2012 ANNUAL MEETING: DSO REVEALS BLUEPRINT 2023

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BESTS FISCAL PROJECTIONS

REFLECTS ON 125 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE

Phillip Wm. Fisher elected as new board chair

DETROIT, (December 13, 2012) – Just days before the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) marks 125 years since its first concert, this afternoon’s annual meeting revealed Blueprint 2023: the framework of a comprehensive plan to secure the DSO’s future as a beacon of artistic excellence, educational significance, and patron & community commitment – all while sounding brightly from the historic Woodward Corridor.

As the DSO claims its leadership role in Detroit’s emerging renaissance, orchestra leadership is forging ahead on a pathway that will lead the fourth oldest symphony orchestra in the United States into the next 125 years, determinedly driven by its mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.

Recapitalization_________________________________________________________________________
In addressing the members of the corporation, Recapitalization Task Force chairman Stephen Strome, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Handleman Company and a member of the DSO Executive Committee, began his remarks by referencing the restructuring plan implemented in 2008 when the staff was cut by one-third, permanent staff pay cuts were instituted and substantial changes to staff healthcare and pension plans were enacted.

Since then, members of IATSE, the union representing DSO/Orchestra Hall stage hands and technicians, agreed to cuts and freezes; Music Director Leonard Slatkin voluntarily offered a substantial wage cut in 2009 and has agreed to two contract extensions.

Following a substantial six-month labor stoppage, musicians of the DSO agreed to a three-year, concessionary contract of $36.3 million, representing a 19.5 percent decrease over the previous three-year expenditures; and on May 31, 2012, the DSO announced a successful resolution with its five-bank lending syndicate, removing a $54 million liability from the DSO balance sheet.

The DSO restructuring plan was codified by AlixPartners, a global firm of senior business and consulting professionals that specializes in improving corporate financial and operational performance.

The Recapitalization Task Force, a collaborative team representing DSO stakeholder groups (board, governing members, musicians, staff) gathered regularly since May to develop a long-term financial plan for the DSO which provides a documented pathway to future balanced operations. No less than 20 different iterations of modeling for earned revenues, expenses and contributed revenues were initially presented. Ultimately, five different financial scenarios were polished, presented and challenged by the full task force. In the end, they committed to a plan that secures a sustainable, mission-minded DSO, with a vision that includes:
• An ensemble of distinction: retaining and attracting musicians of the highest caliber
• An innovative and progressive institution: responding, adapting, and leading against the backdrop of an ever-changing landscape
• A patron-centered culture: DSO patrons are at the heart of the DSO mission
• A destination home for the arts, arts education, and community programming: taking the Max M. Fisher Music Center to the next level of sounding brightly from the Woodward Corridor
• A deeper and broader scope of serving: additional concerts, neighborhood residencies, digital and web initiatives and education programs led by audience and student demand
• A business model in fiscal balance: there can be no artistic or educational excellence without financial viability; conversely, there can be no viability without excellence

“I am pleased to have been asked to work with such a talented group of professionals on a project which is so critical to the future of one of Detroit’s cultural gems,” said Strome. “The recapitalization task force has delivered to the Executive Committee and the DSO management team a very granular Microsoft Excel based income and expense model, which details a financial operating plan for the next 10 years. I have every confidence that the management team, with the oversight of the Board, has the capabilities to inspire the community and execute this plan so Detroiters will continue to have the opportunity to enjoy the artistic and educational excellence provided by the DSO.”

Blueprint 2023 posits that more concerts in more venues across our community coupled with rebuilding audiences, sustaining a robust annual fund and slowing the growth rate of expenses is a winning formula for recapitalization. Strome reported that

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the framework for a sustainable, viable future for the DSO is predicated on four, interconnected considerations:

1. Build and maintain an impactful audience size
By 2023, the DSO aims to grow total annual earned income to $10.6 million, a return to results achieved regularly prior to 2008. At the heart of this growth target lies a doubling of the number of Classical subscribing households from 3,038 in 2011 to 6,000 by 2017. With a 2013 goal of 4,000, year-to-date subscribing households already number 4,008. These new audiences will come from a culmination of the DSO’s wide array of products, with equal emphasis on Orchestra Hall as well as Neighborhood-based subscription concerts.

2. Nurture a robust, realistic and sustainable level of annual giving
The DSO is historically among the nation’s most productive in terms of annual fundraising (No. 1 outside of Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco). Continuing in that tradition, the Blueprint calls for a $14 million annual fund (currently $12 million) by 2023. Maintaining this level of support will depend on earning modest growth across the five main areas of annual giving: Board, Governing Members, community giving, corporate and foundation support. As part of this growth, the DSO aims to double the size of its individual donor base over 2010 levels to 8,500 individuals by 2017. Since 2010, the overall number of donors making an annual contribution to the DSO has already grown by 100 percent.

3. Across all expenditures, prioritize the investment in people
The third dimension to the Blueprint is managing expenses across the operation to an annual growth rate of 2.3 percent, honoring a simple maxim: overall expense growth must slow while earned and annual contributed revenues return to pre-2008 levels. There are three cost categories, which include:
• Investments in Musicians and Staff – all-in orchestra and staff costs (wages, benefits, complement, weeks, etc) grow an average of 3.0 percent and 2.4 percent per year, respectively
• Direct Concert Costs (investments like guest artists, conductors, and concert marketing) – held to average annual growth of 1.7 percent per year
• Indirect Concert Costs (investments like educational programming, as well as administration expenses, which indirectly benefit the production of concerts) – held to average annual growth of 0.8 percent per year

The task force enthusiastically acknowledges that retaining and attracting talent is one of the primary contributors to the DSO’s ability to achieve excellence in pursuit of the mission.

4. Achieve adequate long-term capitalization in terms of net endowment
Statistically, the non-profit organizations (arts, healthcare, higher education) that best navigated the fiscal waters of the 2008-10 recession had endowments equal to four or more times the operating budget and no lingering capital debt. For years, in light of property debt, the DSO has operated with no net endowment.
However, in light of last season’s settlement with its consortium of banks related to the Max M. Fisher Music Center, the organization is now free of that original capital debt.
It is clear that, over the next 10 years, the DSO will need to raise a “generation-defining” level of new permanent and living endowment funds. While this has long been understood, the Recapitalization Task Force believes its work has brought great clarity and consensus around the DSO’s comprehensive economic framework through 2023 and the role endowment recapitalization must play.

Credible earned and contributed revenue plans + flexible, slowed-growth-rate expense plans + a “generation-defining” commitment to new endowment = mission-minded, balanced DSO budgets.

