood Bowl. Johnson has also had the opportunity to perform with many jazz greats including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Tony Bennett, Patti Austin, Wes Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Hendricks, Monty Alexander, Christian McBride, and Jamie Cullum, and was featured soloist in the 2013 standup-comedy film Make Me Wanna Holla starring Sinbad.

Johnson has a keen sensitivity to the nuances of film and a knack for storytelling through music, as is evident in his award-winning film scores for various web series, documentaries, short films, and feature films, and the two full-length musicals he has written. Kris scored the Dui Jarrod web series King Ester, which was picked up by Issa Rae’s YouTube Channel “Issa Rae Presents.” The series was nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards in 2020. Johnson received an Outstanding Score award for his work on the comedic web series, The PuNanny Diaries, at the 2011 LA Webfest and wrote the score for Searching For Shaniqua, which won HBO’s Best Doc Award at the 2016 Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival.

The Plowshares Theater (Detroit, MI), in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, recently commissioned Johnson to compose a musical influenced by Detroit’s historic Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods: Hastings Street: the musical with music/lyrics co-composed by Johnson and playwright/actor John Sloan III, who also wrote the book. Johnson was awarded a grant in 2014 from New Music USA to fund a studio recording of his original musical Jim Crow’s Tears with a book by Gary Anderson of Plowshares Theater (Detroit).

In addition to his work on film scores and musicals, Johnson has been commissioned to write compositions and arrangements for the Count Basie Orchestra, Ken Thompkins (Principal Trombone, Detroit Symphony Orchestra), Arts League of Michigan, Karen Clark Sheard, Yolanda Adams, the Clark Sisters, Farmington Community Band, Detroit Symphony’s Civic Ensembles, Ferndale Community Concert Band, Motor City Brass Band, Troy High School, New Trier High School, and many others. In 2012, Johnson received an ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers award and was selected as one of 25 Detroit performing and literary artists to receive a $25,000 Kresge Artist Fellowship.

Johnson’s journey as an educator began with his own education at Michigan State University, where he received his bachelor’s and master's degrees in jazz studies in 2005 and 2007, respectively. He has gone on to serve in the role of Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Utah from 2015–2019; a Project Director for Pontiac School District, leading a US Department of Education Arts in Education—Model Development and Dissemination Grant; and as the Education and Digital Programming Manager for the Motown Museum. Additionally, he has served on the teaching faculty at The Ohio State University, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Civic Youth Ensembles, and as an Artistic Liaison for JazzEd Detroit through a partnership with ArtOps and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. Currently, Johnson is the Director of Michigan State University’s Community Music School in Detroit.

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. Led by Music Director Jader Bignamini since 2020, the DSO makes its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, offering a performance schedule that features the PVS Classical, PNC Pops, Paradise Jazz, and Young People’s Family Concert series. In addition, the DSO presents the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series in metro area venues, as well as 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.

Since its first school concerts a century ago, and particularly since the founding of the Civic Youth Ensembles in 1970, the DSO has been a national leader in bringing the benefits of music education to students, teachers, and families in Detroit and surrounding communities. The DSO remains committed to expanding its participation in the growth and well-being of Detroit through programs like its Detroit Neighborhood Initiative—cultural events co-created with community partners and residents—and Detroit Harmony, a promise to provide an instrument and instruction to any student in the city who wants to learn. With unwavering support from the people of Detroit, the DSO actively pursues a mission to impact lives through the power of unforgettable musical experiences.