Mary Edwards

Senior Talk Show Producer, St. Louis Symphony Producer

Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years, and is currently Senior Producer of  St. Louis Public Radio’s local talk/call-in show, “St. Louis on the Air," and producer of the live Saturday night broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony.  Mary also teaches an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the flute, participating in various music activities at her church, and water skiing.

Ways to Connect

Ken Howard

A new production of an old favorite opens Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ 2014 season.  Fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi returns as director and designer of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Opening May 24, the production features tenor Sean Panikkar in the role of Tamino and noted Mozart expert Jane Glover conducts.

Circus Flora

The members of the Circus Flora family were stunned and saddened when their beloved patriarch David Balding passed away on Friday, May 9. One of the members of that family is theater director Cecil MacKinnon who is also known as Yo-Yo, the Narrator. She joined Cityscape host Steve Potter to remember Balding.

St. Louis County Library

In 2012 St. Louis County voters approved a $.06 tax increase to fund a capital improvement plan for the St. Louis County Library. As Phase I of the project gets underway, the library’s new director Kristen Sorth was Don Marsh’s guest on St. Louis on the Air to discuss the project and new initiatives at the library.

courtesy photo

When a friend asked St. Louis vocalist Denise Thimes to come to Detroit to sing for her father’s 75th birthday party, she didn’t tell her until she got there that one of the guests was Aretha Franklin. “I was shaking in my boots, to say the least,” Thimes told Cityscape host Steve Potter, but she pulled herself together and sang for the diva and the others in the audience. “She wanted to hear “The Way We Were” and I really tried to sing it to the best of my ability.  And she was very pleased with that.”

Although former Post-Dispatch columnist Elaine Viets now lives in Fort Lauderdale, both of her book series have St. Louis connections.  Her Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series is set in Maplewood while the main character in her Dead-End Job Mystery series is a St. Louis woman on the run in South Florida.

Young pianist Conrad Tao was scheduled to make his St. Louis Symphony debut in concerts April 25-27, 2014 led by Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin. But when illness forced Markus Groh to cancel his appearances on February 1 and 2, 2013, Tao stepped in as soloist in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on less than 3 days’ notice and wowed audiences.

Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson Cowie is a professor in Cornell University’s School of Labor and Industrial Relations teaching courses in labor relations, law and history.  His most recent book, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class served as inspiration for Rebecca Gilman’s play, “Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976” which is now playing at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.  While Cowie was in St.

Courtesy St. Louis Symphony

When Shannon Wood assumed the role of Principal Timpanist of the St. Louis Symphony last September, he had big shoes to fill.  His predecessor Richard Holmes had been in the position for 41 years before his death in 2011.  Wood never met his predecessor but was well aware of his reputation and was humbled to accept the position.

Private Collection / courtesy Kodner Gallery

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of St. Louis, the Sheldon Art Galleries has organized a major exhibition depicting the founding of the city and the people involved. Imagining the Founding of St. Louis includes paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture by a variety of noted artists.

Sheldon Art Galleries Director and co-curator of the exhibit Olivia Lahs-Gonzales commented, “Obviously this all happened before the advent of photography so there was no photographer on the boat with the explorers, so it’s really left up to artists to kind of imagine what it was like.”

Dan Dreyfus

The St. Louis Symphony announced plans for its 2014-15 season at a town hall meeting on Thursday, January 23.  It is a season highlighted by many significant anniversaries: David Robertson’s 10th as music director, David Halen’s 20th season as concertmaster, Amy Kaiser’s 20th season as chorus director, the 20th anniversary of the In UNISON Chorus, the 45th season of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra  and the 135th anniversary of the St. Louis Symphony, and all these take place while the city celebrates the 250th anniversary of its founding.

Dilip Vishwanat

St. Louis Symphony Music Director David Robertson sat down with Cityscape host Steve Potter for a year-end reflection on the accomplishments in the first four months of the 2013-14 season as well as a look at what is still in store.

Topping Robertson’s list of Fall highlights is the Carnegie Hall performance of Britten’s opera “Peter Grimes” which received much critical acclaim including being named in the top five classical concerts in 2013 by New York Times classical music critic Anthony Tommasini.

Jazz pianist and composer Peter Martin
Courtesy of Peter Martin

Vocalist Kim Massie and pianist Peter Martin performed a concert before a sold-out audience in the UMSL at Grand Center Community Room on December 6.  

The entire concert and an interview with Kim Massie will air on Arch City Radio Hour at 9:00 a.m. Monday, December 23 on St. Louis Public Radio’s HD2 Channel, The Gateway. Beginning at that time, the concert and interview will also be available on demand at the St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon website.

Mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and tenor Nicholas Phan are two of the soloists that join David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus in Cantatas 1-3 of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on December 6 and 7. The two singers also performed in the St. Louis Symphony's performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor in April, 2012.

(via Flickr/cliff1066™)

David Robertson conducted the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus as well as a roster of vocal soloists in a concert version of Benjamin Britten’s opera “Peter Grimes” in Carnegie Hall on November 22, the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.  St. Louis Symphony goers had the opportunity to preview that performance the previous Saturday in Powell Hall.  Both performances received accolades from audience members and critics.

When Jeremy Segel-Moss, guitarist with the Bottoms Up Blues Gang, conceived the idea of the Baby Blues Showcase, he probably didn’t think about the fact that his group would one day age out of the annual event. But that’s exactly what happened. The original intent was to give blues musicians under the age of 30 a chance to shine for one night at BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups.

