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

The concert was conducted by DSO Music Director Sixten Ehrling.

On the program, “La valse” by Maurice Ravel, “Le Sacre du Printemps” by Igor Stravinsky, “Marquages” 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 in Interlochen, August 25, 1966

It should be noted that composers Stravinsky, Kay and Papandopulo were all alive at the time the DSO performed their music in Interlochen.

Kay’s “Markings” had just had its world premiere the previous week, also with Ehrling and the DSO.

Kay composed the piece in memory of UN Secretary Dag Hammarskjold and premiered in Rochester, MN.

Ulysse Kay, “Markings” (excerpt)

Performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in Interlochen, August 25, 1966

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

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s appearance at Interlochen was one of the concerts featured at the seventh annual international conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) being held that week.

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

Performances at ISME conferences included 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 and choral ensembles from Finland, France and from Germany.


This DSO concert was not, however, the first appearance in Interlochen of a large professional orchestra.

It had happened two years earlier, in 1964, when the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Eugene Ormandy visited.

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

This residency lasted until 2006, then resumed in 2019.

Thanks to Eileen Ganter for her additional support for this article.