<<back to the archive



Detroit music isn't just for kids - and the scene's stars don't only play in clubs and bars. Founded in 1914, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is one of the city's true cultural jewels. While the current era of the DSO has been heralded as its "most golden age" by Larry Johnson of the Detroit News, this venerable institution has seen its shares of highs and lows.

The orchestra disbanded twice - once in 1942 for financial reasons, and again in 1949 due to the loss of the Music Director and chief financier. In 1946, the DSO abandoned its home at Orchestra Hall for the Detroit Music Hall on Madison Ave., and moved to Ford Auditorium a decade later. The Hall, meanwhile, was converted into the Paradise Theater - a showcase for Jazz greats of the day. By 1970, though, the building had fallen into disrepair and was slated to be demolished. A group of concerned citizens fought to preserve the historic building, having it named to the National Register of Historic Sites and the lengthy restoration process began. Throughout this period the DSO continued to play at Ford Auditorium.

In 1989 after its first trip to Europe, the Orchestra made its triumphant return to the newly renovated Orchestra Hall. The following year, the much sought after, Estonian-born conductor Neeme Järvi was brought in as Music Director. Under Järvi's guidance the reputation of the DSO has continued to grow here and around the world. The orchestra also welcomes a strong cast of guest conductors, most notably world renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra was the first orchestra to be broadcast via radio. This tradition, which began in 1934, continues today on the weekly DSO General Motors series heard around the country. The orchestra has also been featured on PBS and at ceremonial events nation wide. The DSO has a long history of making recordings - a tradition bolstered under Järvi's leadership - and the group's releases have received both critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide.

In the last decade the DSO has regularly hit the road and the skies. In addition to their summer tours of Michigan, the DSO has toured the country and the world. Foreign performances have included numerous visits to Europe and 1998's "Friendship Tour" to Japan.

In recent seasons, the DSO has utilized three venues: its home base Orchestra Hall; the outdoor pavilion at Meadow Brook, which hosts its summer series; and the newly refurbished Opera House, which hosts a handful DSO of performances each year.

This fall the Orchestra will have a world class home in the form of the Max M. Fisher Music Center. "The Max" incorporates the fully restored 1919 Orchestra Hall, as well as an addition that includes a second, more intimate performance space; a music education center, and other amenities to improve the facility.

The DSO has also made a significant investment in the city's cultural future by joining with the Detroit Public Schools System and Detroit Public Television to build the Detroit High School for the Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. The school sits directly adjacent to "The Max" and will open its doors in 2005.

For more information:
3711 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
General: 313-576-5100
Box Office: 313-576-5111

<<back to the archive

All contents ©2003 thedetroiter.com