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Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) chairman Mark Davidoff and president and CEO Anne Parsons have announced that Italian conductor Jader Bignamini has been appointed music director beginning with the 2020-2021 season.

Jader Bignamini was introduced to Detroit audiences when he memorably stepped in for DSO Music Director Laureate Leonard Slatkin to close the 2017-2018 season with concert performances of Puccini’s Turandot.

“There was certainly a feeling of amore a prima vista, meaning ‘love at first sight,’” says Bignamini about those initial performances with the DSO. “It has been such a pleasure and a privilege to discover, in the two years since that first experience, that the connection I felt that day with the extraordinary musicians of the DSO was not just a momentary spark—it is something very real and very exciting. I hope and expect that it will be the inspiration for not just good music, but special music, for many years to come. I also look forward to discovering all that Detroit has to offer. This is such an honor, and I am profoundly grateful to be a part of this iconic institution.”

Jader Bignamini was chosen as the next music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra following a search by an eight-member search committee comprising DSO musicians, board, and staff.

Davidoff says that Bignamini’s selection is aligned with the DSO’s longstanding commitment to creating and sharing extraordinary music with the City of Detroit.

“The DSO has long been an institution that not only prides itself on consistent artistic excellence, but also values its role as a cultural cornerstone for Detroit,” says Davidoff. “We hope and expect that music lovers and DSO supporters will agree that Jader is an inspired choice to lead the DSO into an exciting future filled with incredible and memorable musical moments. He understands the power of music to bring people together, inspire them and to lift them up, and we are confident that, in his role as Music Director, Jader will evoke the kind of passion and performances that have made the DSO such an integral part of this community.”

Also, Parsons says that Bignamini is the right choice to lead the DSO into the future.

“This is a landmark leadership choice at an auspicious time in our history,” says Parsons. “As we celebrate Orchestra Hall’s centennial throughout this season, we are thrilled to kick off the next 100 years of music-making in Detroit with a music director who combines vision, passion, and musicianship with an infectious personality. Jader both embodies and exudes enthusiasm and authenticity, and he has an inspiring vision for building on the musical legacy of the DSO, this city, and its community. When you make an appointment of this importance, it’s critical to achieve consensus and the alignment around Jader has been overpowering. We know that Detroit will love him, and we can’t wait to introduce him to all!”

Bignamini succeeds Leonard Slatkin, who ended his decade-long tenure as DSO Music Director in 2018 and is currently the orchestra’s Music Director Laureate. Jader’s first full season as Music Director will be 2021-2022 when he will conduct 12 weeks in Detroit. 

Photo by Stefano Buldrini.



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