Governance and culture__________________________________________________________________
The DSO’s Blueprint also includes a rethinking of the organization’s governance structure. In October 2011 Board Chairman Stanley Frankel recruited Bernard Robertson, former chair of the DSO strategic planning process and current chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee, to lead a task force to study term limits, board size, and to recommend a model for DSO governance. A 15-member cross-constituency Task Force of board, governing members, musicians, and staff was named and adopted three objectives:
1. Understand and define the DSO culture and determine what the culture should be in relation to our values, our vision, and our strategy
2. Identify steps the DSO can take in moving from the current culture to the preferred culture
3. Clarify how the Board can best function in support of this cultural change; with specific recommendations regarding governance practices (role clarity, communications, decision making, composition, assessment, etc.)

In pursuit of these objectives, the task force considered the purpose and role of the board, its composition, and its performance and expectations before ending with a plan for its structure. In designing the new governance model, the task force completed its work in consideration of three guiding principles: 1) to have a Board that is, to a person, fully engaged in the fiscal oversight, strategic thinking, and cultural stewardship of the DSO; 2) to infuse creative thinking and innovation into how the DSO strives to achieve both artistic vitality and organizational sustainability; and 3) to incorporate the voice of the broad community into how the DSO shapes its engagement strategy, program delivery, and priority setting in pursuit of increased relevance and impact.
The outcome is a governance model that embraces three leadership spheres of influence, all existing within the context of DSO culture with lines of communication, inspiration and innovation intertwined. The board of directors, the fiduciary cohort, is charged with issues of accountability, strategic thinking and cultural stewardship (18 to 25 members). A board of trustees, an historic dimension of DSO governance already provided for in the by-laws, will be tasked with the critical function of fostering and nurturing innovation, creativity and organizational learning (50-75 members). Finally, the governing members, the DSO’s highly successful activation of the corporation’s voting members, has been embraced as the third member of the governance family, and in addition to its electing role, is tasked with the functions of outreach, advocacy, and philanthropy. The number of governing members is unlimited.

One DSO Culture

Current members of the DSO governance family will be afforded the opportunity to choose which governing function they would like to assume. The plan is expected to be fully implemented by Spring 2013.

Board Chairman Election________________________________________________________________________
At the 2012 board of directors’ meeting, which followed the annual meeting of the members, Phillip Wm. Fisher, a member of the DSO Board since 2009, was elected chairman. Mr. Fisher has served on the Board of Directors as an Officer at Large, as well as on the Executive Committee, and chaired the Technology Taskforce, which provided the leadership that has fueled the DSO’s domination in the digital space. Fisher was a leadership voice on, and a member of, the DSO Governance & Culture Task Force. He has been a strong advocate of a more inclusive culture within the DSO family as well as an advocate for more transparent governance bodies and processes. He has also championed greater and more effective engagement with the community, patrons, audiences, and other stakeholders. Fisher’s new leadership role is underscored by his passion for the importance of a great orchestra to the future of Detroit and the region. He succeeds Stanley Frankel, who served as chairman from 2009-2012 with an uncompromising focus on the DSO’s recovery.

Outside the DSO, Mr. Fisher’s community commitments are varied. He is Vice Chairman of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation located in Southfield, board member and Investment Committee member of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, and also serves as an Executive Committee member of the New Economy Initiative. He is Founder of Mission Throttle, whose vision is to accelerate the evolution of philanthropy. He is a board member on the Council of Michigan Foundations, and the United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit. Mr. Fisher additionally sits on the Investment Committees of the United Jewish Charities in New York City, The Fisher Group, and Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills. Mr. Fisher was recently elected to the Board of The Henry Ford. He serves on the board of the United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Starfish Family Services. Mr. Fisher is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Fisher School of Business at The Ohio State University and a National Council Member at the Skandalaris Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

For more than 25 years, Mr. Fisher served as a principal of The Fisher Group, a single family office serving the asset management needs of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher family. Mr. Fisher served as Chairman of Durakon Industries during the 1990s and was a board member of Charter One Bank, headquartered in Cleveland, for over seven years before it was sold to Royal Bank of Scotland in 2003. A leading advocate of children’s causes throughout the state, he is a member of the Children’s Leadership Council of Michigan and also served on Governor Rick Snyder’s Early Childhood Task Force.

“I have been privileged to work with two incredible, generous leaders, and I look forward to this new chapter as we enter the DSO’s next 125 years,” said DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons.

On behalf of the entire organization, President and CEO Anne Parsons and Bryan Kennedy, a tenured member of the DSO horn section, expressed their gratitude for Mr. Frankel’s commitment to the DSO’s future. Mr. Frankel’s chairmanship came in the wake of the 2008 recession, after which he was tasked with leading the restructuring effort outlined above. During his tenure, Mr. Frankel oversaw the successful resolution of the DSO’s real estate debt. The DSO also launched the Neighborhood Concert Series, and achieved unprecedented fundraising for operations and project support. Mr. Frankel commissioned the recapitalization and governance processes and oversaw the initiation and implementation of the Technology Taskforce that has helped to make the DSO an industry front runner in digital technology and outreach. Frankel has been elected chairman emeritus and will remain actively involved with the DSO and its Board.

“Today we celebrate Stanley’s inspirational leadership, advocacy and support. He has left his imprint on the Frankel legacy to our beloved organization. I aspire to claim this same success as a link in the chain of our family’s legacy to the DSO. Thanks to Stanley, all stakeholders will come into partnership to grow sustainability, collaboration and community,” said Fisher.

During the Summer of 2012, Frankel appointed Bruce Peterson, a member of the Governance and Culture Task Force, the Nominating and Governance Committee, and first vice chair of the DSO Board, to lead a succession planning task force of the Nominating and Governance Committee. They were tasked with the customary assignment of identifying and cultivating current and future leaders of the DSO and were asked, in planning for the DSO’s future board leadership, to give a high priority to then-emerging findings of both the Recapitalization and Governance & Culture task forces.

DSO Board Officer Appointments
The following Directors were appointed as Officers of Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Inc.:

Phillip Wm. Fisher, Founder, Mission Throttle, L3C, chairman
Stanley Frankel, Principal, Frankel Associates, chairman emeritus
Anne Parsons, DSO President and CEO, president
Mark A. Davidoff, Michigan Managing Partner, Deloitte., vice chair
Bruce D. Peterson, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, DTE Energy Company, vice chair
Glenda D. Price, President, Detroit Public School Foundation, secretary
Arthur A. Weiss, Partner, Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, PC, treasurer

2011-12: A Year in Review___________________________________________________________

Operating results at a glance

2012

Actual

2012

Budget

2011

Actual

2010

Actual

Total earned revenue +$5.29 +$5.66 +$1.37 +$7.2
Total contributed revenue +$13.01 +$12.32 +$9.92 +$11.8
Other revenue, including rental and retail business +$1.12 +$1.28 +$0.62 +$0.8
Endowment draw and endowed fund earnings +$3.34 +$3.21 +$3.76 +$4.3
Expenses -$25.58 -$25.49 -$17.44 -$29.4
Net Unrestricted operating deficit = ($2.81)

=($3.02)

= ($1.77) = ($5.3)

(dollars in millions – year ended August 31)

(dollars in millions – year ended August 31)

The 2011-12 season resulted in an operating deficit of $2.81 million, which was a favorable variance of $201,000 versus the budgeted operating deficit of $3.02 million. The 2011 season included a work stoppage.

