Juanjo Mena conducts works by Walton, Elgar, and Schumann with pianist Inon Barnatan, March 15–17

March 16 performance webcast for free at dso.org, YouTube, and via Facebook Live as part of DSO’s Live from Orchestra Hall series; March 15 concert broadcast and streamed live on 90.9 WRCJ in Detroit and a network of stations across Michigan

Tickets on sale now at dso.org

Detroit, (February 20, 2024) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will continue its PVS Classical Series at Orchestra Hall on March 15–17 with three concerts conducted by Juanjo Mena and featuring pianist Inon Barnatan.

This program includes Sir William Walton’s Scapino: A Comedy Overture, which was inspired by the Italian commedia dell’Arte character Scapin from Jacques Callot’s Les Trois Pantalons, and Sir Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, 13 musical character sketches of his wife and friends, plus a self-portrait in the grandiose finale. The program will also feature Robert Schumann’s only Piano Concerto with Barnatan as soloist, who brings an “uncommon sensitivity” to everything he plays (The New Yorker). Schumann’s Piano Concerto was inspired and premiered by his wife, Clara Schumann.

Schumann & Elgar’s Enigma will take place Friday, March 15 at 10:45 a.m., Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 17 at 3 p.m. at Orchestra Hall.

The March 16 performance will also be webcast for free at dso.org, YouTube, and via Facebook Live as part of the DSO’s Live from Orchestra Hall series. The March 15 concert will be broadcast and streamed live on 90.9 WRCJ in Detroit and a network of stations across Michigan.

Tickets for Schumann & Elgar’s Enigma 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.

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


PVS Classical Series
Friday, March 15 at 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 at 3 p.m.
Orchestra Hall
Juanjo Mena, conductor
Inon Barnatan, piano
Pianist Inon Barnatan brings “uncommon sensitivity” (The New Yorker) to everything he plays, including Schumann’s only piano concerto, a work inspired and premiered by the composer’s wife, Clara. Elgar’s Enigma Variations is a series of heartfelt impressions of dear friends, each movement as breathtaking as the last. The program begins with William Walton’s exhilarating musical escapade.
WILLIAM WALTON Scapino, A Comedy Overture
ROBERT SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
EDWARD ELGAR Enigma Variations, Op. 36


About Juanjo Mena
Juanjo Mena began his conducting career in his native Spain as Artistic Director of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra in 1999. His uncommon talent was soon recognized internationally with appointments as Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic and Chief Guest Conductor of the Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. In 2011 he was named Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, which he led for seven seasons, taking the orchestra on tours of Europe and Asia and conducting annual televised concerts at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. His BBC tenure featured, notably, “thrilling” (The Guardian) performances of Bruckner symphonies, a cycle of Schubert symphonies, and set new standards for the interpretation of Spanish and South American repertoire. He held the position of Principal Conductor of the Cincinnati May Festival, the longest running choral festival in North America served by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, until 2023. His tenure reinvigorated the festival’s repertoire with previously unheard music and new commissions (Julia Adolphe, James MacMillan, Missy Mazzoli, Ellen Reid, and James Lee III), and expanded its audience both in numbers and in demographic reach.

A sought-after guest conductor, Mena has led Europe’s top ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, the London Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, and the Dresden Philharmonic, among others. He also appears regularly with all the major orchestras in his native Spain. Following his North American debut with the Baltimore Symphony in 2004, he has conducted most of the continent’s leading orchestras. They include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In Asia, he is a regular guest conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo.

During the 2023–2024 season, Mena returns to North America to lead the Teatro Real Orchestra (the Royal Opera of Madrid) at Lincoln Center, after their triumphant debut at Carnegie Hall in 2022. Other guest performances in North America this season include returns to the New York Philharmonic with Hilary Hahn as soloist, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. In Europe, he returns to the Spanish National Orchestra, the Barcelona Symphony, the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, and the BBC Philharmonic, while his most recent debuts have included the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic.

In the world of opera, Mena conducted a new production of Arthur Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake with Marion Cotillard in the leading role, paired with Debussy’s La damoiselle élue staged by Madrid’s Teatro Real in 2022. His operatic repertoire also includes Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Richard Strauss’s Salome, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, and Schoenberg’s Erwartung, as well as productions of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in Genoa, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in Lausanne, Beethoven’s Fidelio, and Britten’s Billy Budd in Bilbao.

His latest release of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 with the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos has been described by The Classical Review as “intensely musical,” “impressive,” and having a “spectacular sound.” Mena’s rich discography with the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos also includes an acclaimed Gabriel Pierné release selected as a Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Weber Symphonies, Ginastera’s orchestral works to mark the composer’s centenary, and new reference recordings of lesser performed Spanish repertoire including Arriaga’s orchestral pieces, works by Albéniz, Montsalvatge, and Turina, as well as three discs of works by Manuel de Falla featuring his opera La Vida Breve. In 2012 Juanjo Mena recorded Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony with the Bergen Philharmonic for the Hyperion label, a disc said to “utterly redefine the terms under which past/current/future Turangalîlas need to be judged” (Gramophone).

Mena studied conducting with Sergiu Celibidache following his musical education at the Madrid Royal Conservatory where he was mentored by Carmelo Bernaola and Enrique García Asensio. In 2016 he was awarded the Spanish National Music Award. He lives with his family in his native Basque Country.

About Inon Barnatan
“One of the most admired pianists of his generation” (The New York Times), Inon Barnatan has established a unique and varied career, equally celebrated as a soloist, curator, and collaborator. Barnatan is a regular soloist with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors and served as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic for three seasons.

Barnatan has performed with the symphony orchestras of Minnesota, Dresden, Barcelona, Stockholm, Ottawa, Innsbruck, Tenerife, and Los Angeles, and has recreated Beethoven’s legendary 1808 concert with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Also passionate about contemporary music, he has commissioned and performed works by many living composers, premiering pieces by Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Avner Dorman, and Andrew Norman, among many others. Barnatan has released a number of albums with Pentatone, the most recent being his Rachamninoff Refelctions album, the centerpiece of which is Barnatan’s own new piano arrangement of Symphonic Dances.

Recent concerto highlights include debuts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Philharmonie Zuidnederland, the LA Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. He gave recitals and chamber music concerts in Ostrava and Schwetzingen. The 2023–2024 season sees Barnatan make return visits to Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. He will also give recitals with the Den Norske Opera, the Leeds international Concert Season, and Wigmore Hall.

The recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, Barnatan is also a sought-after recitalist and chamber musician, and in 2019 he embarked on his first season as music director of La Jolla Music Society’s Summerfest in California, one of the foremost music festivals in the US.

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. Led by Music Director Jader Bignamini since 2020, the DSO makes its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, offering a performance schedule that features the PVS Classical, PNC Pops, Paradise Jazz, and Young People’s Family Concert series. In addition, the DSO presents the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series in metro area venues, as well as 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.

Since its first school concerts a century ago, and particularly since the founding of the Civic Youth Ensembles in 1970, the DSO has been a national leader in bringing the benefits of music education to students, teachers, and families in Detroit and surrounding communities. The DSO remains committed to expanding its participation in the growth and well-being of Detroit through programs like its Detroit Neighborhood Initiative—cultural events co-created with community partners and residents—and Detroit Harmony, a promise to provide an instrument and instruction to any student in the city who wants to learn. With unwavering support from the people of Detroit, the DSO actively pursues a mission to impact lives through the power of unforgettable musical experiences.