Detroit Symphony Orchestra to tour Florida in mid-January

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Michigan snowbirds who go into withdrawal without the Detroit Symphony Orchestra every winter will get some relief early next year.

On Monday, the DSO announced its plans for a five-day tour in Florida Jan. 16-20. Performances will be held in Miami, West Palm Beach, Gainesville and Sarasota. The DSO has toured at least twice before to Florida with previous music director Leonard Slatkin. The last tour was in 2014.

"It was very clear that going down there where so many Michiganders spend the winter made all kinds of sense," said Anne Parsons, the DSO's president and CEO. "Plus Florida has a very robust presenting culture. So we love to tour Florida and we think it's a great way to introduce Jader (Bignamini, the current music director) and this great chemistry between Jader and the orchestra to the world."

Jader Bignamini and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will head to Florida for a tour in mid-January.

The program will feature cellist Joshua Roman in Dvořak’s "Cello Concerto." Other works on the tour include Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at an Exhibition," Brahms’s "Symphony No. 2," and Jessie Montgomery’s "Banner." Montgomery is an African-American female composer and Parsons said it was important to Bignamini to bring that piece on tour.

"That was a must for Jader to bring an American composer, an African-American composer, a woman," said Parsons.

Parsons has been credited with pushing the DSO onto both the international and national stage. The orchestra toured Japan and China in 2017.

And even though the DSO webcasts its performances, it's different seeing the orchestra in person, she said.

"There's really nothing like seeing and hearing music live," said Parsons. "Also, no concert is like any other concert. It's a unique experience. And welcoming people into that experience, in Florida particularly, where we lose a lot of our folks in the winter, they miss the orchestra. This gives them the chance to feel connection."

The William Davidson Foundation is supporting the tour, along with several other groups including Burns & Wilcox Ltd., the Clinton Family Fund and Joanne Danto & Arnold Weingarden. Bill Davidson believed the DSO was a great "ambassador" for Detroit, Parsons said.

"Being ambassadors for the great quality we have here and the innovative work that we do in Detroit, the community work, we're going to do all of that while we're in Florida," she said. "We'll be connecting with health care facilities, educational  organizations. We're going to squeeze that into the schedule."

Some DSO fans even travel with the orchestra during its tours to "participate" in the tour, for a "mini-vacation."

"We invite people to come on the road with us," said Parsons. "It's really a lot of fun... It's nice to hear the orchestra in other environments."

And Florida audiences will get to experience the incredible talent of the DSO, Parsons said.

"That's really helpful for the orchestra and its morale and its growth to play in other venues," said Parsons. "And they always hit out of the park."

DSO Bass Nicholas Myers, who serves on the musicians’ Orchestra Committee and Artistic Advisory Committees, is looking forward to the tour to not only to show other communities "the incredible music-making the DSO is capable of under Jader," but also to spend time with colleagues.

“Tours give us the chance to have experiences that forge a sense of togetherness and fellowship that no other experience provides,” he said.

The DSO will have a sendoff concert on Jan. 13 at Orchestra Hall before it leaves.

DSO's 2022 Florida tour

Jan. 16 at New World Center in Miami.

Jan. 17 at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.

Jan. 18 at Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Gainesville, presented by University of Florida Arts.

Jan. 20 at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, presented by Sarasota Concert Association.