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DSO 'Watch Parties' will stream previous Jader Bignamini concerts

Michael H. Hodges
The Detroit News

Longing for more Detroit Symphony Orchestra in your life -- particularly during this trying time?

Good news. Beginning Sunday and continuing the next two Sundays at 3 p.m., the DSO will stream recently named Music Director Jader Bignamini’s past DSO performances on Facebook. Just go to dso.org/watchparties.

(You can also enjoy a wide range of other DSO performances for free just by visiting dso.org/replay.)

All the Bignamini "Watch Parties" will open with musical conversations. This week, Bignamini will talk with Acting Concertmaster Kim Kennedy. And he'll also answer audience questions through the Facebook "chat" function.

Jader Bignamini conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in October.

The Detroit News caught up with Bignamini, who's been trapped in Toronto with his wife and two teenagers during the Covid-19 lockdown, to talk coronavirus, what to do with lots of free time, and how this period is peculiar for musicians as well.

How long have been in Toronto?

Bignamini: "We are here from March 8. It's a lot of time, but we can’t go home. Still, I have a borrowed home here -- a big house with all my family and my assistant. We have a pool table and are playing some. We also have a piano downstairs. So we have a lot of things. We go out just to go to the supermarket."

What brought you to Ontario?

"I was supposed to conduct for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and then 'Aida' for the Canadian Opera. But four days after we landed, they canceled everything. All the same, I prefer to stay here because the situation is better than in Italy."

How are you and your family doing?

"We are all good."

You're from northern Italy, which got hit hard by COVID-19. How are your relatives there?

"The rest of my family, fortunately, are doing very well."

Have you been to Toronto before?

"I have, though it's my family's first time. I was first here three years ago and spent a lot of time looking around and going to see a lot of museums. It’s a very, very beautiful city. But of course, this time we stay here at home."

Is Toronto all locked down?

"Not completely, but there aren’t a lot of people around. The shopping stores are closed. You can find just the supermarkets, the pharmacy and restaurant delivery. I think it’s about the same as in Michigan."

What are you doing while stuck inside?

"Incredibly, in this period I have a lot of free time. In the last seven years, I never had time. But now I can listen to a lot of music, contemporary music, and study and compare different musical scores. I don’t have but one kind of music. I love jazz so much, like Wynton Marsalis' big band. And now I have all the day to listen. It’s incredible but very strange. But I’m appreciating it. We have to be positive."

What are you reading?

I am rereading a biography of Leonard Bernstein.

And what's it like being a musician during this peculiar period?

"We are all doing music alone at home, and that is so sad and strange for us. We need to make music together, and share the music with a lot of people – the biggest number possible."


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Twitter: @mhodgesartguy

DSO Sunday 'Watch Parties' with Music Director Jader Bignamini

3 p.m., April 26: Berlioz - "Symphonie fantastique"

3 p.m. May 3: Mahler - Symphony No. 4

3 p.m. May 10: Puccini - "Turandot"

Go to: dso.org/watchparties