Earned Revenue (Subscriptions, Tickets, Rentals) – attendance crushes expectations

Attendance numbers for the DSO’s 2011-12 season rank the Detroit Symphony Orchestra among the most highly-attended in the nation. Classical season attendance shattered expectations while the inaugural seasons of the Neighborhood Concert Series and “Live from Orchestra Hall” series of HD webcasts propelled the DSO’s audience over 200,000. This positions the DSO among Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco in terms of classical audience. Total classical concert attendance reached 77,156 — fully 16 percent over projections of 65,000, driven by excellent programming, patron-minded pricing, new neighborhood audiences, and back-to-basics marketing strategies. Ninety percent of subscribers for the 2011-12 classical, pops and jazz series renewed for the 2012-13 season, fueling a 12 percent increase in subscription revenue over the 2011-12 season, the first subscription sales growth in the history of the Max M. Fisher Music Center. Average paid attendance improved across the board, with classical up 13 percent, pops up 17 percent and jazz up 37 percent.

Through the first seven weeks of programming in the Fall 2012 season, DSO reports 26,788 tickets were sold for classical concerts – a 3 percent increase against 2011 and a 21 percent increase against the same time period in 2009. Average single ticket sales per concert in all genres are up and we have sold 1,750 more single tickets this year over Fall of 2011.

The summer collaboration with the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe attracted over 5,600 attendees and 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the DSO’s annual “Salute to America” concerts at The Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village. Total ticket sales of 29,145 made 2012 the third highest attended since the program’s inception. Despite inclement weather resulting in the cancellation of the final performance, the $500,000 sales goal was surpassed.

The DSO rental business, which attracts events, weddings, celebrations, presentations, and business meetings to the Max M. Fisher Music Center, opened the doors to just over 20,000 people and generated nearly $500,000 in net income – nearly double the results of 2011. Highlights included a three-day event with Chrysler titled “Symphony of Brands,” TED X Detroit, Comcast Employee Broadcast, Triumph Church NYE Services, Crain’s Automotive News Awards and DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin’s wedding reception.

Many previous partners returned last season, including the 20th annual Concert of Colors; Arab American Museum Gala; Wayne State University’s Law School Graduation, Medical School Orientation, Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and Mondays at the Max with Wayne State University School of Music; Interlochen’s 50th Anniversary Concert; City Year Ripples of Hope Dinner; Karmanos Race for the Cure Celebration; Heroes of Breast Cancer Awards; Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the Second Annual Wine & Dine in the D.

The Max also welcomed new partners including Habitat for Humanity, who hosted their 25th Anniversary Oscar Party, Gilda’s Club Jokes & Jams fundraiser and Forgotten Harvest fundraiser with Saturday Night Live comedian, Seth Meyers.

Contributed Revenue (Fundraising) – budget exceeded; annual fund grows by record 33%

In fiscal year 2012, the DSO raised $13.01 million in annual, event, and project contributions, exceeding its highly ambitious goal of $12.32 million. This is approximately a one-third increase over fiscal year 2011, and a 10 percent increase over FY10. The overall number of donors has doubled to 9,288 since FY10, indicating a much deeper level of engagement with the community.
• With an average gift of $24,000, DSO Board members contributed $2.1 million
• The new Governing Members program attracted 107 new families in FY12, increasing the total participation to 270 families — an increase of nearly 70 percent in just one year. Governing Members contributed over $1.6 million in FY12, a 26 percent increase over the program’s inaugural year in FY11
• Corporate support was up 26 percent at $1.9 million
• Foundation grants grew by 50 percent over FY11, with support exceeding $3.4 million

The DSO continues to count among its most substantial, consistent and extraordinarily-generous donors, Mr. and Mrs. James B. Nicholson/PVS Chemicals Inc., Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Frankel/Samuel and Jean Frankel Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation.

Significantly-generous and enduring philanthropic support of the DSO mission has been given by the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Kid Rock & The Twisted Brown Trucker Band, and Dan Gilbert/Quicken Loans Family of Companies.

Finally, very generous leadership annual support, project grants, and event sponsorships were received by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, McGregor Fund, DTE Energy Foundation, Mrs. Barbara Van Dusen, Mrs. Marjorie S. Fisher, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Chrysler Foundation, MASCO Corporation Foundation, Ford Motor Company, The Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman Foundation, Erb Foundation, Emory M. Ford, Jr. + Endowment, Peter D. and Julie Fisher Cummings Family Foundation, Target Corporation, Ford Foundation, Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC, and the Volunteer Council of the DSO.

Largely inspired by the DSO’s dedication to modernizing the role of a 21st century orchestra through digital and community outreach, FY12 saw extraordinary generosity from several major new donors.
• The newly-founded William Davidson Foundation gave $1 million in support of the DSO’s Neighborhood Concert Series and the Orchestra’s triumphant return to Carnegie Hall in May 2013
• General Motors Foundation returned to DSO’s donor base with a $50,000 gift. Along with the Davidson Foundation grant, General Motors Foundation’s gift of $350,000 in FY13 completed the funding required for the Orchestra’s triumphant return to Carnegie Hall
• The Chrysler Foundation returned to DSO’s donor base with a $180,000 gift
• Adobe and Art Van Furniture both joined the DSO donors family at the $50,000 level
• Talmer Bank and Trust also made first time gifts toward the Annual Fund and Ford House concerts totaling $50,000

The 2011-12 season marked the inaugural year of the DSO’s Community Support Month initiative. As the first concert-based fundraising initiative in DSO history, the program’s first year (including Community Support Month campaigns in November, 2011 and May, 2012) earned a total of over $2.3 million from 2,150 new donors for the 2011-12 Annual Fund.

Through November 30, 2012, DSO reports fundraising of nearly $4.0 million in gifts and pledges, with the 2012-13 campaign ahead of last year’s campaign results in important metrics, including expanding the donor base by an additional 1,000 through the same time period. The first Community Support Month of the season, held in November 2012, generated $929,000 in contributions.

