In Celebration of Orchestra Hall Centennial, DSO Will Open 2019-2020 Classical Series with Program Recreating First Concert Performed at Historic Venue, October 4-6

- Conductor Michael Francis and pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton and David Fung join DSO for program including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and music by Weber, Mozart, and Bach

October 6 concert will be webcast for free at and via Facebook Live

Opening Weekend is sponsored by Varnum LLP

Detroit, (September 17, 2019) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will kick off the centennial year celebration of Orchestra Hall, beginning with a recreation of the first concert performed at the historic venue in 1919.

Guest conductor Michael Francis leads the DSO in a powerhouse program that includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, a double piano concerto by Mozart, and a three-piano concerto by Bach, plus Weber’s Overture to Oberon. Twin pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton are featured soloists for the Mozart work; they will be joined by pianist David Fung in the Bach concerto.

The three Opening Weekend concerts take place Friday, October 4 at 8 p.m., Saturday, October 5 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, October 6 at 3 p.m. at Orchestra Hall, within Midtown Detroit’s Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center.

Watch Live around the world: the Sunday, October 6 concert will be webcast for free at and via Facebook Live, as part of the DSO’s groundbreaking Live from Orchestra Hall series. The series is presented by Ford Motor Company Fund and made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

One hour prior to each performance, guests are invited to enjoy an informative onstage Concert Talk about the program hosted by conductor Chelsea Gallo. Currently engaged for a twenty-week season with the DSO, she regularly assists some of the world’s most prominent conductors and musicians. These lectures and discussions will be made available for later viewing on the DSO’s YouTube channel.

Throughout the 2019-2020 season, the DSO will celebrate Orchestra Hall’s 100th anniversary with special programming and events, a commemorative book written by former Detroit Free Press music critic Mark Stryker, a documentary series produced by Detroit Public Television, a two-site exhibition created in collaboration with the Detroit Historical Society and Museum, and more. Learn more about the centennial at

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

Opening Weekend is sponsored by Varnum LLP. "Varnum is pleased to once again support the mission and programming of the DSO," said attorney Eric Nemeth, who leads Varnum's Detroit office. "As a lifelong Detroiter, I am very proud to be associated with the DSO and I welcome everyone to enjoy this year's centennial celebration."

Leadership support for the Orchestra Hall centennial is provided by Ann and James B. Nicholson, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Ford Motor Company Fund, the Honorable Avern Cohn and Lois Cohn, Bernard and Eleanor Robertson, and Varnum LLP. The DSO also thanks all members of the Centennial Club who contributed to the centennial season. Please call (313) 576-5114 or email for more information about how to join the Centennial Club.

About Orchestra Hall

Built for the DSO at the request of then-music director Ossip Gabrilowitsch during the summer of 1919, Orchestra Hall was designed by noted theater architect C. Howard Crane (who also designed Detroit’s Fox Theatre and the current Detroit Opera House) and is renowned for its historic beauty and perfect acoustics. After the hall’s opening on October 23, 1919, the DSO entered a twenty-year golden age, which included its Carnegie Hall debut, its first records for RCA Victor, and making history as the first orchestra to perform a live radio broadcast concert, on February 10, 1922, from Orchestra Hall. 

When the DSO left for the larger Masonic Auditorium in 1939, Orchestra Hall took on a new life as the Paradise Theatre from 1941–1951, serving as Detroit’s premier venue for jazz, blues, and R&B. The hall was then long-dormant and nearly demolished in 1970 to make way for a fast-food burger chain, before a group of musicians and civic leaders rallied to save it from the wrecking ball and raise money to restore it over the course of 20 years. The DSO returned to a refurbished Orchestra Hall in 1989 and expanded its footprint in 2003 with the opening of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center.

About Michael Francis

Conductor Michael Francis currently serves as music director of the Florida Orchestra (St. Petersburg), chief conductor of Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, and music director of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego. He previously served as chief conductor and artistic advisor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra from 2012 through 2016.

Francis has conducted premier North American orchestras including The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and many others. In Europe and Asia, he has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Dresden Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE Madrid, NHK Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, and more.

