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From Interlochen's archives: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra's first Interlochen performance

1966_IAC_C-1736 - DSO - Ehrling - ISME_LR EDIT-medium.jpg
Eileen Ganter
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Sixten Ehrling conducts the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen, August 25, 1966

On Thursday August 25, 1966, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performed at Interlochen Center for the Arts for the very first time.

The concert was conducted by the DSO's music director Sixten Ehrling.

The program included Maurice Ravel's "La valse," Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," "Markings" by Ulysses Kay and a Sinfonietta for String Orchestra by Boris Papandopulo.

Igor Stravinsky, "The Rite of Spring" (excerpt)
Performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen, August 25, 1966

It's worth noting that composers Stravinsky, Kay and Papandopulo were all alive at the time the DSO performed their music at Interlochen.

Kay's "Markings" had just had its world premiere performance the week before, also with Ehrling and the DSO.

Kay composed the piece in memory of U.N. Secretary Dag Hammarskjold, and the DSO gave its premiere in Rochester, MN.

Ulysses Kay, "Markings" (excerpt)
Performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen, August 25, 1966

This 1966 Detroit Symphony Orchestra performance took place at 8:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium at Interlochen.

It was billed as the "Joseph E. Maddy Memorial Concert" and presented by the Michigan State Council for the Arts.

Interlochen's founder Joe Maddy had died in April of that year.

Interlochen Detroit Symphony Orchestra program 1966

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra's appearance at Interlochen was one of the concerts presented during the Seventh Annual International Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) that was being held that week.

Four hundred delegates attended that ISME conference that week, including renowned composers and music educators such as Norman Dello Joio, Dmitri Kabalevsky and Zoltan Kodaly.

Performances during the ISME conferences included both local and international ensembles, from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to the Traverse City High School Choir (conducted by Mel Larimer) to a koto ensemble from Tokyo to choral ensembles from Finland, France and Germany.

Conductor Sixten Ehrling

This DSO concert was not the first appearance at Interlochen by a major professional orchestra, however.

That had taken place two years earlier, in 1964, when the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Eugene Ormandy visited.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra returned to Interlochen in 1974 and in 1986. Starting in 1991, the DSO had a regular residency at Interlochen during the summer arts camp.

That residency lasted until 2006 and then resumed in 2019.

Thanks to Eileen Ganter for additional support for this article.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.