Endowment Results

The DSO benefits from endowment funds held by the organization as well as by third parties. The DSO’s beginning endowment fund balances on Sept. 1, 2011 were $50.8 million. After debt settlement, earnings, customary draws in support of the DSO mission, and extraordinary transfers to fund the deficit and cash liquidity, the ending balance across held and third-party funds on Aug. 31, 2012 totaled $29.8 million. Of this amount, $3.5 million is available as unrestricted and DSO-held endowment.

Beg Balance Net Draw & Liquidity End Balance
as of Gains/Loss Transfer to and Debt as of
9/1/2011 Rebalancing Operations (1) Service (1) 8/31/2012 Restr Unrestr (2)
Total DSO Controlled Accounts $ 30,859 $ 827 $ (1,765) $ (20,210) $ 9,711 $ 6,174 $ 3,537
Total Third Party Controlled Accounts $ 19,948 $ 20,110
TOTAL INVESTMENTS $ 50,807 $ 29,821
(1) The approved endowment spending rate remains at 5.5% of the rolling twelve-quarter average market value of the endowment. The actual distribution rate for the year ending August 31, 2012 was 69.4%, as a percent of the beginning endowment balance plus gains. A significant portion of this distribution was related to the settlement of the debt in May 2012. As of August 31, 2011, actual distribution rate as a percent of the beginning endowment balance plus gains was 19.3%.
(2) The August 31, 2011 prior year amount drawn on the previous line of credit totaling $5 million was eliminated upon settlement of the debt. The unrestricted balance available as of August 31, 2012 totaled $3.5 million.

Debt Resolution

The DSO announced in May 2012 that it reached a successful resolution with its five-bank lending syndicate, fully satisfying the DSO’s obligations on the Max M. Fisher Music Center. The terms of the settlement are sealed by a confidentiality agreement. This agreement removed the original $54 million liability from the DSO’s balance sheet, formerly a significant source of financial strain.

Artistic Excellence

The 2011-12 season had many incredible high points to celebrate. The orchestra returned to work in September to perform once again under the baton of our Music Director, Leonard Slatkin, and began a Classical season featuring venerable guest artists and conductors with whom the DSO maintains longstanding relationships, such as Jerzy Semkow, former DSO Resident Conductor Thomas Wilkins, Hans Graf, André Raphel, Nicholas McGegan, and our Music Director Emeritus Neeme Järvi among others. Last season also saw the DSO subscription debut of several faces new to the Orchestra Hall stage: Louis Langrée, Joana Carneiro, Matthew Halls, and Hélène Bouchez.

The 2011-12 Pops series began with a bang, featuring internationally acclaimed artists such as Chris Botti, Anne Hampton Callaway, George Takei of Star Trek fame, and our own newly-appointed Principal Pops Conductor, Jeff Tyzik. Maestro Slatkin conducted the 2011 Holiday Pops concerts, a first.

The Orchestra performed free community concerts in the at Eastern Michigan University, Orchestra Hall, the Somerset Collection, Perfecting Church, Woodhaven High School and the Detroit School for the Arts. The Orchestra also performed a number of concerts for school children throughout the year, both in schools and at Orchestra Hall. The season closed with the Orchestra’s first appearance at Chene Park in more than 20 years and a DSO feature performance at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.

Auditions
Our musicians have continued to work incredibly hard to fill vacancies in the Orchestra, both last season and this season as well. In the 2011-12 season we held nine auditions and we welcomed 10 new musicians to our orchestra. These include our new Concertmaster, Yoonshin Song; Principal Flute, David Buck; Principal Percussion, Joe Becker; English Horn, Monica Fosnaugh; David LeDoux and Peter McCaffrey, both cellists; Violinists Sheryl Hwangbo and Rachel Klaus; and our 4th Horn, Johanna Yarbrough.

Recordings
In May, 2012 the DSO released a CD on the Naxos label of music featuring the works of contemporary composer Alla Borzova. Also, this season the DSO will record works for several new CDs which will be released in the coming months featuring the music of Rachmaninoff, Copland and Cindy McTee. This season the DSO will also continue to add to a collection of digital releases of John Williams’ concerti with the digital release of the Williams Cello Concerto and his Bassoon Concerto called The Five Sacred Trees through Naxos.

The Most Accessible Orchestra on the Planet

A chief DSO goal is to “mean more to more people.” As a community-supported orchestra, the DSO acknowledges its dependence not only on those community members who regularly give generously to the orchestra, but also on each individual who attends a concert. Becoming the most accessible orchestra on the planet is paramount to achieving a deeper meaning among a broader audience base. In the 2012 fiscal year, the DSO was successful in this regard on several fronts.

Soundcard—inspired by Leonard Slatkin, in 2011-12 we introduced Soundcard — the $25, all-access student pass for Classical, Pops and Jazz concerts at Orchestra Hall. In its inaugural year, we issued 1,110 cards to students who attended 1,350 concerts
• Detroit Rush Initiative—sponsored by The Ford Foundation anyone with a Detroit address can now purchase a ticket to any classical or jazz concert two weeks out for just $15, down from $20 thanks to the new sponsorship. In the 2011-12 season, 759 Detroit residents took advantage of this program
Patron-minded pricing—reduced ticket prices for classical concerts were retained this season to maintain accessibility. Prices reflect that of 1999 levels, allowing patrons to attend an Orchestra Hall concert for as little as $15 with half the seats at $25 or less
Volunteer Council—The DSO Volunteer Council raised nearly $100,000 in net contributions in support of the 2011-12. VC President Elect Deborah Savoie was introduced to the Board of Directors at the October Board Meeting, and has been training under Janet Ankers, current VC president, who generously served for three years as Volunteer Council President. Ankers and Savoie worked together with the Volunteer Council Board of Directors to adopt a new strategic plan that embraces a new vision and mission, as well as restructures officer roles and responsibilities for the new election approaching this summer.

Community Concert Series—In September, the DTE Energy Foundation renewed its support of the DSO’s annual week of free community concerts, but with a twist. Venues were invited to nominate themselves to receive a free DSO performance, which resulted in more than 100 nominations, and over 5,000 comments on dso.org in support of each. Concerts in Mt. Clemens, Clarkston, Anchor Bay, Wayne and Ann Arbor “sold out” in just one day

Digital Initiatives
The DSO continues its quest to become “the most accessible orchestra on the planet” by using its growing digital capacity to reach a wider global audience and provide more tools for connecting local patrons with the orchestra. Radio stations, newspapers, and blogs nationwide trumpeted a number of key initiatives while the classical music industry’s leading magazine, Musical America, featured the DSO as its lead case study for its special report on “Digital Media Marketing in the Arts.” While much work is still in its early stages, the DSO used the 2011-12 season to establish strong foundations and core operational business practices that will enable vigorous expansion and deepening engagement through digital activity over the coming years, including:

Live from Orchestra Hall webcasts – With the launch of the 2011-12 Live from Orchestra Hall season (presented by the Ford Motor Company, made possible with the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and with additional support from Pure Michigan), the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to make its classical concerts available for free to a global audience via the web and mobile devices. Our 23 live programs reached a global audience of over 120,000 viewers from more than 75 countries who watched for an average of 25 minutes. For the 2012-13 season, average watch time has grown to over 30 minutes and the DSO is on track to double viewership. Partnerships with top international classical music content sites like Paraclassics.com and ClassicalTV.com has driven much of that growth and the DSO plans to expand its worldwide network of distribution partners accordingly.

