DSO Music Director Jader Bignamini returns to Detroit this May, conducting four concerts at Orchestra Hall and opera-in-concert at Meadow Brook Amphitheatre for Michigan Opera Theatre

- Bignamini’s four DSO programs on May 7, 8, 20, and 21 will be webcast live and on-demand via DSO Digital Concerts and include collaborations with violinist Midori and pianist Orli Shaham and new music by Veronika Krausas and Daniel Bernard Roumain

- Bignamini conducts Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana in concert with soprano Christine Goerke presented by Michigan Opera Theatre at Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on May 15

Detroit, (April 8, 2021) – This May, Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) Music Director Jader Bignamini will return to Detroit to conduct four DSO Digital Concerts—plus, a special one-night-only opera-in-concert performance at Meadow Brook Amphitheatre with Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT). 

Concerts with the DSO at Orchestra Hall begin Friday, May 7, with Bignamini conducting works of two Austrian composers who found inspiration far from home: Schubert’s Overture in the Italian Style in C major and Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 in D major, “London”. The following evening, Saturday, May 8, he will be joined by renowned violinist Midori for Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. The program also features the world premiere of Veronika Krausas’s Caryatids, inspired by the “many strong, influential, and powerful women from Detroit.” The work was commissioned by the DSO following Krausas being named the recipient of the orchestra’s tenth annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers.

On Thursday, May 20, Bignamini leads the DSO in Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3, “Scottish”, named for an opening theme that was first sketched as the composer visited ruins of the chapel where Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland. On Friday, May 21, Bignamini and the DSO welcome acclaimed pianist Orli Shaham for a performance of Beethoven's second piano concerto on a program that also highlights a new work: i am a white person who _____ Black people by Daniel Bernard Roumain. See below for composer’s notes on the new works by Krausas and Roumain.

Between his two weeks conducting the DSO, Bignamini will conduct Pietro Mascagni’s one-act Italian opera Cavalleria rusticana at Meadow Brook Amphitheatre presented by MOT in cooperation with the DSO. Kicking off MOT’s 2021-22 season, this in-person, outdoor musical event features internationally renowned soprano and MOT Associate Artistic Director Christine Goerke. This occasion marks the first time in history that a DSO Music Director has led the MOT Orchestra. The performance will be held at Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester and attendees will be required to adhere to health and safety protocols. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster by clicking here.

All DSO Digital Concert performances will be live streamed from Orchestra Hall and are available to view on-demand for two weeks following the performance. Subscribers and select donors receive access to all DSO Digital Concerts, with individual tickets available for purchase for non-subscribers. Concerts can be viewed exclusively on dso.org or the DSO app via computer, mobile device, or smart TV. Click here to view a full list of digital events.

The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc.

Veronika Krausas: Composer’s Note on Caryatids

"Once as a boy I asked someone if a statue I stared at was alive. They said no, but they were wrong. It was." — Excerpt from My Father “The T.E. Lawrence Poems” collection ~ Gwendolyn MacEwan (1941-87)

I’ve always been fascinated with rocks and stones and sculpture—their strength, their beauty, and their magic. In Detroit, there are twelve caryatids on the baroque Book Tower. A caryatid is a sculpted female figure that also serves as a column or a supportive architectural element. A traditional caryatid is holding the roof with her head or her arms. As support and sculpture, the caryatids’ function intersects both art and architecture.

The name caryatid is derived from the Greek word, karyatides, referring to the maidens of Karyai. Karyai was an ancient Peloponnesian town with a temple devoted to Artemis Karyatis. In Greek mythology, Artemis was the goddess of wild animals, the hunt, vegetation, of chastity, childbirth, and a patron of girls and young women. To honor Artemis Peloponnesian women would often perform folk dances with baskets of plants on their heads.

The piece follows the architecture of a building with eight sections representing the four corners and four walls. Architecturally the piece has four structural (or column) sections (I’ve called Fanfare, Midfares, and Postfare). They represent the strength and columnar nature of caryatids. Each of the twelve caryatids is represented by a chord. The series of chords finally appears in order at the end of the work but each chord is spread between the orchestral instruments, much like light at different times of the day is refracted and creates different shadows. Between these chordal (fanfare-like) sections, are a series of Baroque-like dances, or my interpretation of a bourrée, a gigue, and a sarabande.

