The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) recently announced its annual “Classical Roots” Celebration will be dedicated to the late Dr. Arthur L. Johnson, who was the founder of the event and was recently made a lifetime board member of the DSO. This much-anticipated black-tie celebration raises awareness about the contributions of African-Americans to classical music and supports increased opportunities through special programs, such as the DSO’s African-American Orchestral Fellowship Program, a mentoring opportunity for young professional musicians. The “Classical Roots” Concerts on Friday, March 16, at 10:45 a.m. and Saturday, March 17, at 8 p.m. will also honor the late African-American composer Hale Smith.
“I am excited about the outstanding evening and musical program planned for this year’s “Classical Roots” Celebration. The evening will feature amazingly talented musicians and we will be treated to a new composition by one of the most exciting young artists of our time, Daniel Bernard Roumain. I am also proud that we will take time to pay tribute to the memory of my husband, Arthur Johnson,” said “Classical Roots” Chair Chacona W. Johnson.
The Celebration begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Max M. Fisher Music Center with a strolling dinner in The Music Box featuring performances by the DSO Civic Jazz Ensemble and the Detroit Children’s Choir, followed by the “Classical Roots” concert at 8 p.m. in Orchestra Hall. Following the concert, guests are invited to a dancing and dessert afterglow in the Atrium and The Music Box featuring DJ Global. The DSO will be led by guest conductor André Raphel and will feature performances by soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme and the Brazeal Dennard Chorale, led by Augustus O. Hill. The concert will also feature the DSO Premier of “Dreamers, Dancers and Presidents” by Daniel Bernard Roumain. Co-chairing the “Classical Roots” Celebration are Chacona W. Johnson and Herman B. Gray, M.D. with the support of more than 30 other Detroit-area citizens and corporate leaders. The Celebration is sponsored by JPMorgan Chase.
“I am honored to co-chair, along with Chacona Johnson, the DSO’s Classical Roots Celebration, an evening to witness divine musical talent, well-deserved recognition and a special tribute for a very special man, the late Arthur Johnson. This is an important celebration of classical African-American music, with proceeds going to support African-American music development. It will be an evening to relish and cherish and I am truly looking forward to it,” said Classical Roots Co-Chair Dr. Herman Gray.