In an era where travel and commercial recording opportunities are less prevalent, Live from Orchestra Hall has helped the DSO maintain an international presence and share Maestro Slatkin’s artistic vision, the musicians’ virtuosity, a stellar collection of guest artists, and important contemporary works like Mason Bates’ B-sides and David Del Tredici’s Final Alice with audiences worldwide.

The video production capacity enabled by Live from Orchestra Hall also made a number of outreach and promotional activities possible, including a free MaxCast projection in October of our “Cirque de la Symphonie” concerts onto the streets of midtown Detroit in conjunction with the DLECTRICITY festival, the airing of the DSO’s rendition of “Go Get ‘Em Tigers” on the Jumbotron at Comerica Park for games three and four of the World Series, and the inclusion of an excerpt from the critically acclaimed performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony during Maestro Slatkin’s appearance on Charlie Rose earlier this fall.

Online Box Office – Powered by the implementation of the new Tessitura patron database, in May 2012 the DSO launched a new online box office that significantly upgraded, streamlined, and simplified online ticketing. The impact was immediate. Three months into the 2012-13 season, nearly 60 percent of all single tickets have been sold through the website, compared to approximately 35 percent the previous year. Patrons purchasing online currently spend $4.50 more per ticket than patrons purchasing via other channels.

In past seasons, online donations added to ticket purchases peaked at $7,500; in 2012-13 the integrated donation checkout page has the DSO on track to top $20,000 in online donations added to ticket purchases.

Preparing for the shift in online consumer behavior to mobile platforms, a soft launch early this season of sales via the DSO to Go mobile app and mobile DSO website has mobile traffic already accounting for 1.5 percent of all online sales, a number expected to grow to 8-10 percent by the 2013-14 season. In February 2013 the DSO will launch a new online renewal and subscription center which should result in similar online trends for subscription activity. Continuing to improve the online sales experience provides patrons with no hassle service and allows DSO staff to focus on providing more detailed, responsive, and proactive service to our subscribers and donors.

Social Media—Downloads of the free DSO to Go mobile app have exploded in the last year. Of over 6,200 total downloads, 4,400 have taken place in the last 12 months, the second season since the app’s launch. Participation on Facebook has increased 100 percent for the second consecutive year, to nearly 14,000 followers, with 29% of Facebook followers now coming from abroad, a further indicator of the international reach of the DSO’s Live from Orchestra Hall webcasts. Twitter followers of @detroitsymphony are up 79 percent and approaching 10,000, with two notable bumps in Twitter the past year activity due to collaborations with other artists. During the DSO’s performance with Kid Rock in May 2012, #KidRockDSO propelled the DSO to trending status on Twitter. The #classicalworldseries bet initiated by Leonard Slatkin and San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas brought in over 625,000 impressions for the two orchestras during the World Series. By expanding the DSO’s presence on these sites, in addition to budding presences on Google Plus, Instagram, and Pinterest, the DSO can quickly and effectively exchange information with a broad cross-section of its patron base while attracting new audiences.

Jazz and Education Initiatives continue to grow

Paradise Jazz Series
Single ticket revenue reached $98,200, 44 percent above the 2010-11 season. With total attendance at 6,310, the number of tickets sold in 2011-12 exceeded 2010-11 by 37 percent. The season opened with the virtuosic bassist Stanley Clarke, with other season highlights including a performance by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, on the 70th anniversary of when the same group played opening night of the Paradise Jazz Theatre, and a season finale with Terence Blanchard and Poncho Sanchez. Last season Blanchard was named the DSO’s Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair, and assisted in curating the acts for the 2012-13 Paradise Jazz Series.

Each Paradise Jazz Series concert was preceded by a Music Box Performance of Civic Jazz Live, which added to the overall experience for DSO jazz audiences and provides incredible performance opportunities for our Civic Jazz students.

Civic Youth Ensembles
The DSO’s Civic Youth Ensemble program is one of the preeminent and most comprehensive youth training programs in America. The CYE training programs encapsulate classical, jazz, and wind studies; as well as chamber music—training more than 1,000 per week. The CYE program contains 11 ensembles: Civic Orchestra, Civic Philharmonic, Civic Sinfonia, Civic String Ensemble I and II, Civic Jazz Orchestra, Civic Jazz Band I, Civic Jazz Band II, Civic Jazz Band III (at Michigan State University Community Music School), Civic Jazz Combo program and Civic Wind Ensemble.

The DSO Education Department led efforts to create an alliance of music learning partners in which the DSO serves as the hub of activity. Initial partners include Sphinx Organization Preparatory, Wayne State University, Michigan State University Community Music School, Detroit Children’s Choir and Oakland University Music Preparatory Division. Through this, the DSO facilitated and/or trained more than 1,054 students per week in 2012.

High-Profile Public Events

Kid Rock
On Saturday, May 12, 2012, at 8 p.m., Kid Rock, DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin and the men and women of the DSO took the stage of Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre for a one-night only, sold-out fundraising concert that raised a critical $1 million for the Orchestra. A crowd of 5,000 Kid Rock fans from across the nation and loyal DSO patrons flooded the theatre to observe the world premiere of Kid Rock’s hits arranged with orchestra accompaniment. The orchestrations were done by world-renowned arranger Rob Mathes. The event was originally conceived by Kid Rock and Rock Ventures Founder Dan Gilbert. The event was presented by Rock Ventures, Jimmy John’s, Olympia Entertainment, and Made in Detroit.

The $1 million helps put DSO musicians in schools, churches, retirement communities, nursing homes, hospitals, community centers and other gathering places across Southeast Michigan, making classical music accessible to everyone through the Neighborhood Residency Initiative.

Heroes Gala
Some 1,500 DSO fans gathered in Orchestra Hall on June 12, 2012 to honor DSO board member Lloyd Reuss. The event raised more than $600,000 in proceeds, surpassing the event’s fundraising goal. The DSO founded the Heroes Gala in honor of the remarkable men and women who impact the vision, values, and success of the organization.