There have been so many strong, influential, and powerful women from Detroit who have helped shape and support not only the local but also the national and international fabrics of our society (cultural, political, and scientific) that writing a work inspired by them felt very appropriate. I’ve dedicated this work to the strongest and most wonderful woman in my life, my mother Elvyra Krausas.

Commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for the 10th Annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers.

Daniel Bernard Roumain: Composer’s Note on i am a white person who____Black people

This work was commissioned by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Xian Zhang, Music Director, for the opening of the 2020-21 virtual NJSO season. It was composed during a series of overlapping crises in our lives: a pandemic; a global fight for social justice; the effects and awareness of climate change; an array or economic collapses; and the tyranny of an electoral process under siege by a president and his party. As a Black, Haitian-American composer, every commission offers a choice.

The titles of my work often speak to my feelings and (political) position. With i am a white person who _____ Black people, I am extending what has traditionally been my choice given to any white person: how do you see me and other BIPOC people, and what choice of word or phrase best reflect your opinion of Black people? Your choice, in part, reflects who you are.

The music reflects a kind of deliberate dance among all these brilliant musicians, safely and physically distanced on stage for the premiere, in a time when making music might mean ending a life. Every note and every breath, then, becomes urgent, passing, and precious. We all need to be cautious about the choices we have made and will make, and in this, yes, Black Lives Matter, and always have and will.

Alive and here,





Friday, May 7, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Jader Bignamini, conductor

DSO Music Director Jader Bignamini leads the DSO in a program featuring two works of Austrian composers that found their inspiration far from home. Schubert composed two overtures “In the Italian Style” as he looked to evoke the music of Rossini, while Haydn’s final symphony was the culmination of a set of twelve written for his travels to London.

SCHUBERT Overture in the Italian Style in C major, D. 591 

HAYDN Symphony No. 104 in D major, Hob.I:104, "London"




Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Jader Bignamini, conductor

Midori, violin

The DSO welcomes Midori, a visionary artist, activist, and educator, to Orchestra Hall. She joins DSO Music Director Jader Bignamini to perform Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. The concerto's memorable opening melody would not let Mendelssohn rest until he had committed it to paper.

VERONIKA KRAUSAS Caryatids (World Premiere)

MENDELSSOHN Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 64



Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 7 p.m.

Meadow Brook Amphitheatre

A love triangle that unfolds tragically during a celebration of the Easter holiday, Mascagni’s one-act delivers an opera of consummate Italian verismo form—glorious arias and duets, gorgeous music, and a groundbreaking depiction of real people. This concert features an all-star cast including soprano Christine Goerke (Elektra, Twilight: Gods), and is conducted by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director Jader Bignamini.

For more information, please click here.




Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Jader Bignamini, conductor

When one of the Romantic era's most popular composers takes a tour of Scotland, chances are it will inspire the creation of a new symphony. Just is the case with Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3, with an opening theme that was first sketched as he visited ruins of the chapel where Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland.

MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56, "Scottish"




Friday, May 21, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Jader Bignamini, conductor

Orli Shaham, piano

Jader Bignamini welcomes pianist Orli Shaham to join the DSO for a performance of Beethoven's second piano concerto on a program including a new work by acclaimed composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain.

DANIEL BERNARD ROUMAIN i am a white person who ____ Black people

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19



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.

In December, Jader returned to Detroit to lead a triumphant performance of Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst, Strauss’s Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”.

A native of Crema, Italy, Jader studied at the Piacenza Music Conservatory and began his career as a clarinetist with Orchestra Sinfonica La Verdi in Milan, later serving as the group’s resident conductor. Captivated by the works of composers like Mahler and Tchaikovsky, Jader 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, Jader 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 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; TraviataMadama Butterfly, and Turandot at Arena of Verona; Il Trovatoreand Aida at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera; Madama ButterflyI 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 BohèmeMadama Butterfly, and Elisir d’amore at La Fenice in Venice.

When Jader 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 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. 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.