Obituary: Paul Ganson, Detroit Symphony bassoonist who led “Save Orchestra Hall” campaign

Posted on: February 18, 2021

“Detroit Symphony Orchestra executives say the organization is grief-stricken by the passing of Paul Ganson, a longtime DSO musician who spearheaded the preservation of Orchestra Hall,” writes Brian McCollum in Tuesday’s (2/16) Detroit Free Press. “Ganson, who had lived in Appleton, Wisconsin, since retirement, died Jan. 2. He was hospitalized Christmas Eve amid complications from a recent heart surgery, said George Troia Jr., president of the Detroit Federation of Musicians. Ganson was the DSO’s assistant principal bassoon from 1969 to 2004 and later served as director emeritus. But he was best known as the founder of Save Orchestra Hall, a campaign launched in 1970 to preserve and restore the historic venue, ultimately leading to the creation of the Max M. and Marjorie Fisher Music Center in 2003. ‘Paul’s extraordinary impact on the DSO cannot be overstated—he stands with (founding director) Ossip Gabrilowitsch and very few others as a giant in the history of our orchestra,’ the organization wrote in a letter to musicians and staff. ‘We literally would not be where we are today without Paul.’ The DSO described Ganson as the orchestra’s ‘unofficial historian.’ He was co-author of the 2016 book ‘The Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Grace, Grit, and Glory.’ ”