Following a special concert dedicated to Reuss, guests enjoyed dinner in The Music Box, serenaded by a Spanish guitarist and dancing in the Atrium. The host committee for the event was led by a group of prominent metro Detroit community members including Jim Nicholson, Stanley Frankel, Mark Reuss, and Peter Remington.

Classical Roots
At the 12th annual DSO Classical Roots Celebration on March 17, 2012, DSO Board Member Dr. William F. Pickard announced that he and Global Automotive Alliance were making a $500,000 endowment gift to establish the Arthur L. Johnson African American Artist Fund. The Fund will support the DSO’s efforts to seasonally perform, commission and/or document/record works by African American composers and to hire African American guest artists.

The celebration included a special tribute to community leader and Classical Roots Celebration Founder Arthur L. Johnson, who died in November 2011. A DSO board member since 1979, Dr. Johnson was a tireless advocate for the DSO, leaving a remarkable and enduring legacy. Dr. Johnson founded the Classical Roots Celebration in 2001 to further a shared mission and vision of increasing opportunities for African Americans in classical music. For this and countless other contributions, the DSO board elected Dr. Johnson to the post of Lifetime Member in December 2011.

Approximately 250 guests attended the 2012 Classical Roots Gala. It was one of the most successful fundraising years in the event’s 12-year history, raising over $175,000.

Neighborhood Residency Initiative (NRI)

Neighborhood Concert Series
Now in its second season, the Neighborhood Residency Initiative began last December with the inaugural season of the Neighborhood Concert Series, the initiative’s keystone product. The DSO announced the series on October 10, 2011, and began selling subscriptions the same day. With 26 neighborhood concerts performed, 12,664 tickets were purchased with an average paid house fill rate of 74 percent. Total ticket revenue earned for the entire neighborhood series was $261,172. The season closed with 1,773 subscriptions sold to 1,179 households

Rather than drawing audiences away from Orchestra Hall, the opposite has occurred: seventy-five percent of households had no subscription history at Orchestra Hall, and 11 percent had not subscribed since the 2008-09 season. In our analysis, no patrons cancelled an existing Orchestra Hall subscription in favor of the Neighborhood Series, and 14 percent of Neighborhood subscribers were also Orchestra Hall subscribers. Building on the Orchestra’s concerts at its home in Orchestra Hall, the initiative’s keystone product is the Neighborhood Concert Series, which includes residencies in six metro Detroit neighborhoods: Beverly Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Grosse Pointe, Southfield and West Bloomfield Township.

With the second season beginning December 16, subscription sales have already surpassed revenue goals and are 65 percent ahead of sales for last season at the same time. With 1,003 subscribing households, the Neighborhood Concert Series subscription base has already grown 16 percent over its first season.

The Neighborhood Concert Series is fully and generously sponsored by the William Davidson Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The series is presented by WRCJ 90.9 FM.

The NRI has expanded the Orchestra’s existing presence in these six communities through a variety of community programs supported by individual musicians and small ensembles. These activities include educational partnerships, chamber music performances, senior engagement concerts, programs in hospitals and participation in civic events. A few highlights:

Chamber Music
Six Neighborhood Chamber Recitals were presented starting in December of 2011. These intimate evenings are designed to showcase our artists as soloists and chamber musicians; performances took place across our NRI neighborhoods in small and often unique venues ranging from Planterra Conservatory in West Bloomfield to the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn. Over a dozen DSO musicians participated, creating diverse programs spanning standard classical repertoire to contemporary works. More than 500 patrons enjoyed these concerts.

Neighborhood Chamber Recitals will continue and grow in the 2012-2013 season. In addition, a series of thematic preview concerts will be introduced, focused on the works of Beethoven and Ives. Over 30 DSO musicians will participate in these concerts and more than 1,500 patrons will enjoy these performances.

Life Enrichment Programs
Last February, the NRI piloted a series of intimate, small ensemble performances in partnership with American House Senior Living Communities. These concerts took place at American House residential communities in the NRI neighborhoods of Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn and Southfield. Nearly 300 seniors took part in these engaging programs, each of which concluded with a reception with the artists. Many of the residents were former DSO subscribers or other music lovers no longer physically able to attend concerts. As a result of these successful pilots we will announce a new collaboration with American House Senior Living Communities in January of 2013. Funded by American House, it is planned for DSO musicians to visit over 20 residential communities, touching the lives of more than 1,000 seniors. The program will also be geographically expanded well beyond the six NRI neighborhoods.

Over the course of the 2011-2012 season, the NRI began a comprehensive partnership with Detroit Medical Center Children’s Hospital. Aiming to both connect deeply and personally with patients as well as to enhance the hospital environment, a series of activities were explored: collaborating with board certified music therapists in several patient music therapy sessions, presenting a series of lobby concerts and participating in a pair of DMC community events including the annual memorial concert for patients and families. These activities will continue and expand during the 2012-2013 season. Most recently the Getty Foundation announced our selection for a Community Investment to support these initiatives.

Education
Beginning in the fall of 2011, a series of three days of sectionals was launched in support of our Civic Youth Ensemble Programs. Each day of sectionals directly engaged over 400 students and provided each of four orchestra ensembles support with preparing repertoire for upcoming concerts at the Max M. Fisher Music Center. Over 30 DSO musicians participated in these focused sessions coaching students on performance etiquette and various facets of ensemble playing such as rhythm, intonation and phrasing.

In addition a series of Inspiration Days introduced individual DSO musicians to students in our Honda Power of Dreams program. Over 200 students and parents were fascinated to learn about our artist’s paths to becoming professional musicians as well as to learn about them personally beyond the stage.

Sectionals and Inspiration Days will continue and grow during the 2012-13 season. Six days of sectionals are planned and this schedule now includes our Wind Ensemble. Over 600 students and 40 DSO musicians will participate this season. Moreover, seven DSO musicians are providing weekly coaching to 25 students in our Civic Youth Ensemble Chamber Music program. Finally, 3 days of sectionals will be introduced to support our Power of Dreams program this year along with three inspiration days. 18 DSO musicians will participate, serving over 200 students in this program.

Instrumental sectional and Inspiration Days are fully and generously sponsored by the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.

Avanti
In July, 2012 the DSO partnered with the Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Save Our Symphony to mint a new, six-day intensive summer experience for young musicians ages 13-18, called Avanti. The students (150 total, from 50 metro Detroit municipalities) had the opportunity to train with 47 DSO musicians for a week at Derby Middle School in Birmingham, Mich. The program culminated in two chamber performances and a live side-by-side performance on the Orchestra Hall stage that collectively reached 1,000 audience members. The program raised $32,000 in donations and operated on a balanced budget. Plans are underway to expand Avanti in the summer of 2013 to include three ensembles with capacity for 50 more students.

