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Amanda Blaikie joins as Second Flute

Where are you from? Norwalk, CT


Where did you go to school? Principia College, University of Miami, Manhattan School of Music


Where were you before you joined the DSO?  Principal Flute of the Sarasota Opera in Florida and the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit.


What compelled you to audition for the DSO?  Having subbed with this orchestra for four years, naturally I felt at home here and the orchestra members felt like family.  I kept taking many auditions around the country, but when this audition came around I left no stone unturned and prepared in every conceivable way.


Which city do you live in? I live in Detroit, in Lafayette Park.


Do you come from a musical family?  Yes, my grandfather was an opera singer and pianist. My mother was naturally very talented on many instruments, but never pursued a career in music.  My sister played the violin and was in the local youth orchestra.


What do you do in your spare time?  Lately, I’ve kept myself occupied by re-painting my apartment and finding interesting art and mirrors to display.  It’s a more modern apartment, so it’s been pretty fun to decorate.  In the warmer weather, I spend a lot of time running, biking, and being active.


What kind of musical activities do you enjoy outside of the DSO?  I have always loved playing opera, so I’m actually taking one of my weeks off in January to play Guest Principal Flute with Opera Tampa.  I love playing chamber music too, so I love performing with New Music Detroit and Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings.


What’s your favorite piece?  I might have to say Brahms’ Third Symphony.  It’s not necessarily Brahms’ greatest symphony, but it was both my first performance of the piece and my first time performing with the New York Philharmonic, so it holds great nostalgia for me, especially since I was playing 2nd Flute to my teacher, Robert Langevin.


If you had to play another instrument, what would it be and why? I’d probably have to say violin or cello.  I love the deep, rich sound of the cello, and having a big sister who played violin always made me want to play it.


Any other interesting facts and stories? My mom used to regularly attend the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra when she was in college and she would tell me specifically how much she enjoyed watching Leonard Slatkin conduct.  You can imagine how thrilled she was when she saw me first perform under Leonard Slatkin as a substitute with the DSO, and now, of course, as a member.

Find out more about Amanda on her website,

David Binder joins DSO as Second Trombone

David Binder joined us in September of 2015 on Second Trombone.  He is joining the orchestra after three seasons as Co-Principal Trombone of the Finnish National Opera Orchestra in Helsinki, Finland.He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and as guest Principal Trombone with the Tapiola Sinfonietta in concerts and on recordings.  David was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.  He received his Bachelor of Music with Brass Department Honors from Northwestern University, studying with Michael Mulcahy, Peter Ellefson, Timothy Higgins, and DSO Bass Trombonist Randall Hawes.


His studies with Randy Hawes played a large part in his desire to join the DSO. “When I saw the announcement for the DSO audition, I knew I had to come back for that one because of my relationship with Randy, familiarity with the Midwest and proximity to my hometown of Chicago, and because of the great reputation of the orchestra,” said David. “The schedule at my previous job along with the long travel times back to North America prevented me from participating in many enticing auditions. For auditions between September and May, I really had to choose only one out of the handful happening across the US to make the trip back.  As luck would have it, the audition occurred in February during the winter break week of my previous orchestra, so it was a perfect opportunity!”

David’s family members were not musical themselves, but always supportive of David’s endeavours as a young musician.  When asked what instrument he would play if trombone was no longer an option, he said, “I’d play the instrument I first chose when I was in 5th grade, the alto saxophone! At that time, I had just heard Cannonball Adderley and fell in love with that sound. I wanted to play alto sax, but my school required sax students to start on clarinet for one year, which somehow didn’t interest me. Trombone was my second choice.”  David is also an enthusiastic bluegrass and folk music fan, who enjoys playing the banjo in his spare time.

David is an avid Chicago Cubs fan and enjoys playing racquetball and softball.

David and his musical hero, Bela Fleck, at the 2012 North Sea Jazz Fest in Rotterdam