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.
St. Louis Symphony President and CEO Fred Bronstein sat down with Cityscape host Steve Potter to explain how the Symphony will observe these notable anniversaries. In addition to a variety of world renowned soloists and guest conductors, 50 different St. Louis Symphony musicians will be featured as soloists. Said Bronstein, “I don’t know that there is another major orchestra, frankly, that has done anything like this, in terms of that kind of highlighting of the musicians in the orchestra on that scale. And we are really proud about that.”
Other highlights of the coming season include the Red Velvet Ball Gala featuring pianist Lang Lang, the release of the Nonesuch recording of John Adams’ “City Noir” and Saxophone Concerto, a return to Carnegie Hall, a number of Live at Powell concerts including the US Premieres of “Pirates of the Caribbean 2” and “Gladiator” and the addition of a video component during four subscription concert weekends. One of those occasions will be the finale of the season when the St. Louis Symphony will perform a concert version of Verdi’s opera “Aida.” Carnegie Hall subsequently announced that the St. Louis Symphony concert there will by March 20, with a program of Debussy's "Nocturnes," Meredith Monk's "Weave" and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4.
Next season the Symphony will partner with the Jewish Federation and the Anti-Defamation League to present “Defiant Requiem,” a concert experience telling the story of Jewish prisoners in the Terezin Concentration Camp who formed a chorus and performed Verdi’s Requiem as an act of defiance to their Nazi captors.
The Symphony will also continue partnerships with Circus Flora, the Nine Network and St. Louis Public Radio. For the fifth season, all Saturday night subscription series concerts will be broadcast live on 90.7 FM and at stlpublicradio.org. Said Bronstein, “We really value the broadcasts on Saturday night. It’s given us an opportunity to reach folks who can’t get to the hall …. And people living around the world because they hear it on line, of course. It’s a great partnership that also should go on forever.”
Bronstein reports that the business end of the Symphony is going well. Over the past five years ticket revenue is up 36 percent, there has been a 26 percent increase in contributed revenue, operating deficits have continued to decline and attendance is up. Said Bronstein, “I would have to say that the St. Louis Symphony is one of the healthier orchestras around on the scene today and it says a lot about the support in this community which is just tremendous which is really what makes it possible from the people who support this orchestra.”
Complete details about the 2014-15 season can be found on the St. Louis Symphony’s website.