New Year’s Eve at The Grand

Celebrate the New Year with a stunning collection of musical talent from the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and OperaDelaware, alongside Broadway’s Tony-Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell. The evening will consist of a two-acts beginning with a program of traditional New Year’s concert music, including your favorite Viennese waltzes and polkas. The second act will feature the talents of Mr. Stokes Mitchell and will be a celebration of Broadway standards throughout the years.

Spend New Year’s Eve with us as we ring in new and exciting times to come!

Performance begins at 7:30pm on Friday, December 31, 2021

Tickets are $155 per person and include a champagne toast.

PUBLIC ON-SALE: Friday, September 24, 2021 at 10:00am

The DSO Is Going Digital!

We are truly excited to announce important changes for this coming season’s programming and format. The 2020-2021 DSO season is going digital!

Throughout this pandemic, we have been working diligently to develop a plan that would give both patrons and musicians with safest way to proceed with the season. That critical consideration, coupled with the suspension of activities at The Grand Opera House for the foreseeable future, has led us to re-think how we will bring the sights and sounds of the DSO to you in the coming months. Embracing this challenge, we are pleased to announce our re-imagined 2020-2021 season!

This season, our concerts will be recorded live and then be offered to our subscribers online. This digital format will incorporate state of the art audio and video production, and it allows all of us the freedom of listening to – and viewing – the Delaware Symphony in the comfort and safety of our homes.

The repertoire for these productions is a wealth of musical riches to create a season of orchestral delights. Programs will include symphonies by Haydn, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as Aaron Copland’s stunning suite from the ballet Appalachian Spring, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. In addition, we will bring you shorter works by important American composers like Ruth Crawford Seeger, George Walker, and Alfred I. du Pont winner Claude Baker.

We are confident that you will enjoy the intimacy, safety, and freedom that this format will provide. Each presentation will include special introductions by Music Director David Amado, as well as up close and personal viewing of our amazing musicians doing what they do best.

We want to thank you for your support and patience as we’ve gone through this planning process. Our resiliency and ability to shift to this new model for the coming season proves again that the DSO is devoted to bringing the best to you, our loyal patrons. We need you now more than ever, and your confidence in us means everything!

All of us at the DSO look forward to once again making music!

To see our revised season schedule and repertoire, click here!

Information On Our Upcoming Season

The time is almost here for us to share with you our plans for the upcoming season! Now more than ever, music must heal our community.

We are, of course, very mindful of the need to stay safe and healthy during the ongoing COVID-19 situation in our state. Thus, we have modified our usual season structure to better follow the appropriate health guidelines. We are also preparing multiple contingency plans with the health of our patrons and musicians in mind. We want everyone to feel safe as they enjoy the unique experience of live classical music.

DSO Executive Director J.C. Barker and Music Director David Amado have created a video below that will explain all the changes coming next season: including a new format and schedule. David even gives us a sample of the upcoming repertoire and guest artists! We hope you enjoy this preview, and as always, thank you for your support!



DSO Names New Executive Director

Incoming exec J.C. Barker brings with him more than 30 years of industry experience.

WILMINGTON, DE—After a months-long search, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors has selected J.C. Barker to head the state’s only professional symphony orchestra. Barker comes to the DSO from the Mobile Symphony after a tenure of almost 13 years with that organization, most recently as General Manager and Director of Artistic Administration. He will begin his tenure at the DSO on May 1.

During his time at the Mobile Symphony, Barker oversaw an orchestra of 75 musicians, developed ties with corporate and civic leaders, and assisted with the development of large capital projects. Like many emerging leaders in orchestra administration, his professional experience began as a classically trained orchestral musician. Because of this he brings a unique understanding of the relationships between musicians, boards of directors, staff, and community.

“I am eager and excited to be joining such an outstanding organization,” said Barker. “The DSO is comprised of the region’s finest and most dedicated musicians. I look forward to working with Music Director David Amado, the musicians and the staff to continue bringing world class performances to the First State.”

A graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, Barker will bring both executive and musical expertise to the DSO. His professional relationship with Amado spans many years, and they enjoy a great working relationship.

“J.C. has a sterling reputation in the symphony world,” said Amado. “We know he’ll bring us energy, fresh ideas, and exemplary management and people skills —which together with his years of experience will propel the DSO to new heights.”

Barker was selected after a search that began last fall after Alan Jordan announced his departure from the DSO. The search was headed by a committee that included both DSO Board members and symphony musicians.

“We have been following J.C.’s career for some time now and are very pleased that he has agreed to move to Delaware to lead the orchestra to new levels of success,” said Charles Babcock, President of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.

COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends,
In an effort to keep our patrons, musicians, and staff healthy and safe, and to do our part to slow the spread of the coronavirus—We have made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of our Delaware Symphony Orchestra season
We too were looking forward to wonderful concerts at the Grand, the Gold Ballroom, and Lewes. We were filled with anticipation to play The Planets, Schubert’s Octet, play for thousands of kids in our Explorer concerts, and finish the season with Beethoven’s ultimate testament to triumph over adversity—a hymn to the power of the human spirit—his 9th Symphony. And how we need that affirmation now more than ever.
Not only does this crisis deprive us of all of the music we need most right now, but it is also having a dire impact on the soul of our institution—our musicians—whose spring season with the DSO, and other orchestras, has suddenly vanished, putting many in fragile circumstances.  
A robust fundraising effort is still underway to raise sufficient new gifts to allow us to cover all or most of what our musicians would have been paid had these concerts not been canceled. Through the generosity of our patrons and the community, we have been able to raise the majority of the funds needed to complete our obligations to our musicians! 
In the midst of this crisis, we have been busy planning a wonderful 2020-2021 season and I look forward to sharing that news with you very soon. 
We want to thank you for your patience and support through this difficult time.

Thank you!

To our subscribers and ticket holders:
You can help us by donating the value of your tickets back to the Delaware Symphony Orchestra!
We hope you’ll consider joining the growing list of subscribers who have already done so to help us keep our musicians and the DSO going through this crisis. 
In the coming days, our staff and volunteers will be reaching out to you. They’ll be able to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, check your email inboxes for an email sent to you with instructions on how to donate!
If you are not a season subscriber, a single-ticket holder, or want to make an additional contribution to your symphony orchestra, you can help by contributing via our website’s DONATE page

July 4th at the Riverfront

The concert will take place on Thursday, July 4th, beginning at 8:00 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Celebrate July 4th with a free concert at the Riverfront!

The Fourth of July celebration begins at 2:00 p.m. with local bands, food vendors, crab feast tent, children’s games, tours of the Kalmar Nyckel, and other family-themed activities.


The DSO performance will begin at 8:00 p.m., followed by the fireworks display at about 9:30 p.m.

Other events will take place along the Riverfront throughout the day.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of man’s landing on the moon later in July, the DSO’s program will feature music about space.  From the opening of Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, which was immortalized in Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, to John Williams’ scores for E. T. and Star Wars, music from Star Trek and the film, Apollo 13, the concert will also include “Mars” and “Jupiter” from Gustav Holst’s The Planets and Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade.  The spectacular fireworks display will be preceeded by a Fourth of July tradition: Piotr Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with seven of the DSO’s William Kerrigan Bells of Remembrance.


“We are pleased that the Delaware Symphony Orchestra will again be part of our annual Fourth of July commemoration,” said Mayor Purzycki. “Families and friends from across the City and around the region are in for a musical treat as we come together on our Nation’s birthday. Tina, Megan and I invite you to bring a chair or a blanket and enjoy a wonderful, fun-filled day and evening along the river.”  

