Jader Bignamini, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s 18th music director, wears a Detroit Tigers jersey with the number 18 at a Tigers game on June 14. Photo: Akash Pamarthy / Detroit Free Press

“It’s hard to pin down exactly when Jader Bignamini cemented his bond with Detroit,” writes Brian McCollum in Sunday’s (7/3) Detroit Free Press. “For the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s music director, appointed in 2020, perhaps it was his emotional performance of Beethoven’s Third with a scaled-down ensemble at an audience-less Orchestra Hall, the finale to a grueling pandemic year. Or possibly it was an evening this spring, when he led a triumphant Beethoven’s Ninth…. Or maybe it came last month … at Comerica Park … sporting a Detroit Tigers cap and jersey…. The gregarious Italian conductor was at his feet, pumping his arms and grinning wide as his face appeared on the giant outfield screen…. Musicians lauded the energy, fun and camaraderie Bignamini has brought to Orchestra Hall…. The admiration is mutual. ‘There’s a very particular atmosphere here in Detroit,’ Bignamini said. ‘Your love for life is strong. Onstage with the orchestra, it’s the same—just smiling, smiling, smiling.’ … He’ll conduct half of the [upcoming] season’s 20 classical weeks…. He said he’s thrilled to be immersed in it in Detroit. ‘The community needs the orchestra,’ he said. ‘And the orchestra needs the community.’ ”