Delaware Symphony Orchestra launches ‘ambitious’ season in Wilmington

 (photo courtesy of Delaware Symphony Orchestra)

(photo courtesy of Delaware Symphony Orchestra)

The Delaware Symphony Orchestra launches one of the most ambitious seasons in its 111-year history tonight with the indelible four-note opening of Beethoven’s mighty Fifth along with works by Mozart and Prokofiev.

“This promises to be one of the DSO’s most engaging and ambitious seasons yet –revisiting well-loved favorites and adventuring through less familiar masterpieces,” said Music Director David Amado.

Indeed, there is nothing timid or restrained about the upcoming season. Before the season wraps up in May, patrons will have had the opportunity to hear such seminal works as Stravinsky’s riot-inducing “The Rite of Spring,” Mahler’s expansive 7th Symphony, Debussy’s brilliant “La Mer” and Bartok’s mid-20th century masterpiece the Concerto for Orchestra.

The season will also feature a stunning line-up of guest soloists, including rising-star violinist Elena Urioste (Beethoven’s Violin Concerto), pianist Orion Weiss (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1) and former DSO principal bassoonist, now Metropolitan Opera Orchestra co-principal William Short (David Ludwig’s “Pictures from the Floating World”).

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Big and bold

This is definitely an orchestra determined to reestablish its reputation for being adventurous. “We’re making a statement, I think, and it’s a statement that is not without risk,” said Executive Director Alan Jordan now in the third year of his tenure. “We’re saying that the symphony’s back, big and bold, and it’s a symphonic orchestra, not a chamber orchestra or a classical-sized orchestra. We are ready to take on the biggest works that have been created and we think that this is the kind of stuff our audiences want to hear and enjoy here in Wilmington.”

The season will also find the orchestra performing more concerts at various venues throughout the state. Tonight’s concert—the first of five in the DSO’s Classics Series– will be repeated on Sunday at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes. The orchestra will also offer three Family Concerts in Milford and at the Laird Center at The Tatnall School in Greenville and two Explorer Concerts for children in Wilmington and Dover.

“I think the way to create ownership in communities in other parts of the state is to have that ongoing presence even if it’s just once a year,” said Jordan. “The Delaware Symphony is our symphony and that’s what we have to build.”

In addition to the Fifth Symphony, which continues the orchestra’s exploration of the works of Beethoven, tonight’s program will feature Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, “Classical” and the rarely performed Mozart Concerto for Flute and Harp with DSO soloists Kimberly Reighley, flute and Sara Fuller, harp.

“I’m thrilled to be able to feature our own players especially on opening week,” said Amado. “It’s important for me to send that message to our community that we don’t need to look father than our own stage to find these spectacularly talented players to feature.”

The first of the orchestra’s four Chamber Series concerts will take place on Tuesday, October 17th in the Gold Ballroom of the Hotel du Pont. The December 12th program will feature a performance of the Suite from “The Nutcracker” by the DSO Brass Quintet.

The February 20th concert will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a selection of spirituals sung by bass-baritone Kevin Deas and a performance of Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” written while the composer was a prisoner of the Germans during World War II.

If you go:

What: The Delaware Symphony Orchestra

First Classics Series Concert of the 2017-18 Season

When: Friday, September 15th, 7:30 p.m.

pre-concert lecture with DSO Music Director David Amado, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Grand Opera House, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE

For more information on the entire 2017-18 season and to purchase ticket, visit the DSO’s newly launched website at

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal