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St. Louis Symphony

Stéphane Denève will be the St. Louis Symphony's next music director.
Photo by Drew Farrell | Courtesy of St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony has named Stéphane Denève as its next music director.

Denève, music director of the Brussels Philharmonic and principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, will serve as music director designate during the 2018-2019 season. His three-year term begins with the 2019-2020 season.

David Robertson, the St. Louis Symphony's musical director, leads the orchestra in this file photo.
Scott Ferguson | Provided

The St. Louis Symphony will open its 2017-18 season with six Mozart piano concertos featuring Emanuel Ax.

Its season, which marks half a century in Powell Hall,  concludes with a performance of “Swing Symphony” in collaboration with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz from Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Music director David Robertson conducts the St. Louis Symphony.
Provided by the St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony and its musicians have a five-year contract that will increase the minimum salary for musicians to $100,000 in the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The agreement, signed seven months before the current contract expires, aims to improve flexibility with scheduling, make rehearsals more efficient, and update tour conditions for musicians.

It comes after several strong financial performances and a significant 2016 annual campaign that helped boost the symphony's endowment to more than $200 million.  The contract will establish a stable working environment over the next five years – one that helps attract top talent in classical music, according to Vicky Smolik, Musicians Association of St. Louis representative.

Nathaniel Ayers may not yet be a household name in classical music, but you surely know who he is. The  prodigy’s story was depicted in the 2009 film “The Soloist” by actor Jamie Foxx. It was Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez who discovered Ayers in 2005 and originally wrote a book about him, by the same title.

David Robertson conducts a performance at Powell Hall in this file photo.
Dan Dreyfus

The St. Louis Symphony has extended the contract of Music Director David Robertson through the 2018-19 season. It will be his final season in St. Louis. Robertson began his tenure as music director in 2005.

“I want to express my profound gratitude and deep affection to the musicians of the St. Louis Symphony,” Robertson said. “I feel blessed for every note we have shared in our many years together and will share over the coming years.  Our collaboration is a continual joy for me.”

Violinist Leila Josefowicz plays with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in this photo taken earlier this fall.
Dilip Vishwanat

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra can claim some of the glory in a Grammy Awards nomination announced today.

Violinist Leila Josefowicz was nominated for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for her performance on John Adams' Scheherazade.2,  in a February 2016 recording with the SLSO. Music Director David Robertson conducted the performance.

Mary Langenberg: Supported Art Museum, Symphony and more

Nov 30, 2016
Photo of Mary Langenberg
Provided by the family

Mary Langenberg didn’t have far to go to pay calls on some of the institutions she supported so generously in her long, productive life.

She was by all accounts a vivacious and beautiful woman, who loved entertaining her friends and cherished good, lively, yeasty conversations.

David Robertson, the St. Louis Symphony's musical director, leads the orchestra in this file photo.
Scott Ferguson | Provided

The St. Louis Symphony ended 2016 with the healthiest bottom line in many years.

The good news includes the first balanced cash operating budget this century for the institution, which has a budget of $28.1 million, up from $26.6 million last year. The symphony saw growth in philanthropic support, and increased attendance and ticket sales.

In a news release, St. Louis Symphony President and CEO, Marie-Hélène Bernard praised the symphony's board and the generosity of the St. Louis area. She cited innovative experiences as factors in the orchestra’s achievements.

Bjorn Ranheim
St. Louis Symphony

Cellist Bjorn Ranheim’s busy schedule rarely allows time for rest. If he’s not rehearsing or performing with the St. Louis Symphony, then you may find him with his colleagues in The 442s or playing chamber music in any of several ensembles. But one of his favorite roles is that of father to two beautiful little girls.

In a conversation with St. Louis Symphony Vice President of External Affairs Adam Crane, Ranheim talks about this weekend’s concerts highlighted by performances of John Adams’ Violin Concerto featuring Leila Josefowicz.

David Robertson and Marie-Hélène Bernard of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Symphony’s 137th season opens this Friday, September 16. On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from the orchestra’s music director, David Robertson, and president/CEO, Marie-Hélène Bernard about the upcoming season. We also heard about what they’re looking forward to most and, yes, got the backstory on that Nelly collaboration.