Alex Irvin

David Robertson, the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus and a cast of vocal soloists led by tenor Anthony Dean Griffey and soprano Susanna Phillips traveled to New York City this week to perform a concert version of Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes.”  The November 22nd performance marks the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. St. Louisans were treated to a preview performance on November 16 in Powell Hall.

Alex Irvin

On Saturday, November 16, David Robertson conducted the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus and a cast of vocal soloists in a concert version of Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes.” These same forces will reprise that performance in Carnegie Hall on Friday, November 22, the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Alex Irvin

American tenor Anthony Dean Griffey has performed to great acclaim in opera houses and concert halls around the world.  But when he appears in the title role of the St. Louis Symphony’s concert version of Britten’s opera “Peter Grimes,” it will be another opportunity to sing the role that is near and dear to his heart.  Not only was it his first major role when he first performed it while a student at Tanglewood, but because Griffey grew up as a shy, misunderstood child, he feels a real connection to the character.

The majority of this interview is a rebroadcast from April 19, 2013.

Cellist Bjorn Ranheim and violinist Shawn Weil are colleagues in the St. Louis Symphony.  Double bassist Syd Rodway and composer/keyboardist Adam Maness are members of the Erin Bode Group.  They got to know each other when Ranheim and Weil collaborated with the Erin Bode Group and also shared an interest in good food and fine beer. 

photo of Barbara Harbach
Stephanie Zettl

University of Missouri – St. Louis music professor and composer Barbara Harbach was commissioned to write a work to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the institution.  As a result, her Jubilee Symphony will receive its premiere on Wednesday, October 9 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.  Robert Howard will conduct UMSL’s University Orchestra in the premiere.

When giving tours at the Saint Louis Art Museum, people often ask about prints and want to know if they are as important as paintings and I explain that they are another medium of the visual arts. People often are confused and think that prints are just copies of paintings and I have to clarify the issue and explain what a print actually is and that luminaries such as Rembrandt, Max Beckmann, Helen Frankenthaller, and Jasper Johns were painters as well as printmakers.

Joan Lipkin has been creating theater with people who have disabilities since 1996, when she co-founded the DisAbility Project.  An outgrowth of That Uppity Theatre Company, of which Lipkin is artistic director, the DisAbility Project brings together amateur and professional performers of all abilities to create theater based on lived experience.

It took three seasons for the St. Louis Symphony to fill the position of Principal Trumpet after Susan Slaughter stepped down in 2010 after 40 years.  Slaughter holds the distinction of being the first female to hold the principal position in a major symphony orchestra and the word “legend” has been used to describe her. 

Lisa Mazzucco

When mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano enrolled in Webster University, her goal was to be a choral conductor.  But Webster’s Director of Vocal Studies Carole Gaspar had other ideas. At the end of Cano’s sophomore year, Gaspar suggested that she should pursue a career as a singer. Cano had already been in her first opera scene at Webster and had enjoyed it.  “So I changed my major,” said Cano, “and started really focusing my energy on practicing and learning more of the craft of what singers need to know to be successful.”

Rich Herberts / St. Louis Public Radio

Every month, St. Louis on the Air holds a legal roundtable in which we discuss local, regional and national issues pertaining to the law.  This month, we took the show on the road to Saint Louis University's new downtown School of Law building.

Host Don Marsh and the panel of legal experts took questions from a live audience in the 12th floor court room. And with the new U.S. Supreme Court session scheduled to begin October 7th, there was a lot to talk about.

The panelists were:

Dilip Vishwanat

St. Louis Symphony Music Director David Robertson conducted the final concert of his orchestra’s 2012-2013 season on May 12 and a special concert for the League of American Orchestras Convention on June 18.  Since then, he has traveled the globe and has conducted concerts on four different continents while also encountering some familiar faces.  “I got to see a number of the St. Louis musicians who also in the summer do anything but keep their instruments in the case,” said Robertson.

Mona Brown

For the second year, the residents of Louisiana, Missouri invite artists to literally “paint their town.” On Saturday, September 21, visual artists from all over will descend on Louisiana to paint “en plein aire,” the hills, valleys, buildings and people of their town.  Spectators are encouraged to travel around the area to see the artists at work. 

Saturday evening, there will be an exhibition and sale of the paintings the artists created during the day. Cash prizes will be awarded for First, Second and Third Place.

The Arianna String Quartet (ASQ) recently returned from a month-long tour performing and teaching in South Africa. That experience is reflected in the opening concert of the quartet’s 2013-14 season on September 6.   Titled “Out of Africa,” the concert is highlighted by Five Elegies by South African composer Arnold van Wyk.  The program also includes Mendelssohn’s Quartet in F minor, Op. 80 and Schubert’s Death and the Maiden.

David Robertson conducting at Powell Hall
Dan Dreyfus | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Symphony Music Director David Robertson discussed American symphonies in a feature produced by NPR Music's Tom Huizenga as part of the program's search for the great American symphony. Robertson weighed in on why American orchestras are afraid of new symphonies in addition to explaining his selection of the great American symphony. St. Louis Public Radio also listeners made suggestions including:

(Courtesy Union Avenue Opera)

When one thinks of Wagner’s Ring cycle, what comes to mind is a huge cast, orchestra and set which can only be performed in the world’s largest opera houses.  But Union Avenue Opera has brought the Ring to St. Louis thanks to the reduction and adaptation by composer Jonathan Dove and stage director Graham Vick. The company will mount the second opera, Die Walkure, on August 16, 17, 23 and 24.

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