New Board Members_________________________________________________________________________

The following board members were elected at the DSO Annual Meeting:

Richard L. DeVore
Richard L. DeVore is an Executive Vice President of PNC Bank, a member of the PNC Financial Services Group. Prior to DeVore’s current responsibilities, he was Credit Executive for Commercial Lending and oversaw Credit Training for PNC Bank. In addition, DeVore served as National City Bank’s Chief Credit Officer with overall responsibility for the National City credit risk management organization and chaired the National City credit risk management committee.

DeVore joined PNC in 1991 and has over 34 years of experience in financial institutions. He has held numerous positions within PNC, namely in the areas of credit and marketing. DeVore was named
Executive Vice President in 2001. DeVore holds a bachelors degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in business from Wayne State University, where he taught banking and finance courses for four years. In addition, he completed the Wharton School of Advanced Risk Management Course in 2008.

DeVore chairs the PNC Foundation in Southeast Michigan. He also serves as a board member for Business Leaders for Michigan, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, Detroit Economic Club, the Parade Company, Forgotten Harvest, Detroit Regional Chamber, and Ann Arbor SPARK.

Samuel Fogleman
Samuel Fogleman is a CPA licensed in the states of Michigan, Arizona, and California. He is a partner with KPMG and has provided audit and advisory services to clients for more than 26 years with extensive experience in the automotive, technology, global manufacturing and mining industries.

Fogleman has substantial experience leading and coordinating global internal control and compliance engagements for companies such as General Motors, Chrysler, Freeport McMoRan (formerly Phelps Dodge) and Amkor Technology.

Fogleman serves as one of KPMG’s leaders for the services they provide to General Motors. In addition to coordinating their services to GM, Fogleman serves as a “sounding board” to key GM personnel by providing leading practices and developing areas in corporate governance, risk and controls.

Aside from his employment at KPMG, Fogleman is a guest lecturer at California State University Chico and Arizona State University, and he is a published author in KPMG and industry publications. Fogleman has written on internal controls, regulatory compliance, and supply chain risk management.

Fogleman has been a patron of the arts throughout his career, including underwriting the creation of new music for DuoWest, a piano-cello duo, and leading KPMG’s sponsorship of Detroit Passport To The Arts.

Joe Mullany
Detroit Medical Center (DMC) President Joe Mullany moves to President and CEO of the health system in January 2013. In this new position, he oversees the eight hospitals and institutions and 14,000 employees of the DMC, a leading regional healthcare system with a mission of excellence in clinical care, research and medical education.

At the helm of a healthcare system that has provided quality care to the state and the region for more than 150 years, Mullany will lead the DMC into the next era in healthcare, building upon the system’s legacy as an industry leader in innovation, best practices and healthcare excellence.

The DMC is already on track to align with the sweeping changes that will come with national healthcare reform. In 2012, DMC became one of only 32 National Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), a new concept of healthcare reimbursement that is based on keeping patients well.

Healthcare reform and other industry changes are linked to electronic medical record (EMR), a system that helps ensure, patient safety, quality and operational efficiencies. In 2007, DMC led the industry in EMR by bringing all eight hospitals online.

That kind of leadership as well as the impressive credentials of DMC’s clinical staff is why DMC is continually being recognized nationally. The system earned high honors in 20 specialties in the U.S. News Media & World Report’s “2011-2012 Best Hospitals” rankings. DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan was honored with nine pediatric specialties in those same rankings.

Three DMC Hospitals have earned MAGNET Status, an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Recognition that is designated for nursing excellence and is one of the highest distinctions a hospital can receive.

In addition, each year, hundreds of DMC doctors included in the lists of America’s Best Doctors, America’s Top Docs and HOUR Detroit M=magazine’s “Top Docs.”

Mullany is the past president of the New England Region of Vanguard Health Systems, which purchased DMC in 2010, and made an immediate investment of $850 million for new construction and extensive upgrades. The expansion and enhancements ensure the DMC not only continues to provide quality health care but that it does so in an environment that is pleasant and comfortable for patients and families.

DMC includes DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, DMC Harper University Hospital, DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital, DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital, DMC Surgery Hospital, and DMC Cardiovascular Institute.

The following board member was elected in 2011:

Janice Uhlig
Janice Uhlig was appointed Executive Director of General Motors (GM) Global Compensation in December 2009. Janice has the responsibility for executive compensation and benefits, global pay plans and benefits, International Assignment Services, along with HR policy. Uhlig is also charged to work with the Special Master of the UST to develop pay plans for the Top 100 that meet the public interest standard. In 2010, Uhlig was named Secretary of the Executive Compensation Committee of the General Motors LLC Board of Directors.

During 2009, Uhlig led GM’s Global Human Resources team in the restructuring activities related to the bankruptcy and subsequent 363 sale.

Uhlig joined the Global Human Resources team in 2007 as the Executive Director of GM’s Health Care Team. In this role, Uhlig was part of the team that negotiated the historic settlement with the UAW resulting in the Independent Health Care Trust. Prior to this agreement, GM was one of the largest private purchasers of health care in the U.S., having spent $4.6 billion in 2007 covering the health care costs of 1.0 million employees, retirees and their dependents.

Uhlig was an executive in GM’s Finance Staff where she provided executive support to the Chairman and his Automotive Leadership Group. Prior to this appointment, Uhlig was the Chief Financial Officer at CAMI Automotive, a joint venture between GM and Suzuki, located in Ontario, Canada. In this capacity, she was responsible for all corporate finance and treasury operations for the joint venture.
Uhlig began her GM career in Canada as a Co-op Student while completing her undergraduate degree. She progressed through many finance positions at GM’s Canadian Headquarters before joining GM’s North American Operations in Detroit, Michigan in 1996. During that time, she served in various capacities including executive roles at General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing and Product Development.

In 2010, Uhlig was named to the Board of Directors of the GM Foundation.
Uhlig is an Executive Committee member of Inforum’s AutomotiveNEXT initiative. In 2012, Uhlig was named one of “25 Women Making a Difference” by the Michigan Women’s Foundation. She is a member of The Conference Board’s Executive Compensation Council and Global Human Resources Council. Janice was a member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Board of Directors from 2007 to 2010, and is a member of the Executive Leadership team for the Detroit Go Red for Women campaign.

Uhlig is from Southern Ontario, Canada, where she earned her Honours Bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario and her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from York University in Toronto, Ontario. Janice and her husband, Mark Uhlig, reside in Oakland Township.

