DSO receives $2.5 million grant from Knight Foundation, part of new $20 million investment in the arts in Detroit

- Funds will support multidisciplinary performances and community-focused additions to DSO campus at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center

Detroit, (October 31, 2018) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced that it has received a $2.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The grant is part of the foundation’s new investment in Detroit arts totaling $20 million announced earlier today.

The grant to the DSO will support efforts to activate the orchestra’s Midtown Detroit campus (the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center) by presenting multi-disciplinary programming that attracts new audiences, transforming the façade of the building with digital content, and offering outdoor performances in a courtyard adjacent to Orchestra Hall that will be reconceived as a new community space.

“We are grateful to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for their incredible generosity both to the DSO and to the city of Detroit,” said DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons. “This is the most recent example of a long-standing partnership between our two organizations to increase access to music and the arts with projects aimed at community-building and engaging new audiences through technology.”

Recent DSO projects supported by the Knight Foundation include the groundbreaking Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which has reached over one million views since its launch in 2011; the world premiere in 2015 of Tod Machover’s Symphony in D, which featured community performers and utilized sound samples from Detroit residents; and the 2015 festival Motown Meets The Big Easy. The DSO was also recognized in last year’s Knight Arts Challenge, with a grant to enable the orchestra to offer new “Mobile Maxcasts” – performances broadcast on a mobile video truck in community settings around Metro Detroit.

The Knight Foundation’s $20 million investment also includes support for many organizations that collaborate with or share a connection with the DSO, including the Sphinx Organization, Michigan Opera Theatre, Concert of Colors, and others.

“Great art, tough art, challenging art helps to tell a great city’s own story. Nowhere is this more true than today’s Detroit,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president. “This is the place where art, culture and design have changed the narrative of a community. And in the art world, Detroit has become the new Berlin.”

About the DSO

Hailed by the New York Times as “cutting edge,” the internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and an ardent commitment to Detroit. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the institution. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the DSO’s 12th Music Director, endowed by the Kresge Foundation, in 2008. The 2017-2018 Season marked Slatkin’s tenth and final year in the role, and in 2018-2019 he returns as Music Director Laureate. Acclaimed conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik serves as Principal Pops Conductor, while celebrated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the Detroit community, the DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, and Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with high profile artists from Steven Spielberg to Ben Folds and Lang Lang. In July 2017, the DSO embarked on its first international tour in 16 years, making its debut in China and first visit to Japan in 19 years. A commitment 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. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.