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Gabriela Lena Frank and the Detroit Symphony

Gabriela Lena Frank joins the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as composer in residence.

The Latest Update

Music Alive: Gabriela Lena Frank in Detroit

Posted on March 17, 2015 by Detroit Symphony Orchestra

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Music Alive composer-in-residence Gabriela Lena Frank has been busy around Detroit – composing songs with the American House Senior Living Community and working alongside the child life staff at Detroit’s Children Hospital. No matter where she is, she’s using her musical skills and passion for the arts to enrich the lives of those around her.

Take a look at some of the photos to see what Gabriela has been up to with the DSO so far, and stay tuned for premieres and video of her rehearsals at the American House Senior Living Community!

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Meet Gabriela Lena Frank and the Detroit Symphony

Posted on November 2, 2014 by Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Residency Snapshot:

During the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Frank will be in residency at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) for six weeks. In addition to performing her existing works on the DSO’s Neighborhood, Educational, and Classical Series Concerts, the Orchestra has commissioned new works that correspond with existing outreach and education work. These new works include a new choral work with the American House Senior Living Center and Choir based on interviews with residents that will be performed as part of their annual patriotic celebration in July 2015. Ms. Frank will also compose several new pieces for Detroit Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital (DMC) that will draw upon the existing program led by a DMC music therapist. She will collaborate with patients and their families to produce a composition drawing on their emotions and experiences that will be performed by DSO musicians at the DMC’s Memorial Tribute in April 2015, as well as compose simple melodies that can be used in musical therapy sessions at DMC. As Composer-in-Residence for DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE), Ms. Frank will lead workshops and instruction sessions, work with the ensembles, and create a new piece for the CYE’s chamber wind ensemble. In addition, she will offer instruction to music composition students at her alma mater, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. The DSO will host a microsite for Ms. Frank on their website. Through this site, she will be able to post blog updates on her activities with the DSO as well as her other activities and travels during the year, creating a picture of the life of a contemporary American composer.

There is a lot of great activity planned for this residency, so make sure to check back here to get the latest updates on what they’ll be doing next! In the meantime…

Get to know Gabriela Lena Frank:

Why not start with some of her music that’s already been performed in Detroit?

Identity has always been at the center of Gabriela Lena Frank’s music. Born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the work of Bela BartókAlberto Ginastera, and Chou Wen Chung, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has traveled extensively throughout South America and her pieces reflect and refract her studies of Latin-American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own. In addition to frequently collaborating with Pulitzer playwright Nilo Cruz on vocal works, Gabriela has written for leading artists such as soprano Dawn Upshaw and cellist Yo Yo Ma, and pre-eminent chamber groups and symphonies. A recipient of both a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Latin Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition in 2009, Gabriela was also awarded a prestigious USA Artist Fellowship in 2010. She is in high demand as a concert pianist, specializing in contemporary chamber music. Gabriela currently makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Get to Know the DSO:


The Music Alive residency between Gabriela Lena Frank and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra comes as no surprise – as a deep lover of Detroit and an avid participant in much of the Sphinx Organization‘s incredible programming, Gabriela’s passion for community and advocacy for musical triumph seems like an obvious match for such a dynamic Midwestern city.

Start and End Dates



Detroit, Michigan

2 updates
Last update on March 17, 2015

Project Created By

Detroit, Michigan
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a leader in the world of classical music, embraces and inspires individuals, families and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences. We are an inclusive and culturally relevant community where all people can experience their world through music. Hailed by The New York Times as “cutting edge,” the internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra…

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Berkeley, California


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