Sosnick Courtyard

Music is courageous, unifying, powerful, and calming.
Over the past year, and in the spirit of change and optimism, the DSO has explored the dramatic transformation of our Sosnick Courtyard.


The development of this conceptual master plan to activate the DSO’s Sosnick Courtyard is made possible with generous support from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

Thank you to our Sosnick Task Force Members:
Laura Trudeau, Chair
Pamela Applebaum
Richard Broder
Cara Dietz
Chris Harrington
Reverend Nicholas Hood III
Joel Kellman
Katy Locker
Linda Lutz
Sue Mosey
Xavier Mosquet
Anne Parsons
Karen Sosnick
Johanna Yarbrough


If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed our shared belief that public spaces play a vital role in bringing people together from all walks of life.

During this time, the Sosnick Courtyard proved to be a tremendous asset for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, allowing us to keep the music playing and safely stay connected to our patrons and neighbors throughout the Summer of 2020.

Presenting 30 limited-capacity socially-distanced live music experiences for our community provided many opportunities to listen, observe, and discover how individuals interact with the space.  Our key learnings ultimately informed the vision, priorities, and overall Sosnick Courtyard Conceptual Master Plan in real time. Involving DSO stakeholders, including our neighbors, from the onset of this planning process was crucial to ensuring its success.

We are inspired by the community’s engagement and interest, and the limitless possibilities that will allow the DSO to intentionally activate and leverage one of few green spaces in the Midtown area, as we deliver on the DSO’s mission and vision and strengthen our presence as a true gathering space.

Thank you for embarking on this exciting journey with us!

Laura Trudeau, Sosnick Task Force Chair
Linda Lutz, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Chris Harrington, Senior Director of Jazz and @THE MAX


The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) envisions a dynamic, innovative, open-air “fourth stage” at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center that will bring together diverse communities in a highly collaborative and inclusive performing arts and green space.


The DSO is an inclusive and culturally relevant community where all people can experience their world through music. The Sosnick Courtyard Conceptual Master Plan is an extension of the DSO’s active pursuit to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.


  • A quality performance space that reflects the expectations of DSO musicians & patrons
  • Amenities that enhance the guest experience, and improve operations
  • Digital & technological assets that fulfill a wide range of programming, performance and sharing capabilities
  • Wayfinding & visibility to enhance community access and the overall DSO campus experience

Engagement by the Numbers

Emergent Themes

A robust outreach and engagement solicited wide community perspectives, resulting in a number of common themes:
  • Music is the thread that ties everything together
  • Focus on creativity, art, and talent to offer new DSO experiences that break down perceived barriers
  • Performance is the priority and driver for the space
  • Increase site visibility and foot traffic to ensure daily activity and an improved sense of safety
  • Accessibility through and around the Courtyard should be sensory-inclusive and child-friendly
  • The Courtyard should be a place that is unique, inviting and unintimidating
  • The Courtyard should feel like its a part of a larger district public space network in Midtown
  • Other  critical outdoor facilities should include protection from the rain and restrooms.


• Improve transparency into the space to create a welcoming invitation for daily use and programs
• Provide flexible lawn space and hardscapes for interactive events and spontaneous play
• Soften presence of the Parking Garage to create an interesting street façade and backdrop
• Define a beacon that signals the heart of the DSO campus and activity
• Improve accessibility with different options for event viewing and participation
• Enhance landscaping and site furnishing for a quality urban space
• Study possible installation of overhead canopy to protect guests, musicians, instruments and technology from weather conditions
• Establish other intimate outdoor “rooms” to diversify sense of scale
• Clearly define circulation patterns for pedestrians within the Courtyard
• Relocate the Trilogy sculpture

open, flexible venue and
community greenspace

Open, flexible venue and community greenspace

dynamic and adaptive to variety of performances through the use of lighting, material and infrastructure

Dynamic and adaptive to variety of performances through the use of lighting, material and infrastructure

Multimedia projection and acoustics to support wide spectrum of quality experiences

Links to Recorded Public Forums

We had some wonderful conversation on our Zoom Public Forums - thank you so much for your interest, insight and creativity, and for carving away your valuable time to help us envision the future of Sosnick Courtyard. Over a series of five Zoom sessions organized around themes, we got to hear some exciting ideas about how potentially to program the space, what kinds of experiences people were looking for, how to address access, and about design in general. Below images illustrate some key takeaways from the conversations, and particularly how your insights might help impact and shape the overall design. However, if you missed the Public Forums and would like to check them out, use the links below to watch the recorded sessions in full.

Accessibility & Access

Community Engagement

Space Activation & Experience 1

Space Activation & Experience 2


We want to hear your thoughts!
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