You can also catch the symphony on St. Louis Public Radio on Saturday nights, starting at 8 p.m. You can find a schedule of the symphony broadcasts here.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performs in Lucerne, Switzerland, 2012
Provided by Dilip Vishwanat and the St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony will be launching its third tour in almost two decades in Europe this February.

The Symphony will perform Feb. 8-11 in the Spanish cities of Madrid, Oviedo and Valencia. The musicians will present works by composers John Adams, Antonin Dvorak, Aaron Copland, and others.

St. Louis residents will have a chance to hear those works in January before the group leaves for Spain.

Cropped photo by Roy Cox

The St. Louis Symphony has named Gemma New the incoming resident conductor.

New’s responsibilities will include conducting various concerts through the season and acting as music director for the St. Louis Symphony’s Youth Orchestra. The New Zealand-born conductor also will assist Music Director David Robertson and guest conductors during rehearsals.

David Gonsier as an owl and Levi Hernandez as Papageno in Opera Theatre of Saint Louis 2014 production of The Magic Flute.
Ken Howard | Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Today was a good day for St. Louis arts organizations. PNC Bank’s Arts Alive funding initiative announced it will distribute $250,000 to nine local groups.  The National Endowment for the Arts also announced it would split $120,000 among three other groups.

The PNC funding will support innovative programming and improved accessibility to the arts. One recipient, the St. Louis Symphony, will use its $40,000 to create an app that teaches kids about classical instruments.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A musical collaboration between the International Institute of St. Louis and the St. Louis Symphony will have the sounds of Syria, Somalia, Palestine, Bosnia, Congo and Cuba streaming from the gym at the institute come May 3.

The purpose of Music Without Boundaries is to make immigrants new to the area feel welcomed by connecting them to the sounds of their homeland.

For Maureen Byrne, the director of community programs at the St. Louis Symphony, the collaboration was a logical fit.

The Trombones of the St. Louis Symphony

The Trombones of the Saint Louis Symphony may be known for their spectacular performances of works by composers like Rimsky-Korsakov, Dukas or Mozart but that’s not all this quartet has up its sleeves. The ensemble will soon feature two world premieres and a new arrangement of Radiohead’ “Everything in its Right Place.”

Yes, you read that right, Radiohead.

Tatiana Berman performs as part of Not So Classical
Provided by David Donnelly

Filmmaker David Donnelly is on a mission to keep classical music relevant.  For him it’s all about the genre’s ability to bring together history and personal experience.

“Something may have been composed centuries ago, but then you hear it and it feels like it was written for you, and that’s this continuum of human civilization,” Donnelly said.

Music director David Robertson conducts the St. Louis Symphony.
Provided by the St. Louis Symphony

Updated Feb. 19, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. with audio from "St. Louis on the Air" – Look for the St. Louis Symphony to leave the ground and fly high in its 2016-17 season — a season that could be described, in part at least, as music in flight. 

This is the orchestra’s 137th season; the repertory for it was announced this morning by SLSO Music Director David Robertson and Symphony President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard. There's another milestone: Robertson himself chalks up a dozen career years on Grand Boulevard as maestro of the St. Louis orchestra. That, in a peripatetic era, is a statistic that soars on its own, and one cheered not only by St. Louis audiences but audiences all over the country and abroad, as well.

David Robertson conducts a performance at Powell Hall in this file photo.
Dan Dreyfus

The St. Louis Symphony will return to New York’s Carnegie Hall in March 2017.

Music director David Robertson will lead the symphony and chorus in a performance of John Adams’ “Gospel According to the Other Mary.” The event pays tribute to Adams’ 70th birthday.

The performance will include an international vocal ensemble, showcasing singer Kelley O’Connor. The mezzo-soprano performed the 2013 world premiere of the title role of “Gospel”

Deborah O'Grady / St. Louis Symphony

This weekend’s performance of French composer Olivier Messiaen’s “From the Canyons to the Stars” by the Saint Louis Symphony aims to take the listener from the orchestra pit to the passages and hollows of Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon and Cedar Brake, Utah. These are the same places that Messiaen went in 1972 to find inspiration for the piece in 12 movements. 

