Jader Bignamini kicks off first full season as DSO Music Director October 7, 9 & 10 at Orchestra Hall

- Program includes Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome, Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with guest soloist Ray Chen, and Jessie Montgomery’s Banner 

- October 9 concert will be webcast for free at dso.org and on Facebook as part of DSO’s Live from Orchestra Hall series

- Tickets on sale now at dso.org

Detroit, (September 29, 2021) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will open the 2021-2022 season—its first full season with Music Director Jader Bignamini—with three concerts at Orchestra Hall, October 7, 9, and 10, conducted by Bignamini and featuring violinist Ray Chen. The DSO’s new season will be its first concerts open to full-capacity audiences since March 2020.

“I can’t wait to feel the warmth of our amazing audience,” said Bignamini. “Being together after so many months, we will celebrate not only a new season but also our lives—the celebration of our hope in a better future for everyone and the celebration of the great job that our orchestra and our staff did during this pandemic to arrive at this new beginning.”

To protect the health and well-being of its patrons, musicians, and staff due to the ongoing pandemic, the DSO has implemented new safety policies including mask and COVID-19 vaccine or test requirements and contactless e-ticketing. Visit dso.org/safetyplan for more information.

As the DSO returns, Bignamini is establishing his vision at the helm of the orchestra. He conducts orchestral performances from memory without a score on the podium, stressing visual cues and eye contact with the musicians. To better facilitate this connection, the DSO is staging its musicians on risers for the first time in decades.

“The contact between the musicians during concerts has to be like breathing,” said Bignamini. “Being raised, there will be no barriers between the woodwinds, the percussion, and the strings, and they will be able to play in a much more natural way.”

The opening week program will give this new stage configuration a workout, with two powerful and colorful orchestral works by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi: Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome. It will also include Jean Sibelius’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor with guest soloist Ray Chen and Jessie Montgomery’s Banner, written as a tribute to the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner while also exploring the historical contradiction between the ideals of freedom and the realities of injustice and oppression.

The concerts will take place Thursday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 9 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, October 10 at 3 p.m. at Orchestra Hall. The October 9 performance will also 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 $15 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. Please note the Box Office is currently processing a large backlog of requests due to a technical issue and staffing shortage. The DSO appreciates its patrons’ patience as we work to process all requests.

Bignamini will return to the DSO for nine more programs this season. Next up, he will conduct Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Sergei Babayan and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 (Nov. 4-6) and an all-American program featuring Branford Marsalis in John Adams’s Saxophone Concerto, plus the world premiere of Jeff Scott’s Paradise Valley Serenade and music by Aaron Copland and George Gershwin. 

The Classical series is sponsored by PVS Chemical, 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.



Classical Series

Thursday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 9 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, October 10 at 3 p.m.

Orchestra Hall

Jader Bignamini, conductor

Ray Chen, violin

Jader Bignamini kicks off his first full season as Music Director showcasing the majesty of Detroit’s acoustical gem Orchestra Hall with two audience favorites: Respighi’s symphonic poems describing the stunning fountains and graceful pines of his beloved Rome.


JEAN SIBELIUS Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor, Op. 47




About Ray Chen

Ray Chen is a violinist who redefines what it is to be a classical musician in the 21st Century. With a media presence that enhances and inspires the classical audience, reaching out to millions through his unprecedented online following, Ray Chen's remarkable musicianship transmits to a global audience that is reflected in his engagements with the foremost orchestras and concert halls around the world. 

Initially coming to attention via the Yehudi Menuhin (2008) and Queen Elizabeth (2009) Competitions, of which he was First Prize winner, he has built a profile in Europe, Asia, and the USA as well as his native Australia both live and on disc. Signed in 2017 to Decca Classics, the summer of 2017 saw the recording of the first album of this partnership with the London Philharmonic as a succession to his previous three critically acclaimed albums on SONY, the first of which (“Virtuoso”) received an ECHO Klassik Award. Profiled as “one to watch” by The Strad and Gramophone magazines, his profile has grown to encompass his featuring in the Forbes list of 30 most influential Asians under 30, appearing in major online TV series “Mozart in the Jungle”, a multi-year partnership with Giorgio Armani (who designed the cover of his Mozart album with Christoph Eschenbach), and performing at major media events such as France’s Bastille Day (live to 800,000 people), the Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm (telecast across Europe), and the BBC Proms.

He has appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Munich Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra Nazionale della Santa Cecilia, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He works with conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Vladimir Jurowski, Sakari Oramo, Manfred Honeck, Daniele Gatti, Kirill Petrenko, Krystof Urbanski, Juraj Valcuha, and others. From 2012-2015 he was resident at the Dortmund Konzerthaus.

His presence on social media makes Ray Chen a pioneer in an artist’s interaction with their audience, utilizing the new opportunities of modern technology. He has been featured in Vogue magazine and is currently releasing his own design of violin case for the industry manufacturer GEWA. Chen’s commitment to music education is paramount, and he inspires the younger generation of music students with his series of self-produced videos combining comedy and music.

Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Ray was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at age 15, where he studied with Aaron Rosand and was supported by Young Concert Artists. He plays the 1715 “Joachim” Stradivarius violin on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. This instrument was once owned by the famed Hungarian violinist, Joseph Joachim (1831-1907).

Visit raychenviolin.com for more.


About Jader Biganmini

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.

A native of Crema, Italy, Jader studied at the Piacenza Music Conservatory and began his career as a musician (clarinet) with Orchestra Sinfonica La Verdi in Milan, later serving as the group’s resident conductor. Captivated by the operatic arias of legends 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; Andrea Chénier at New National Theatre in Tokyo; Rossini’s Stabat Mater at Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy; Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle at Teatro dell’Opera in Rome; 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 Trovatore and 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. 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.