The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Feb 12, 2013

Live from Orchestra Hall: The year in review

Posted by Valerie Nahmad

Scott Harrison, Detroit Symphony Orchestra

2013 is already off to an exciting start with our Beethoven Festival – five webcasts in three weeks featuring all nine symphonies at  We’re also recording all the performances for release as mp3s in our Beethoven Digital Box Set – available for pre-order for only $19.99 at - with producer Blanton Alspaugh (who just won the Grammy for Classical Producer of the Year!), teaming up with, the world leader in online classical music video, for the Thursday, February 14 webcast of Beethoven symphonies 1 and 6, and presenting the Sphinx Competition Finals featuring the nation’s top young black and Latino string players on Sunday, February 17.

As excited as I am for the comings months, I’m also thrilled by everything we accomplished this past year, particularly all the new viewers the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performed for around the world.

After reaching 120,000 worldwide viewers from 75 countries in the 2011-12 season, Live from Orchestra Hall is now on track to triple that number in 2012-13.  (As you can see in the infographic, our current cumulative viewership stands at 250,000.)  We saw our average watch time steadily increase from 25 minutes to over 30 minutes.  Our video and audio quality continued to improve with our encore clips now available in HD with impeccable sound.  We welcomed new streaming partners ParaClassics and ClassicalTV.  Fascinating personalities from around Detroit – Aaron Dworkin of Sphinx, the Linn siblings of popular shops City Bird and Nest, DIA curator Yao-Fen You, Larry Mongo of D’Mongo’s, and many more – visited our intermission show in 2012.  We heard from the artists – our Music Director Leonard Slatkin; guest conductors like Neeme Järvi, Hans Graf, Peter Oundjian, Sir Andrew Davis, and Susanna Mälkki; soloists from Joshua Bell to Manny Ax to Hila Plitman; and many of our own DSO musicians.  We were recognized in the press and throughout the blogosphere.  (Norman Lebrecht’s readers voted us No. 3 in the world for orchestra with the best public brand.)  Most importantly, we heard from our worldwide fans on Twitter and Facebook, in multiple languages!  Here are just a few highlights:

@amariselv Thanks, @DetroitSymphony, for another wonderful concert.  You made my Sunday afternoon! #DSOLive

@JAHall721 @DetroitSymphony #DSOLive is the best thing on in New Hampshire today!

@cellochick2014 Where else do you get to her Joshua Bell perform live, for free? #DSOLive

@MichelleLoveSo #DSOLive “Making every note an extra special treat . . .”

And of course there was the patron who wrote in to let us know that he was enjoying #DSOLive from aboard his Delta flight, making the DSO not only the most accessible orchestra on the planet, but above the planet as well!

One of my personal favorite moments was when guest pianist Robert Levin invited fans from around the world to submit musical themes via, one of which he then chose to improvise on live on the Orchestra Hall stage.   That’s the type of interaction and connectivity we want to create with our global community of viewers on a more regular basis in 2013.

Our success would not be possible without the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and our presenting sponsor, the Ford Motor Company Fund, but what really makes it worthwhile is the support we receive from viewers around the world.

Take a look at the infographic to chart our past, present, and future milestones!

Back to top