Webster University

“Peter and the Wolf,” the classic work of Sergei Prokofiev, has been performed in countless guises over its 80-year history. It is often presented as a work for children, but the St. Louis Symphony is challenging that assumption with its next performance of the work over Thanksgiving weekend.

flickr | southtyrolean

With ISIL breathing down our necks, and with political shenanigans raining down upon us from ideological thunderheads; with racism and its various crippling spawn bedeviling us;  with apparently intractable financial, educational, residential and vocational inequities confronting us; with guns, guns, guns everywhere; with the reality of catastrophic climate metamorphoses; with the rendings of the fabrics of families; with contempt for knowledge: In the face of all of this, how is it that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra would have the cheek to present to its audiences Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9  in D Minor, the Choral Symphony with its “Ode to Joy?”

St. Louis Symphony music director David Robertson spoke about the 2015-16 season with "Cityscape" host Steve Potter.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

This season at the St. Louis Symphony, “music tells the stories,” said music director David Robertson.

Robertson joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the Symphony’s 136th season, which begins this weekend and runs through June of next year.

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to priorities, Marie-Hélène Bernard will not be easily swayed. When asked by “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh whether she prefers to open her first season as president of the St. Louis Symphony  or throw out the first pitch at a Cardinals game, she made it clear that it doesn’t matter what she’s doing so long as it is connecting the local community to the symphony.

“Both are so, so exciting … exciting in a way that gets me to know the community,” said Bernard. “It is a really wonderful city.”

Far Lft, Brian Owens; Middle Lft, Sara Michaelis; Middle Rt, Stanley Johnson; Far Rt, Sonya Murray
Alex Heuer

The St. Louis Symphony and Maryville University collaborated to create an 8-week music therapy program called “Life Compositions” to help students at Confluence Academy Old North deal with the challenges and trauma of growing up in urban neighborhoods. Graduate students in Maryville’s music therapy program worked with the youth to write and record songs, which they will highlight in a concert titled “Courage Counts” on June 4.

Aida Act 2, scene 2, set design for the Cairo premiere by Edouard Despléchin
Wikipedia

“Aida” is one of a group of extraordinary 19th century works of musical drama that gave opera its sometime first name, that is, “Grand.” In an all-stops-pulled-out production of “Aida,” soldiers lead chain gangs of slaves and supernumeraries wave huge feather fans, with nubile ballerinas dancing their own special ballet, plus the company of acres of choristers, plus elephants sometimes and a cast of principals with voices grand as all outdoors.

Such an “Aida” etches indelible memories on an audience member, leaving him or her either breathless with devotion or convinced that all this actually is excessive and silly.

Lucrecia García, soprano, sings the title role in Aida.
Provided by the St. Louis Symphony

Our live broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony's 2014-2015 season end this weekend, and you can be right there with us from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 9.

On select Saturday evenings, St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts the Symphony's performance over the air, bringing you a live classical music experience wherever you are. 

Here's what's planned for you this weekend:

VERDI Aida (1871)

(1813-1901)

David Robertson conducting at Powell Hall.
Scott Ferguson

We continue our live broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony's 2014-2015 season this weekend, and you can be right there with us from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 2. 

On select Saturday evenings, St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts the Symphony's performance over the air, bringing you a live classical music experience wherever you are. 

Here's what's planned for you this weekend:

Left to right. Thelma Steward, Freida Wheaton, Amy Kaiser, Ilene Berman, Shualee Cook, Cecilia Nadal, Kelly Pollack
Nancy Fowler

St. Louis women honored by the St. Louis Visionary Awards took home trophies Monday night but not before announcing visions of their own.

This was the first year for the revived awards, which skipped 2014 after Grand Center Inc. withdrew its sponsorship. At the Sun Theater ceremony, many of the seven awardees took the podium to not only say “thanks” but to tell the crowd of more than 300 about their passions.

Dilip Vishwanat

The St. Louis Symphony’s IN UNISON Chorus will perform its annual community concert Sunday, April 26 at Greater Grace Church in Ferguson.

Founded 20 years ago under the leadership of Robert Ray, the chorus became a permanent staple with the symphony after a single performance. Directed by Kevin McBeth, the chorus consists of participants from around 40 churches and features music that reflects African and African American culture.

When IN UNISON was founded, the St. Louis Symphony Chorus had already earned a nationwide reputation

Pianist Emanuel Ax.
Maurice Jerry Beznos

We continue our live broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony's 2014-2015 season this weekend, and you can be right there with us from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. 

On select Saturday evenings, St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts the Symphony's performance over the air, bringing you a live classical music experience wherever you are. 

Here's what's planned for you this weekend:

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