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!

2021 Digital Season

We invite you to join us and enjoy the magic of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra from the comfort of your living room! You can watch our Classics Series concerts presented in a digital format. With the purchase of a ticket, you and your household will have access to each performance for 30 days after the premiere date.

Our remaining Classics Series concerts will be premiering in order on the following dates:

Classics 5: May 11, 2021 (available until June 10th, 2021)

Classics 6: June 8, 2021 (available until July 8th, 2021)


Click below to purchase tickets.

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Chamber Series Subscription

Recorded live at the DuPont Country Club, our 2020 Chamber Series will be available in its entirety in a digital format! Purchase your subscription today and get access to three intimate concert experience which you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.

The DSO 2020 Chamber Series will premiere in the following at noon each day:

Chamber 1: October 27, 2020

Chamber 2: November 24, 2020

Chamber 3: December 15, 2020


Click below to purchase a subscription.


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

Classics Series Concert 5: Fate and Hope – Lewes

Classics Series: Concert 5 Lewes

Fate and Hope

From David Amado:

We celebrate Beethoven’s 250th year with a performance of his most famous, and most influential work: his 9th Symphony. Unlike any symphony that preceded it, his 9th, with its use of chorus and singers, and its unprecedented length, opened floodgates of creativity for generations of composers. Joined by the University of Delaware Symphonic Choir and regional soloists, the Delaware Symphony will join orchestras around the globe as we commemorate 250 years of one of Western music’s most revered masters. The first half features Brahms’s Shicksalslied—a masterful setting of Hölderlin’s text—that places Brahms in the pantheon of greats along with Beethoven.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 1:00 p.m.





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.”  

Chamber Series Concert 1

Chamber Series: Concert 1

DSO Chamber Orchestra


PLEASE NOTE THE VENUE CHANGE: the baby grand, at the Grand Opera House

Photos courtesy of Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography

Classics Series Concert 5: Fate and Hope

Classics Series: Concert 5

Fate and Hope

From David Amado:

We celebrate Beethoven’s 250th year with a performance of his most famous, and most influential work: his 9th Symphony. Unlike any symphony that preceded it, his 9th, with its use of chorus and singers, and its unprecedented length, opened floodgates of creativity for generations of composers. Joined by the University of Delaware Symphonic Choir and regional soloists, the Delaware Symphony will join orchestras around the globe as we commemorate 250 years of one of Western music’s most revered masters. The first half features Brahms’s Shicksalslied—a masterful setting of Hölderlin’s text—that places Brahms in the pantheon of greats along with Beethoven.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.



This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland.

Classics Series Concert 4: The Spirit World

Classics Series: Concert 4

The Spirit World

From David Amado:

New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill makes his Delaware debut with Mozart’s only Clarinet Concerto. Written at the end of Mozart’s short life, the clarinet concerto feels operatic, walking a gorgeously fine line between wistful melancholy and joyful virtuosity. We open with Weber’s overture to his opera Oberon, and close with Holst’s The Planets a virtuoso tour de force which has become a sonic template for big orchestral drama. The fact that many of the ideas, motives, textures, and sound palates from The Planets have been lifted wholesale by today’s most successful film composers is a testament to Holst’s talent for brilliant orchestration, and cinematic sweep.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.

Read about clarinetist Anthony McGill here.



This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland.

Classics Series Concert 3: False Starts

Classics Series: Concert 3

False Starts

From David Amado:

Our third Classics concert features two works which have become concert standards after difficult premiers. Rachmaninoff’s expansive and dramatic (and rarely performed) First Symphony receives its Delaware premier 123 years after its disastrously under-rehearsed first performance. Not yet the full-fledged post-Romantic we associate with his later works, this Symphony shows Rachmaninoff as the undisputed heir to the Russian symphonic spirit. French cellist Camille Thomas joins the DSO for Elgar’s Cello Concerto—a contemplative, probing, deeply personal, and private work from the end of Elgar’s career. It synthesizes a lifetime of ideas into a touching and personal work— initially a flop, only to be made popular, and a staple of the repertoire, years after its composition by cellist Jacqueline du Pre in the 1960s. The first half opens with Borodin’s overture to Prince Igor which balances pathos, pomp, and electric energy.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30.

Read about cellist Camille Thomas here.



This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland.

Classics Series Concert 2: War and Peace

Classics Series: Concert 2

War and Peace

From David Amado:

Our second Classics concert presents music about contrast. Sibelius’s Second Symphony is one of the pieces that established the identity of Finnish nationalistic music, and Sibelius called “a confession of the soul.” Tombeau de Couperin exorcises the demons that haunted those who lived through the Great War. Ravel wrote a series of short pieces, in the style of the great French Baroque keyboard master, François Couperin, in memory of friends lost to the First World War, striking a touching balance between grace and melancholy. In between, we’ll feature pianist Michael Brown in Beethoven’s stormy third piano concerto—at turns gentle and violent—paying homage to the past as much as trailblazing into the future, it shows Beethoven at the cusp of a new era he alone precipitated.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.

Read about pianist-composer Michael Brown here.

To read the program notes, click here.


This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland.

Classics Series Concert 1: Bohemian Rhapsody

Classics Series: Concert 1

Bohemian Rhapsody

From David Amado:

Our 114th season opens with Dvořák. Bohemian tunes, folk dances, and a decidedly welcoming, sunny vibe permeate Dvořák’s ever-popular 8th Symphony. On the first half, we welcome brilliant violinist Tessa Lark playing Barber’s gorgeous violin concerto—at turns supple, melancholy, and blazingly virtuosic—is one of his most performed and beloved works. We open with A.I. duPont Prize-winner Missy Mazzoli whose music has been consistently called out by musicians and audiences for its drama, tenderness, fire, and directness of communication.