Francis is passionate about music education. He conducted the National Youth Orchestra of Canada’s tour of Spain this summer and will return to lead the ensemble in summer 2020. He frequently conducts with the New World Symphony and National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and regularly works with young musicians in Florida as part of the Florida Orchestra’s community engagement activities.

Francis’s discography includes the Rachmaninoff piano concertos with Valentina Lisitsa and the London Symphony Orchestra, Wolfgang Rihm’s Lichtes Spiel with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the New York Philharmonic, and the Ravel and Gershwin piano concertos with Ian Parker.

Formerly a member of the bass section of the London Symphony Orchestra, Francis came to prominence as a conductor when he stepped in for Valery Gergiev with the orchestra in 2007.

About Christina and Michelle Naughton

Twin pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton, hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as “paired to perfection,” have captivated audiences worldwide with their stellar technique and musical communication. The Naughtons perform regularly with top symphony orchestras and in recital all around the globe. They made their Lincoln Center debut in May 2018 and have given acclaimed performances at the Gilmore Festival, Peggy Rockefeller Concerts, Portland Piano International, Virginia Arts Festival, and many others. They made their DSO debut in February 2018 with Leonard Slatkin as part of the orchestra’s three-week French Festival.

The Naughtons first rose to prominence in 2009 with their recital debut at the Kennedy Center and their orchestral debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra. They subsequently launched their careers in Europe and Asia at Munich’s Herkulesaal and with the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

The Naughtons’ debut record on the Warner Classics label—titled Visions—was released in February 2016. The album features music by Messiaen, Bach, and John Adams, and was selected “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone magazine. Additionally, The Washington Post praised the Naughtons as one of the “greatest piano duos of our time” in their review. Their latest project, and their second on Warner Classics, is American Postcard, released this past spring. The album demonstrates the sisters’ passion for American repertoire and includes music by John Adams, Aaron Copland, Conlon Nancarrow, and Paul Schoenfield; one highlight is Adams’s Roll Over Beethoven, which was written for the Naughtons and premiered in 2016.

Born in Princeton, NJ, to parents of European and Chinese descent, both sisters are graduates of The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where they were each awarded the Festorazzi Prize. They are Steinway Artists and currently reside in New York City.

About David Fung

Pianist David Fung appears regularly with the world’s premier ensembles, including The Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Fung’s acclaimed 2016 debut with The Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Musical Festival was described as “everything you could wish for” by Cleveland Classical and “agile and alert” by The Plain Dealer. The following week he made a splash in China performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini at Beijing National Stadium during the Olympic Summer Festival. In the past year, Fung has performed at the Ravinia Festival and on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series; he also made debuts with the Brussels Piano Festival and Washington Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center. He returns to Carnegie Hall this November with the Brentano Quartet.

As a recitalist and chamber musician, Fung is a frequent guest artist at prestigious festivals and venues worldwide. Festival highlights include performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Blossom Music Festival, Caramoor, Edinburgh International Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, and Tippet Rise.

Fung garnered international attention as a winner in two top international piano competitions: the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels and the Arthur Rubinstein Piano International Masters Competition in Tel Aviv. Fung is the first piano graduate of the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Beethoven Symphony No. 5 begin at $15 and can be purchased at, by calling (313) 576-5111, or in-person at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center Box Office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit).

Groups of 10 or more can save up to 30% on the price of a single ticket for most DSO concerts. For more information, contact Group Sales Manager Jim Sabatella at (313) 576-5130 or

Performance Details

Friday, October 4 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 5 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 6 at 3 p.m.
Orchestra Hall at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center

Michael Francis, conductor
Christina Naughton, piano
Michelle Naughton, piano
David Fung, piano

WEBER Overture to Oberon   

MOZART Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in E-flat major, K. 316a [365]
Christina Naughton, piano
Michelle Naughton, piano

BACH Concerto No. 2 for Three Harpsichords and Orchestra in C major, BWV 1064
Christina Naughton, piano
Michelle Naughton, piano
David Fung, piano

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

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 institution. Conductor Leonard Slatkin, who recently concluded an acclaimed decade-long tenure at the helm, now serves as the DSO’s Music Director Laureate, endowed by the Kresge Foundation. 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 America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, Orchestra Hall will celebrate 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 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.