DSO: 125 Years of Excellence______________________________________________________
When a group of local musicians and prominent citizens joined forces in 1887 to create the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, they did more than plan a season of symphonic music. They planted the seeds for one of our nation’s longest-lasting – and forward-looking – orchestras.

The DSO is America’s fourth-oldest orchestra, a trendsetter in recording and broadcast history, a home for world-renowned conductors and musicians, and a local leader in community engagement and educational outreach. At its core, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is Detroit; through prosperity and economic despair, the DSO has withered and thrived, faced rejection and welcomed redemption, all while never forgetting its glorious legacy and always ready to embrace the promise of a bright future.

Preludes
Twenty-three years after that first concert at the Detroit Opera House, the DSO ceased operations for the first time. It took four years, but the DSO resumed concerts in 1914 after 10 young society women each contributed $100 and pledged to find 100 ad¬ditional subscribers to donate $10 to the DSO.

The DSO began a quick ascent to the top ranks of American orchestras when it hired Ossip Gabrilowitsch as conductor. Close friends with Rachmaninoff (who came to perform his Third Piano Concerto with the DSO), and son-in-law of Mark Twain, Gabrilowitsch insisted the orchestra needed a home of its own. The board agreed and Orchestra Hall, designed by C. Howard Crane, the same architect who designed the Fox Theatre, was completed in just four months on Woodward Avenue.

The DSO made world history –and set the tone for decades of technological innovation – in 1922 with the world’s first ra¬dio broadcast of a symphonic concert on WWJ. In the following years, the DSO made its first of many visits to New York’s Carn¬egie Hall, released its first recording, and become the country’s most listened to orchestra courtesy of the Ford Symphony Hour, heard weekly in millions of homes nationwide.

As the Great Depression took its toll on Detroit, the DSO was not spared. The orchestra moved out of Orchestra Hall in 1939, three years after Gabrilowitsch’s untimely death, and saddled with debt, disbanded twice in the subsequent 12 years.

In 1951 Detroit’s leading corporations each pledged $10,000, paving the way for the DSO to resume operations in celebration of the city’s 250th anniversary. Five years later, the DSO moved into its new riverfront home at Ford Auditorium. Over the next four decades, under a succession of brilliant maestros, the orchestra’s reputation was restored and it became one of the most recorded orchestras in the country. Beyond the concert hall, the DSO’s signature sound could be heard in the backgrounds of dozens of Motown hits.

Going Home
The stage was set for the modern DSO with a return to Orchestra Hall in 1989, paired with the hiring of a charismatic and much sought-after new music director, Neeme Järvi.

After the orchestra departed Orchestra Hall in 1939, the venue had enjoyed a brief golden age as the Paradise Jazz Theatre, Detroit’s premiere black entertainment destination, a must-stop tour location for Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and other jazz stars. As the Big Band era waned, the Paradise closed and the hall fell further and further into disrepair. (Today the DSO pays homage to that jazz legacy by presenting the Paradise Jazz Series each season.)

Orchestra Hall was facing the wrecking ball in 1970 when then DSO bassoonist Paul Ganson learned of its fate and organized DSO musicians and community members in a campaign to save the hall. The hall was spared and the DSO made the decision in 1987 to return home. In 1989, after significant restoration was completed, Yo-Yo Ma performed for a sold-out crowd to herald the start of a new era for the DSO.

Maestro Järvi and the DSO made more than 40 recordings in their fifteen years together, embarked on multiple tours to Europe and Asia, and garnered acclaim from packed audiences and critics worldwide. In 2003, the DSO opened the Max M. Fisher Music Center, an extension to Orchestra Hall which features a 450-seat second performance hall, the 15,000-square-foot Pincus Music Education Center, home to the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles, and expanded lobby, rehearsal, and administrative facilities. The opening of the Max was the first step in the redevelopment of Woodward Avenue and the renaissance of midtown Detroit that continues today.

Setting the Stage
In 2007 the DSO again made headlines when it announced that Leonard Slatkin, dubbed “America’s Music Director” by The Los Angeles Times, would become the DSO’s next Music Director. A seven time Grammy Winner with a reputation for raising the profile of great orchestras from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., Maestro Slatkin quickly threw himself into all areas of the orchestra’s operations, from programming concerts to meeting patrons to marketing.

The orchestra began a relationship with the Naxos label, making it one of the only American orchestras signed to a major label. A commitment to African-American music and musicians started 34 years ago continues through the annual Classical Roots Concert and Celebration and the African-American fellowship program. The Civic Youth Ensembles, which began as a single ensemble of less than 100 students, has grown to include over 1,000 students who come to the Max each week to rehearse and perform. New partnerships have brought events ranging from TedXDetroit to the prestigious Sphinx Competition to the Max.

In the wake of the 2008 economic collapse, the DSO suffered along with the rest of Detroit. The endowment plummeted, budgets were frozen, long-time staff members were laid off, and from October 2010 to April 2011, six months of DSO concerts were cancelled while management and musicians struggled over a new contract that would address new economic realities while preserving the institution’s commitment to excellence.

New Worlds
On April 9, 2011, a standing-room only crowd at Orchestra Hall leapt to their feet to greet the DSO with a thunderous ovation. Whether Mozart or Motown, Schubert or Seger, J.S. Bach or Kid Rock, music is in the city’s blood and no one could keep the audiences away once the DSO had returned.

Most fittingly, that first concert back ended with the “New World” Symphony. Adding to the achievements of the last 25 years, and eager to learn from the lessons of the previous year, in 2011-12 the DSO has instituted a number a groundbreaking programs that signal a new commitment to all those enthusiastic fans, around Southeast Michigan and across the globe.

The DSO can now be heard not only at Orchestra Hall, but throughout the metro area on a weekly basis. With new series established in neighborhoods from Dearborn to Grosse Pointe to Oakland County, audiences have turned out in the thousands to hear their DSO in their neighborhood. Small groups of DSO musicians also regularly perform in schools, community centers, houses of worship, art galleries, even hospitals – anywhere there’s an audience eager to hear the DSO.

Recalling its pioneering role as the first orchestra to broadcast live on the radio, the DSO launched Live from Orchestra Hall, making it the only orchestra in the world to webcast its concerts to a global audience – for free – at dso.org/live and on mobile devices through the DSO to Go mobile app.

At home and abroad, the DSO is fast becoming the most accessible orchestra on the planet. Whether it’s a DSO trio performing in a coffee shop in Southfield or a couple watching the DSO on their iPad from a coffee shop in South Korea, a packed house for Beethoven at Orchestra Hall or a capacity turnout for Kid Rock at the Fox, a classroom full of budding young musicians Downriver or a free community concert Downtown, there is no venue too small or too large for the DSO.

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