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.


 

 

 

 

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

A.I. duPont Composer’s Award

 

Alfred I. duPont

Missy Mazzoli, 2019-2020 
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

Winner

Links

1985-1986

William Howard Schuman
(1910-1992)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Schuman

1986-1987

George Rochberg
(1918-2005)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Rochberg

1987-1988

Morton Gould
(1913-1996)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton_Gould

1988-1989

John Corigliano
(b. 1938)

http://www.johncorigliano.com/

1989-1990

John Adams
(b. 1947)

https://www.earbox.com/

1990-1991

Ellen Zwilich
(b. 1939)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Taaffe_Zwilich

1991-1992

Stephen Albert
(1941-1992)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Albert

1992-1993

David Diamond
(1915-2005)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Diamond_(composer)

1993-1994

William Bolcom
(b. 1938)

https://williambolcom.com/

1994-1995

Robert Ward
(1917-2013)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Ward_(composer)

1995-1996

Joseph Schwantner
(b. 1943)

http://www.schwantner.net/

1996-1997

Stephen Paulus
(1949-2014)

https://stephenpaulus.com/

1997-1998

Joan Tower
(b. 1938)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Tower

1998-1999

Lukas Foss
(1922-2009)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lukas_Foss

1999-2000

Richard Wernick
(b. 1934)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wernick

2000-2001

Christopher Rouse
(1949-2019)

http://www.christopherrouse.com/

2001-2002

George Walker
(1922-2018)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Walker_(composer)

2002-2003

Steve Reich
(b.1936)

http://www.stevereich.com/

2003-2004

David Lang
(b. 1957)

https://davidlangmusic.com/

2004-2005

Michael Torke
(b. 1961)

https://www.michaeltorke.com/

2005-2006

Gunther Schuller
(1925-2015)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunther_Schuller

2006-2007

Michael Daughterty
(b. 1954)

http://www.michaeldaugherty.net/

2007-2008

Elliott Carter
(1908-2012)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliott_Carter

2008-2009

Phillip Glass
(b. 1937)

https://philipglass.com/

2009-2010

George Crumb
(b. 1929)

http://www.georgecrumb.net/

2010-2011

Libby Larsen
(b. 1950)

https://libbylarsen.com/

2011-2012

Jennifer Higdon
(b. 1962)

http://www.jenniferhigdon.com/

2012-2013

Presented 2014

Aaron Jay Kernis
(b. 1960)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Jay_Kernis

2014-15

Kevin Puts
(b. 1972)

http://www.kevinputs.com/

2015-2016

Christopher Theofanidis

http://www.theofanidismusic.com/

2016-2017

André Previn
(1929-2019)

 

http://www.andre-previn.com/

2017-2018

David Ludwig

http://www.davidludwigmusic.com/

2018-2019

Robert Paterson

http://robertpaterson.com

2019-2020

Missy Mazzoli

http://www.missymazzoli.com/

 

 

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

Subscribe to the Chamber Series today!

 

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!