A.I. duPont Composer’s Award


Alfred I. duPont

Claude Baker, 2020-2021
A. I. duPont Award Winner


About the Award

Alfred I. duPont (1864-1935) was a remarkable man. He was a businessman, musician, an inventor, a communicator, and a philanthropist. Of all his accomplishments, one of the greatest is evident today in the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. duPont had a great passion for music. He played four instruments and took great pleasure in composing music, mostly marches. His infectious enthusiasm enabled him to gather enough musicians to form an orchestra in Wilmington, which he rehearsed and conducted. At first, the group was referred to as “Al’s Band,” since there were few strings and the men marched in parades on national holidays. Mr. duPont, however, always referred to his ensemble as an orchestra.

In time, the group was dubbed the “Tankopanicum Orchestra” by Mr. duPont and was considered the most popular musical organization in Wilmington at the turn of the twentieth century. The word “Tankopanicum” is a traditional Native American name associated with the Brandywine Creek. It means “rushing waters of the Brandywine” and refers to the gorge that runs from the Bancroft Mill up to Rockland.

The first rehearsals were held in the DuPont Company’s machine shop. When a piano was needed, the musicians gathered in the parlor of the duPont family residence, Swamp Hall. By 1904, rehearsals were being held in the Hagley Community House at the foot of Breck’s Lane.

The orchestra was composed of many of the duPont powder mill workers as well as other local citizens. Some of the early members included the superintendent of a cotton mill, a family doctor, a millwright apprentice, a blacksmith, a machinist, a hardware store worker, and many members of the duPont family. Mr. duPont conducted and played first violin, clarinet, cornet, or the piano, depending on what was needed.

Mr. duPont continued with the “Tankopanicum Orchestra” until his hearing loss forced him to stop. The orchestra gradually changed and grew over the years, becoming “The Wilmington Orchestra,” “The Wilmington Symphony Club,” “The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra,” and finally, “The Delaware Symphony Orchestra.”

The A. I. duPont Composer’s Award is made possible by the Alfred I. duPont Foundation. It was instituted in 1985 by the DSO to honor him. This award recognizes a distinguished living American composer or conductor who has made a significant contribution in the field of contemporary classical music. Past winners are among the most celebrated composers of recent history, including Morton Gould, John Adams, Robert Ward, Phillip Glass, George Crumb, Libby Larsen, Jennifer Higdon, Aaron Jay Kernis, Kevin Puts, Christopher Theofanidis, and Andre Previn.


DSO Season




William Howard Schuman


George Rochberg


Morton Gould


John Corigliano
(b. 1938)


John Adams
(b. 1947)


Ellen Zwilich
(b. 1939)


Stephen Albert


David Diamond


William Bolcom
(b. 1938)


Robert Ward


Joseph Schwantner
(b. 1943)


Stephen Paulus


Joan Tower
(b. 1938)


Lukas Foss


Richard Wernick
(b. 1934)


Christopher Rouse


George Walker


Steve Reich


David Lang
(b. 1957)


Michael Torke
(b. 1961)


Gunther Schuller


Michael Daughterty
(b. 1954)


Elliott Carter


Phillip Glass
(b. 1937)


George Crumb
(b. 1929)


Libby Larsen
(b. 1950)


Jennifer Higdon
(b. 1962)


Presented 2014

Aaron Jay Kernis
(b. 1960)


Kevin Puts
(b. 1972)


Christopher Theofanidis


André Previn


David Ludwig


Robert Paterson


Missy Mazzoli


Claude Baker



July 4th at the Riverfront in Wilmington

Join us on the 4th of July at the Riverfront!

Family-themed activities begin at 12:30 p.m.

Freedom Celebration Fireworks Show caps off the night!

The DSO will perform at the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park at 8:00 p.m.

The park is located behind the Wilmington train station, along Rosa Parks Drive and the Christina River.


Guests are encouraged to park at the many different lots around the Orange and Market Street areas.

Free parking is also available at the Shipyard Shops, Frawley Stadium, and the Chase Center on the Riverfront. 

Directions on the above locations can be found here:

For the full schedule of activities, click here.

Parking and admission are free!

The DSO will be playing a variety of American music, including Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, and Variations on a Shaker Melody, selections from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, music from Star Wars, and Sousa marches. The concert will end with the 1812 Overture.

DSO-Brasil Guitar Duo CD Release

On Friday, April 13, the much anticipated DSO – Brasil Guitar Duo CD will be released on the Naxos Label. It is the world premiere recording of Leo Brouwer’s The Book of Signs and Paulo Bellinati’s Concert Cabolco

It will be available for download on Itunes, ArikvMusic, Amazon, and Naxos Direct. CDs will be available for purchase from the DSO.


Click here for DSO Music Director David Amado’s commentary on the collaboration:



DSO at Longwood Gardens

The Delaware Symphony Orchestra, led by David Amado, features dazzling violinist Jennifer Koh in an evening of Mendelssohn and Brahms. Known for her intense and commanding performances, Koh joins the Delaware Symphony Orchestra on Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, one of the greatest violin concertos of all time and his last major orchestral work. 


 Jennifer Koh, violin

Recognized for her intense, commanding performances, violinist Jennifer Koh performs with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. She believes that all the arts and music of the past and present form a continuum and has premiered more than 60 works written especially for her. 

Koh has performed with leading orchestras worldwide. This season she performs a new concerto written for her by Christopher Cerrone and launches Limitless, which celebrates the collaborative relationship between composer and performer through duo commissions and contemporary works.

Koh also continues her many existing projects, which include solo works, recital series, and commissions for new music. Koh is the artistic director of arco collaborative, an artist-driven nonprofit that fosters a better understanding of our world through a musical dialogue inspired by ideas and the communities around us.

Koh began playing the violin by chance, but made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11, and went on to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. In 2016, she was named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year.

David Amado, DSO Music Director and Conductor

The DSO music director since 2003, David Amado leads the DSO with musical excellence, connecting with audiences through fine musicianship and energetic performances. Dedicated to musical enrichment, Amado continues his tradition of popular pre-concert talks, and he also teaches and coaches young conductors at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music and at the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine. In addition to his Delaware post, Amado was also named Music Director of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra in Florida in April 2016. His national and international conducting appearances have brought increasing recognition to the DSO, and in Delaware he received the 2014 Governor’s Award for the Arts.

Explorer Expierience Postponed

Wilmington, Delaware – March 6, 2018.  The Delaware Symphony Orchestra announces that the Explorer Concerts for school children, scheduled to take place tomorrow, Wednesday, March 7, at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, and Thursday, March 8, at Dover High School in Dover, have been postponed due to weather conditions predicted from this evening through Thursday morning.

DSO Executive Director Alan Jordan said, “The safety of the students, our musicians and guest performers, and others involved in these performances is first and foremost in our thinking. We will reschedule these concerts for late May of 2018.”

Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra

2018 marks the 380th anniversary of the Kalmar Nyckel’s landing in America and the start of the New Sweden colony. To celebrate that historical moment, The Grand, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, and The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation will welcome the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra from Sweden on its first North American tour. With Music Director Stefan Solyom at the helm, this revered orchestra will play a program that includes Dances from Galanta by Zoltan Kodaly, the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, appropriately known as “From the New World.” “The Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra plays with intensity. It must be heard.”   


DSO at Longwood Gardens

With a program sure to entertain, join us for an evening that commemorates one of the most influential composers of all time. The Delaware Symphony Orchestra, led by David Amado, will present a program with highly acclaimed pianist Peter Serkin. Known for his emotive and thought-provoking performances, Serkin joins the Delaware Symphony on Piano Concerto No. 2, the concerto that marked Beethoven’s debut and the beginning of his professional career.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Tatiana and Gerret Copeland

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