DETROIT – How does the Detroit Symphony Orchestra get to Carnegie Hall? Like everyone else — practice, practice, practice. But the Motor City musicians also added a little imagination.
The orchestra announced Monday that it is one of six major orchestras heading to the famous New York performance venue next year for the third Spring for Music festival. The Detroit ensemble said its three-hour performance, scheduled for May 10, 2013, will consist of all four symphonies by the late 19th- and early 20th-century American composer Charles Ives.
Orchestras from Baltimore, Albany, N.Y., and Buffalo, N.Y., as well as the Oregon Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra will also perform during the six-day festival.
The ensembles are selected, in part, for the imaginative nature of their proposed programming and how it aligns with each group’s philosophy. Leonard Slatkin, Detroit’s music director, said in a statement that he was proud to be part of “a landmark musical event,” adding he is unaware of any previous staging of Ives’ entire orchestral repertoire in one concert.
Slatkin chose Ives’ symphonic works as part of his effort to develop a “signature sound that is uniquely Detroit,” the orchestra said. Although Ives is from Danbury, Conn., Slatkin said the Detroit orchestra has a longtime connection with the American school of composition.
Ives, born in 1874, was known for his experimental style. According to a biography on the Danbury Museum & Historical Society website, residents of his hometown and Americans in general initially were not receptive to the composer: When his symphonies premiered in New York, Los Angeles and Boston in the 1930s, audiences were openly hostile.
Late in his life, after he had stopped composing, audiences warmed to his music. In 1947, Ives won the Pulitzer Prize for his Third Symphony written 40 years earlier. He died in 1954.
The Detroit orchestra said it was previously selected for the festival but had to pull out because it came during the grueling six-month musicians’ strike that ended last year. It was brought back into the lineup when its replacement, the Cincinnati Symphony, became unavailable.
The Detroit Symphony last performed at Carnegie Hall 17 years ago with former orchestra director Neeme Jarvi.
Follow Jeff Karoub on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeffkaroub