Women, Black composers featured in 2022-2023 DSO season

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Composers of color, women and living composers will all be featured in the new season of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which will also include favorites such as Stravinsky's "Firebird," Beethoven's Eight Symphony and Mahler’s "Resurrection" Symphony.

Unveiled Tuesday, the 2022-23 season of the DSO's PVS Classical Series and PNC Pops Series will include 10 programs conducted by Music Director Jader Bignamini. Of those, at least three are new works that the DSO commissioned or co-commissioned from composers Michael Abels, Jessie Montgomery and Carlos Simon. The work by Simon will be a world premiere trombone concerto with DSO Principal Trombone Kenneth Thompkins.

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

“Detroit has long been a city of outstanding musical innovation,” said Bignamini in a press release. “Our orchestra continues that legacy by bringing to the stage masterpieces of the concert repertoire, plus lesser-known works by voices that should be heard more often and new works by some of today’s most exciting composers. I look forward to bringing these new concerts to life with our incredible DSO musicians for our wonderful audiences.”

The new season, which begins Sept. 30, marks Bignamini's second full season with the DSO. It will also include lesser known works such as Chevalier de Saint-Georges' Second Symphony, Dora Pejačević's Symphony in F-sharp minor and Florence Price's First Symphony, along with orchestral favorites, such as Beethoven's Eight Symphony, Strauss's "Also sprach Zarathustra" and Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony.

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“Few things allow us to live in the moment better than the collective experience of a concert,” said DSO President and CEO Erik Rönmark in a press release. “Hearing great music performed by our exceptional DSO musicians, with inspired leadership from Music Director Jader Bignamini, creates a space for us to pause amid the world’s uncertainties, reflect on who we are, and connect to our shared humanity. The DSO’s 2022-2023 season features a wide, inclusive range of composers and styles, as well as talented guest conductors and soloists from around the globe, and we can’t wait for audiences to join us on this journey.”

All told, the DSO will perform 14 works by living composers during its season, which include two world premieres and six DSO-commissioned works.

Of the six commissioned works, at least three are by Black composers. Montgomery is a New York-based violinist, composer and music educator, who performs and gives workshops across the country and abroad. Abels is an American composer of music for film, best known for the score for Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning film, "Get Out."

And Simon is an Atlanta, Georgia, native whose music ranges from concert music for large and small ensembles to film scores with influences of jazz, gospel, and neo-romanticism, according to his website. Simon has a doctorate degree from the University of Michigan.

Guest soloists during the 2022-23 season will include pianists Emanuel Ax, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Isata Kanneh-Mason, George Li and Daniil Trifonov; cellist Kian Soltani; violinists María Dueñas and Anne Akiko Meyers; soprano Janai Brugger; and mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges.

The DSO's 2022-23 PNC Pops Series, meanwhile, will feature a mix of music favorites, including tributes to ABBA, Elton John and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

DSO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik will lead three programs: "Prohibition," a multimedia musical journey through the era with music channeling Rudy Vallée, Josephine Baker, Kurt Weill and King Oliver; "Sci-Fi Spectacular: Star Wars, Star Trek, and Beyond!" with music from iconic sci-fi film scores; and "Twist & Shout: The Music of the Beatles," which will celebrate the Beatles in America.

For details about the new season, visit dso.org/subscribe.