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Detroit Symphony Orchestra

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Biography

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (aka DSO) was founded in 1914 in Detroit, Michigan. Its most famous music directors were Paul Paray (1951-1962), Antal Doráti (1977-1981), and Neeme Järvi (1990-2005). Paray, Dorati, and Järvi each recorded a large and diverse set of music with the orchestra. Paray’s greatest legacy with the DSO is his recording of Russian and French moderns: Saint-Saens, Ravel, Stravinsky, and others. Doráti is notable for his fondness for Eastern European composers. Järvi, while maintaining an interest in Eastern European composers, was a dedicated exponent and developer of American classical and jazz music.

Järvi has continued to conduct the DSO occasionally in the years since his retirement from the music directorship. Peter Oundjian of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (notably the cousin of Monty Python’s Eric Idle) is currently serving as interim music director.

The DSO performed the world’s first radio broadcast of a symphonic concert on February 10, 1922 with pianist Artur Schnabel, and became the first nationally broadcast radio orchestra on the Ford Sunday Evening Hour, later Ford Symphony Hour from 1934 to 1942 on the Columbia Broadcast System. The DSO is currently heard by one million listeners a week on the nationwide broadcast, the General Motors’ “Mark of Excellence” radio series. Its live concert series is attended by 450,000 people a year and includes a series of free educational concerts for children begun in 1926. The symphony has produced many recordings on the Victor, London, Decca, Mercury, RCA, Chandos and DSO labels. The DSO recording of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, with Paul Paray, was the first CD to win the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy.

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