Remarks by Knight President Alberto Ibargüen on the debut of  ‘Symphony in D’ by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit, Nov. 21, 2015

This speech has been lightly edited for publication. 

Tonight is about pride, engagement and experimentation.

Related Links

Launching Symphony in D: A collaborative symphony by and for Detroit on Knight Blog by Tod Machover 11/19/2014

Discovering the sounds of Detroit on Knight Blog by Valerie Nahmad, 2/23/2015

The sound of Detroit captured in a new sonic portrait: Symphony in D by Tod Machover on Knight Blog, 11/12/2015

Symphony in D website: http://www.dso.org/symphonyind

Pride in the music and sounds of Detroit and, most of all, in the spirit of city. 

Knight Foundation works to promote informed and engaged communities.

          Informed so that citizens can make best choices for themselves.

          Engaged so those choices are made real.

That engagement can be about talent or economic opportunity. It can be about art or music. It can be challenging or it can be about being your brother’s or your sister’s keeper.

Knight commissioned Tod Machover and the Detroit Symphony to create this piece to celebrate the new Detroit. The Detroit we at Knight Foundation believe in.  


 Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibarguen speaking at the DSO.

It’s not a fanciful Detroit. It’s the Detroit of the people cellist Peter McCaffrey spoke about at the beginning of tonight’s concert, and the people who participated in the creation of “Symphony in D,” and people like the audience in this room. 

It’s the real Detroit.

Knight has funded programs in Detroit for more than half a century. And we hope to continue for at least as long. We were proud participants in the “Grand Bargain” that helped preserve Detroit’s cultural treasure, the DIA, and just last week, we announced another 57 grants to artists and arts organizations in Detroit.

The creation of “Symphony in D” is a melding of elements we support: community, technology and art. We couldn’t be prouder to support musicians who have the courage to experiment, and community members who have the heart to participate.

I thank all of them—but we want to single out just three:

·      Thanks to Leonard Slatkin. He is the rarest of conductors who is both at the highest level of musicianship and also has a deep dedication to place. That combination makes him the perfect choice for “Symphony in D.”

·      Professor and composer Tod Machover, of the MediaLab at MIT, who ennobles our life experience through media and art.

·      And Dennis Scholl, my former colleague at Knight Foundation, whose creative genius imagined how we could bring together Tod and the DSO and make tonight’s magic.

Our founder, John S. Knight, loved Detroit as it was in his day. Those of us at Knight Foundation love Detroit as it is, and as it is becoming. Tonight’s symphony is our gift, with admiration and affection, to the people of this city.


 Photo via @ibarguen on Twitter.