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DSO Welcomes 17-year-old piano sensation

DSO Welcomes 17-year-old piano sensation Conrad Tao
Conrad Tao

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is pleased to welcome 17-year-old pianist and composer Conrad Tao to the stage at Orchestra Hall for an evening of French repertoire, “Franck’s Symphony in D Minor,” led by acclaimed conductor Hélène Bouchez . The performance includes works by Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saëns and César Franck. The performances will take place on Friday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m.

Hailed by renowned music critic Harris Goldsmith as “the most exciting prodigy to ever come my way” (Musical America), 17-year-old Chinese-American pianist Conrad Tao was found playing children’s songs on the piano at 18 months of age. Born in Urbana, Illinois, he gave his first piano recital at age 4, and at age 8, made his concerto debut performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major, K. 414. Tao is currently a Gilmore Young Artist, an honor awarded every two years to single out the most promising of the new generation of U.S. pianists.

In September 2011, Tao filled in for pianist Louis Lortie and gave a solo recital on one day’s notice in Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall presented by Cliburn Concerts that critics raved as being “technically brilliant” (Star-Telegram), “breathtaking” (Dallas Magazine), and a “gripping performance by turns mysterious and defiant.” (Dallas Morning News).

Conducting a wide repertoire from baroque to contemporary music, Hélène Bouchez appears as a guest conductor of orchestras around the world and has worked with leading music directors such as Pierre Boulez, Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur, Marin Alsop and Rafaël Frübeck de Burgos. Bouchez has conducted many world premieres and has collaborated with French composers such as Philippe Leroux, François Paris, and Thierry Blondeau. She is a regular guest at the Manca Festival in Nice and at “Aujourd’hui Musiques Festival” (Perpignan). In the U.S., Bouchez conducted the National Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2004, she was invited for a two-month residency at Tanglewood where she conducted a shared-live broadcast concert with Kurt Masur. Previously, she was invited at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music held by Marin Alsop.

This program will be webcast live through the "Live from Orchestra Hall" webcast series on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 2:50 p.m. Log on to to view or stream through the DSO to Go mobile app. Featured guests on the webcast will include DSO Principal Oboe Don Baker and Aaron Dworkin, who is president and founder of the Sphinx Organization and a member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee.

Student musicians from the University of Michigan will perform songs by Debussy at a free pre-concert presentation at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Jan. 21; and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22 in Orchestra Hall.

On Saturday, Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m., join the Detroit Children’s Choir, the Royal Oak Children's Choir and the Singers of United Lands (S.O.U.L.) in Allesee Hall as they return from a whirlwind, day-long musical journey to Bolivia, Namibia, Poland and India. This performance will share this four-continent journey with the audience while demonstrating the ease with which the universal languages of song and dance can strengthen team building, creativity, social interaction, understanding and connection between diverse populations.


Tickets to Franck’s Symphony in D Minor begin at $15 and may be purchased at the Max M. Fisher Music Center box office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit); by calling (313) 576-5111; or online at Detroit residents may reserve a ticket for $20 each in any section, excluding the box level, within two weeks of the performance. A valid photo ID with a Detroit address is required. Military personnel who returned home this year may receive up to two free tickets to all Orchestra Hall Classical and Jazz concerts. Seating is subject to availability and excludes box level. Limit two tickets per performance. Tickets must be reserved within two weeks of the performance. Must show valid deployment orders upon ticket retrieval. For group discount information (10 people or more), please contact Chuck Dyer at (313) 576-5130 or


Franck’s Symphony in D Minor
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Hélène Bouchez, conductor
Conrad Tao, piano
Fri., Jan. 20 at 8 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 21 at 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 22 at 3 p.m.

DEBUSSY La Soirée Dans Grenade from Estampes
SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22
FRANCK Symphony in D minor


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