New Book Explores The History Of The Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Jake Neher/WDET

Laurie Lanzen Harris (left) and Stephen Henderson (right)

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is the 4th oldest orchestra in the United States. The orchestra has found renewed success and life in recent years under longtime maestro Leonard Slatkin. But like the city of Detroit, it hasn’t always been easy for the acclaimed orchestra.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Grace, Grit and Glory, new book published by author Laurie Lanzen Harris, looks at the history of the DSO.

Harris says she was interested in examining the changes that happened in tandem between the city of Detroit and the DSO. She says the steep declines of the DSO mirror the same declines in time as the auto industry.

It came back due to the huge investment of several major people [in the auto industry]” in 1914, says Harris.

The DSO has gone out of business three times, more than any other orchestra in the nation, and always managed to emerge, says Harris. But she says she has high hopes for the future of the orchestra.

Detroit is in it’s own renaissance,” says Harris. She says art plays a big part in revitalization. ”What are the cultural benefits of living in Detroit?… These are things that bring people to Detroit. I think it is clearly on the upswing.”

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

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