Pre-concert discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.

Read violinist Tessa Lark’s biography here.

Read composer Missy Mazzoli’s biography here.

Read the program notes here.



This concert is generously underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland

Holiday Family Concert

Start a new holiday tradition! Join us  as we play some of the most beloved holiday music! With the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, and members of First State Ballet Theatre, you’ll surely be in the holiday spirit as we perform some of your favorites, including excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Ding Don Merrily on High, Winter Wonderland, and more!

Plus, come see instruments up close in the instrument petting zoo! (led by faculty from the Music School of Delaware)


The Family Concert Series is co-sponsored by PNC.

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



Chamber Series Subscription

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All Tuesdays | All at 7:30 | All at the Gold Ballroom

October 22, 2019: DSO Chamber Orchestra

December 10, 2019: Violin, Horn, and Piano

February 18, 2020: An Evening of Strings with the Mendelssohns

April 21, 2020: Quartets Plus

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Lewes Classics Concert 2: Dancing About Architecture

Classics Series Concert 4

Dancing About Architecture

Celebrating Leon Fleisher at 90




Pre-concert discussion begins at 2:00 p.m.

From David Amado:

[Classics Series Concert 4] welcomes one of the titans of the classical stage. Leon Fleisher will join us in his 90th birthday year to perform Mozart’s 12th Piano Concerto. Its unfiltered buoyancy, melodic invention, and virtuosity will be at the fore as Fleisher will bring the experience of more than half a century of an astonishing career to bear as he joins the DSO for the first time. His insight, knowledge, experience, and raw musical horsepower promise to make his appearance extraordinary. The second half features the DSO premier of Bruckner’s magnificent 7th Symphony—a masterpiece of sonic architecture. 19th Century romantic harmony, Classical form, and an ancient, otherworldly aesthetic make this symphony one of his most popular.

Read pianist Leon Fleisher’s biography: Leon Fleisher biography

Read the Program Notes about this concert: Classics Series Concert 4 Program Notes


Lewes Classics Concert 1: The American Dream

Classics Series: Concert 1

The American Dream: A Tribute to Leonard Bernstein


Pre-concert discussion begins at 2:00 p.m.

From David Amado:

We celebrate Bernstein’s Centenary with an all-American program. Two masterful ballet scores—Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Barber’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance are joined Robert Paterson’s colorful and compelling 21st Century portrait of Vermont’s Green Mountains. We’ll feature brilliant, critically acclaimed violinist Jennifer Koh in Bernstein’s Serenade. Based on Plato’s Symposium, it is musical testament to love and friendship—always infused with Bernstein’s gift of melody, rhythmic vitality, and sharp wit.

Read violinist Jennifer Koh’s biography: Jennifer Koh biography

Read about the Alfred I. duPont Composer Award and our 2018-2019 Season winner, Robert Paterson: Alfred I. duPont Composer’s Award and 2018-2019 Winner

Read the Program Notes about this concert: Classics Series Concert 1 Program Notes

Watch violinist Jennifer Koh’s speech from the most recent League of American Orchestras Conference:

Read her speech here:

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.

Chamber Series Concert 2: DSO Principals – Violin and Piano

Chamber Series: Concert 2

DSO Principals: Violin and Piano

Please note the new time of 7:30 for the 2018-2019 Season.


Violinist David Southorn enjoys a versatile career as Concertmaster, chamber musician, and soloist. In 2016 he was appointed Assistant Concertmaster of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and he is in his sixth season as Concertmaster of the Delaware Symphony. He also performs frequently with the New York Philharmonic. This past year he has performed as soloist with the Fremont and Delaware symphonies. As part of the Amphion Quartet he was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center II until 2016 and was the winner of multiple competitions, including the Concert Artists Guild competition. Their album on Nimbus Records was selected by the New York Times as a “Best Classical Album of 2015.” Southorn has collaborated with such musicians as Ani and Ida Kavafian, Carter Brey, David Shifrin, Edgar Meyer, Paul Neubauer and the Tokyo String Quartet. He holds degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Yale University, and the Manhattan School of Music.


Pianist Lura Johnson is a Steinway Artist and the Second Prize Winner, as a member of Duo Baltinati with cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn, of the 2015 International Johannes Brahms Competition Chamber Music Division. Hailed as “brilliant” by the Washington Post, she is the Principal Pianist of the Delaware Symphony and has performed as the pianist of choice for the Baltimore Symphony since 2007. Ms. Johnson’s discography includes 11 recordings, including one which was featured in the official trailer for the 2013 Warner Brothers film, Gravity. Ms. Johnson can also be heard on several recordings released by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, including Naxos’ Grammy nominated release of the Bernstein Mass, on which she played principal keyboard. Her first solo CD was Musicians in Tonight’s Performance released in summer of 2014. Ms. Johnson has taught piano at the Peabody Conservatory since 2002.

Classics Series Subscription

All Fridays | All at 7:30 | All at the Grand

September 27, 2019: Bohemian Rhapsody

November 15, 2019: War and Peace

January 17, 2020: False Starts

March 27, 2020: Spirit World

May 15, 2020: Fate and Hope

Subscribe to the Classics Series today!


Thank You to Our Sponsors

Tatiana and Gerret Copeland

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