French Festival @ Orchestra Hall


French Festival @ Orchestra Hall

Celebrate the City of Love in the ‘Paris of the Midwest’ with a series of special events at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s French Festival, February 8-24th.

Celebrate French music and culture at the DSO with six imaginative programs, including the music of Ravel, Debussy, Saint-Saens, and Berloiz.  Get the most out of each Classical concert with informal presentations in Orchestra Hall one hour before the performance begins. Enjoy special guests, lectures, or performances that illuminate the program and provide a behind-the-scenes look at the art of making music! Tickets to French Festival classical performances cost $15 to $100.


Daphins and Chloe
February 8th & 9
The DSO’s French Festival opens with a program dedicated to the music of Maurice Ravel. Influenced by jazz, traditional French composers along with his contemporaries, and greats from Mozart to Chopin, Ravel was a master orchestrator. He meticulously crafted color and movement in his music, which often seems to float out of a storybook, such as the tale of Daphnis seeking help from the god Pan to rescue his beloved Chloe from the hands of pirates.


Organ Syphony
February 10 & 11
Camille Saint-Saëns, known for clean, polished music with elegant, orderly lines, may have reached the pinnacle of his work with his Third Symphony. From energetic flourishes to the triumphant entrance of the pipe organ in its grand, final movement, the Organ Symphony showcases the beauty and power of the organ as it interacts with orchestral colors and agility.


An American in Paris
February 16
Composers Darius Milhaud and George Gershwin both found jazz in clubs and bars and swapped them for the concert hall. Here their two travelers trade places, as Gershwin’s homesick American strolls the streets of Paris and dodges taxis to the sound of the blues, while Milhaud’s Frenchman visits Times Square, Central Park, and Yankee Stadium.


Carnival of the Animals
February 17 & 18
The French flair for illustration through music turned Mickey into an infamous young sorcerer, conjures up a zoological tour of the animal kingdom, and drifts into Satie’s ambient soundscapes. A program of picturesque music concludes with a celebration of the spirit of Paris in Offenbach’s Gaite Parisieine, complete with the flourish and high-stepping energy of Can-Can dancers on stage in Orchestra Hall! ($15-$100)


Debussy: La Mer & Faun
February 22 & 23
In La Mer, Debussy captures the elemental essence of the seas and expresses it through music; the transparent stillness of morning, the darkness of murky depths, and the power of surging tides through orchestral waves of sound. La Mer is a towering achievement, both in his career and in symphonic literature. Though written more than 100 years ago, it continues to influence musical portrayals of the sea to this day.


Syphonie Fantastique
February 23 & 24
Part symphony, part psychedelic episode, Berlioz guides us through encounters with budding passion, festive parties, the despair of unrequited love, and ultimately, execution and hideous revelries ushering us into the underworld. The lines between reality and hallucination blur among the sounds of pleading winds, relentless brass, and foreboding percussion.


French Festival Special Events

Om @ Le Max
Sunday, February 11 @ 10:30am
Practice yoga to live chamber music by French composers ($25)


Valentine’s Day with Cyrille Aimeé
Wednesday, February 14 @ 7pm
Spend this Valentine’s Day with your special someone and French cabaret vocalist Cyrille Aimée. ($20-$49)


The Chanson Experiment
Thursday, February 15 @ 7pm
Enjoy the music of one of the foremost accordion and bandoneón players, Julien Labro. ($15-$49)


Le Ciné Cube Film Shorts 
Friday, February 16 @ 10pm
Watch silent French films with live music by Andrew Alden Ensemble. (FREE)


Le Ciné Cube Screening
Saturday, February 17 @ 5:30pm
Watch Round Midnight a 1986 American-French musical drama starring legendary jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet and Herbie Hancock. (FREE)


A Wine & Music ‘Tour de France’ 
Wednesday, February 21 @ 7pm
Sommelier and music expert Ron Merlino leads a wine tasting experience featuring rare French wines paired with live music. Ticket includes wine tasting, live classical music, mini crepe bites and light fare, and a commemorative wine glass. ($60)


Les Nubians + DJ Cambeaux
Saturday, February 24 @ 9:30pm
French sisters Hélène and Cèlia Faussart bring their distinctive Afropean, Urban, R&B sound to the Max. ($15-$49)


Photo credit: Facebook

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