Leila Josefowicz performs Helen Grime's Violin Concerto with the DSO conducted by Daníel Bjarnason, May 19-20

Bjarnason also conducts Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony No. 3 plus his own work Blow bright on the program

May 20 performance webcast for free at dso.org and via Facebook Live as part of DSO’s Live from Orchestra Hall series

Tickets on sale now at dso.org

Detroit, (May 3, 2023) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will welcome conductor and composer Daníel Bjarnason to Orchestra Hall on May 19-20 to lead a program on the PVS Classical Series, which also features violinist Leila Josefowicz.

This program will include Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, which is inspired by the rugged landscape of the Scottish countryside and is infused with hints of Scottish dances. Helen Grime’s Violin Concerto will be performed by violinist Leila Josefowicz and is a study in contrasts—from the frenzy of wild virtuosity to sensitive, reflective melodies. The program opens with Bjarnason’s Blow bright, which is inspired by the energy and brightness of the Pacific Ocean.

Leila Josefowicz & Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 will take place Friday, May 19 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 20 at 8 p.m. in Orchestra Hall.

The May 20 performance will be webcast for free at dso.org and via Facebook Live as part of the DSO’s Live from Orchestra Hall series.

Tickets for these performances start at $19 and 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.

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.

The title sponsor of the DSO’s Classical Series is PVS Chemicals, Inc. DSO Live is presented by Ford Motor Company Fund and made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Digital programming is produced from the Al Glancy Control Room.


PVS Classical Series
Friday, May 19 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 20 at 8 p.m.
Orchestra Hall
Daníel Bjarnason, conductor
Leila Josefowicz, violin
Mendelssohn was struck by the rugged landscape of Scotland during a walking tour there, and later infused his Third Symphony with hints of Scottish dances and reminiscences of the countryside. Helen Grime’s Violin Concerto is a study in contrasts—from the frenzy of wild virtuosity to sensitive, reflective melodies—and is played here by Leila Josefowicz, a leading performer of new music for the violin. Conductor and composer Daníel Bjarnason begins with one of his own pieces, inspired by the energy and brightness of the Pacific Ocean.
HELEN GRIME Violin Concerto
FELIX MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 3, “Scottish”


About Daníel Bjarnason
Daníel Bjarnason is one of Iceland’s foremost musical voices today, increasingly in demand as conductor, composer, and programmer. He is Artist in Collaboration with Iceland Symphony Orchestra, an appointment that follows his tenures as Principal Guest Conductor and Artist-in-Residence.

As guest conductor, he debuts this season with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, where his music has been previously performed; returns to Göteborgs Symfoniker; and is a regular presence in Reykjavik with Iceland Symphony Orchestra throughout the season.

Keeping a busy composing schedule alongside his conducting commitments, many of his works are taken up beyond their premieres and regularly programmed around the world. This season, two new works see world premieres: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, written for Víkingur Ólafsson, and Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, written for Martin Grubinger, both presented by hr-Sinfonieorchester

In the 2020–2021 season, he appeared with Tapiola Sinfonietta, while regularly conducting Iceland Symphony, presenting the Icelandic premiere of his Violin Concerto with Pekka Kuusisto. He also had a new short piece premiered with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, which previously commissioned other works from him.

He has previously conducted Göteborgs Symfoniker, Gävle Symfoniorkester, Aalborg Symfoniorkester, and Turun Filharmoninen Orkesteri in Europe, while in North America he has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and in Japan with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.

Bjarnason maintains a close connection with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, having written From Space I Saw Earth for Gustavo Dudamel, Zubin Mehta, and Esa-Pekka Salonen to conduct together at its Centennial Birthday Celebration Concert and Gala in 2019. In 2017, they premiered Bjarnason’s Violin Concerto at the Hollywood Bowl, in a co-commission with Iceland Symphony for Pekka Kuusisto, while he co-curated the orchestra’s Reykjavík Festival, an eclectic and multi-disciplinary 17-day event, in which he featured as conductor and composer.

His Violin Concerto became a success with audiences and orchestras and remains very popular. Kuusisto has performed it with Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, New York Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Center Orchestra, Swedish Radio and Finnish Radio symphony orchestras, Göteborgs Symfoniker, MDR Sinfonieorchester, and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester. Bjarnason conducts the recording of the work with Kuusisto, as part of the final instalment of a three-album recording project with Iceland Symphony for Sono Luminus focusing on Icelandic music and composers.

Since its premiere in 2017, his first opera, Brothers, for the Danish National Opera and directed by Kasper Holten, based on the Susanne Bier film of the same name, was also revived in Reykjavík by The Icelandic Opera in 2018, and opened Budapest’s 2019 Armel Opera Festival.

Bjarnason conducted the world premiere of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Last and First Men, a multimedia work narrated by Tilda Swinton, at the 2017 Manchester International Festival with BBC Philharmonic, and subsequently at the Barbican with the London Symphony Orchestra the following year.

A recipient of numerous accolades, in 2018 he was awarded the Optimism prize by the President of Iceland, won the 8th Harpa Nordic Film Composers Award for the feature film Under the Tree, and was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize. He also won Composer of the Year, Best Composer/Best Composition and Best Performer at the Icelandic Music Awards in recent years.

Bjarnason studied piano, composition, and conducting in Reykjavík and pursued further studies in orchestral conducting at Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. He released several albums for the label Bedroom Community.

Daníel Bjarnason is published by Edition Peters.

About Leila Josefowicz
Leila Josefowicz’s passionate advocacy of contemporary music for the violin is reflected in her diverse programming and enthusiasm for performing new works. In recognition of her outstanding achievement and excellence in music, she won the 2018 Avery Fisher Prize and was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, joining prominent scientists, writers, and musicians who have made unique contributions to contemporary life.

A favorite of living composers, Josefowicz has premiered many concertos, including those by Colin Matthews, Steven Mackey, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, all written especially for her. This season, Josefowicz will give the world premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s Assonanza II for Violin and Chamber Orchestra with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and then in Europe with Musikkollegium Wintertur, both under the baton of the composer. Other recent premieres include John Adams’ Scheherazade.2 (Dramatic Symphony for Violin and Orchestra) in 2015 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, and Luca Francesconi’s Duende–The Dark Notes in 2014 with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Susanna Mälkki. Josefowicz enjoyed a close working relationship with the late Oliver Knussen, performing together various concerti, including his violin concerto more than 30 times. 

Following summer performances in the US at Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Grand Teton Music Festival, Josefowicz’s season begins with a return to Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, working with their incoming Music Director Nicholas Collon. Josefowicz will work again with regular collaborators Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and NAC Orchestra Ottawa; as well as returning to Europe for engagements with Oslo Philharmonic, Dresdner Philharmonie, Concertgebouworkest, and Budapest Festival Orchestra; working with Hannu Lintu, Dalia Stasevska, John Storgards, Susanna Mälkki, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. 

Highlights of recent seasons include working with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, and Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia orchestras, where she worked with conductors at the highest level, including Susanna Mälkki, Matthias Pintscher, and John Adams.

Josefowicz has participated in several important projects during the pandemic including the MetLiveArts Spring 2021 series premiering a new work La Linea Evocativa by Matthias Pintscher, written especially for her and performed alongside Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D Minor, staged among masterpieces by Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko; as well as a collaboration with The Violin Channel during their Virtual Concert series performing works of Mahler and Sibelius as well as Reflection by Oliver Knussen and the Sonata of Bernd Alois Zimmermann with John Novacek.

Alongside Novacek, with whom she has enjoyed a close collaboration since 1985, Josefowicz has performed recitals at world-renowned venues such as New York’s Zankel Hall and Park Avenue Armory, Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center and Library of Congress, and London’s Wigmore Hall, as well as in  Reykjavík, Chicago, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara. This season, Josefowicz gives solo performances at Wigmore Hall and The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

Josefowicz has released several recordings, notably for Deutsche Grammophon, Philips/Universal, and Warner Classics, and was featured on Touch Press’s acclaimed iPad app, ‘The Orchestra.’ Her latest recording, released in 2019, features Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Violin Concerto with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. She has previously received nominations for Grammy Awards for her recordings of Scheherazade.2 with the St. Louis Symphony conducted by David Robertson, and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer.

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.