The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will present a program titled Musical Heroes for its Fall 2016 Educational Concert Series

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Tens of thousands of students expected to tune into free classroom webcasts

Detroit, (October 25, 2016) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will present a program titled Musical Heroes for its Fall 2016 Educational Concert Series. The concerts, conducted by Associate Conductor Michelle Merrill and hosted by D.J. Oliver, will explore musical heroes, superheroes, and even everyday heroes and the challenges they overcame to produce the most courageous sounds in the history of music—from Superman to Beethoven, Shostakovich and more. Tenor Thomas Cilluffo will join Merrill and the DSO for the performances.

The concerts will be webcast for free via the DSO’s Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition series. Tens of thousands of students are expected to tune into the webcasts from their schools and classrooms.

For more than 80 years, the DSO’s Educational Concert Series has introduced children to classical music. Each concert within the series is thematically designed with accompanying teacher resource tools available for those who purchase tickets for performances or register to watch webcasts.

The performances will take place on Thursday, November 3 at 10:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. at Orchestra Hall, within Midtown Detroit’s Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. The 10:30 a.m. performance will be webcast.

The DSO’s Educational Concert Series is presented by Target, with additional support from Fifth Third Bank, PNC, Young Woman’s Home Association, Huron Business Advisory, and Lear Corporation.

Students at Blackwell Institute viewing last year’s Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition webcast. Click the image to view a hi-res version.

About Michelle Merrill

A passionate and dynamic artist, Michelle Merrill was recently named as one of Hour Detroit magazine’s 3 Cultural Organization Leaders to Watch, and made her classical subscription debut with the DSO in April 2016. She is also a recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.

Recent and upcoming engagements include the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Symphoria (Syracuse), Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, Boise Philharmonic, Orlando Philharmonic, New Music Detroit, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, where she formerly served as Assistant Conductor before coming to Detroit. In addition to planning and conducting concerts, Merrill gives pre-concert lectures, leads adult music education seminars, engages with students in and around Metro Detroit, speaks on behalf of the DSO throughout the community, and participates in hosting Live from Orchestra Hall webcasts.

In 2013 Merrill was awarded the prestigious Ansbacher Conducting Fellowship by members of the Vienna Philharmonic and the American Austrian Foundation, which enabled her to be in residence at the world-renowned Salzburg Festival. In March of 2014, she stepped in on short notice with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, which music critic Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News described as “stunning” and later placed on his list of Top Ten Classical Performances of 2014.

Born in Dallas, TX, Merrill studied conducting with Dr. Paul C. Phillips at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she holds a Master of Music Degree in conducting and a Bachelor of Music in performance. Apart from music, she loves cooking, running, hiking, and spending time outdoors with her husband, Steve Merrill, Principal Percussionist of the Jacksonville Symphony.

Ticket and Webcast Information

Tickets for the Educational Concert Series are $6 for students, teachers, and chaperones and can be requested at For school groups with more than 10 guests, please call the ECS line at (313) 576-5591 or email [email protected].

For more information on Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition or to register a classroom, visit

About the DSO

Hailed by The New York Times as “cutting edge,” the internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and an ardent commitment to Detroit. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the institution. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the DSO’s 12th Music Director, endowed by the Kresge Foundation, in 2008. Acclaimed conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik serves as Principal Pops Conductor while celebrated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the Detroit community, the DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, and Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with high profile artists from Steven Spielberg to Kid Rock. A commitment to broadcast innovation began in 1922 when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which now reaches tens of thousands of children with the new Classroom Edition expansion. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.


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