Delaware Symphony Orchestra season

DSO’s 23-24 season: guest conductors, John Williams salute

Betsy PriceCulture, Headlines

Delaware Symphony Orchestra season

Guest conductors during the 23-24 Delaware Symphony season include, from left, Scott Speck, André Raphel and Michelle di Russo.

The Delaware Symphony Orchestra’s 2023-24 season will feature traditional classical programs interspersed with Hispanic and Latin-inspired works, a celebration of the music of John Williams and a chamber concert devoted to African music.

Along the way, three guest conductors will handle baton duties when Music Director Laureate David Amado isn’t on the podium to open and close the season.

“It’s not only diverse with the people involved but also diverse in the musical selections,” said Executive Director J.C. Barker. “Our goal is to reflect the community, not any one niche of the community.”

The community was kind to the symphony last year. DSO’s last two spring classical concerts sold out. One was a tribute to movie music. The other was a celebration of Amado’s 20 years as musical director before he moved to emeritus position, and he gave the audience Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

The numbers of those attending the Sussex County concerts doubled this year, and the Spring downstate concert also sold out.

“Audiences are back,” Barker said. “I think it’s indicative of a new community attitude and enthusiasm about the symphony, and I think that momentum will continue through this season. ”

The 2023-24 season will feature five Classics Series concerts at the Grand Opera House, with two repeated in Sussex County at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, and three Chamber Series concerts, with one returning to the Hotel du Pont’s Gold Ballroom.

The Classics Season

The Classics Series features the full orchestra and guest artists.

It kicks off Oct. 13 with “Sky, Sea and Rhapsody” under Amado. Guest pianist Stewart Goodyear will perform on Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Also on the program will be Claude DeBussy’s “La Mer.”

The second Classics concert, “¡Música Bravo!” will be under the direction of guest conductor Michelle Di Russo. An associate conductor with North Carolina Symphony, she is from Italian and Argentinian heritage.

Joining her on the Hispanic and Latin-inspired works by Arturo Márquez, Alberto Ginastera, Manuel de Falla, Joaquín Rodrigo, and Rimsky-Korsakov will be guitarist João Luiz. His name is familiar to Delaware music lovers because he’s half of the Brasil Guitar Duo, which recorded an album with the orchestra in 2018.

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The concert will play Nov. 10 in Wilmington and Nov. 12 in Lewes.

The first Classics concert of 2024 will be Jan. 19 with “From Home to Rome,” directed by guest conductor André Raphel of Philadelphia, the former music director for the Wheeling, West Virginia, symphony.

Guest violinist Jennifer Frautschi will perform during Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto.” The concert will include West Chester native Samuel Barber’s “Symphony in One Movement” and Ottorino Respighi’s majestic “Pines of Rome.”

“A John Williams Celebration” will be the March 22 Wilmington and March 24 Lewes Classics program. The celebrated composer/conductor’s themes from “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Jurassic Park” will be among the works directed by guest conductor Scott Speck.

Speck is the music director of the Joffrey Ballet as well as the Mobile Symphony.

Amado returns to the podium on April 26 with “Amado Conducts Mahler” and Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 7 “Song of the Night.”

The Chamber Series

The first concert will feature the orchestra’s percussionists on Oct. 24 at the DuPont Country Club. It will showcase the artistry and versatility of the musicians. Music will include works by G. F. Handel as well as contemporary composers Joe Taylor, Michael Udow and Ney Rosauro.

The series moves back to the Gold Ballroom at the Hotel DuPont for Dec. 12’s “Holidays at the Hotel,” with a program of festive melodies for the entire family and featuring Wilmington baritone Grant Youngblood.

The final Chamber concert, “Music of the African Diaspora,” will offer works by influential composers Valerie Coleman, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Adolphus Hailstork, Jessie Montgomery and Carlos Simon.

Subscription packages are available now. The Classics series costs $125 to $400 for the five concerts, depending on seating. A Chamber series costs $225. Single tickets for all concerts will be available for sale starting Aug. 15, 2023.

Go to or call 302-656-7442 for more details.

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