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St. Louis Symphony releases 2018-19 schedule with input from orchestra musicians

The St. Louis Symphony performs at Powell Hall in a 2016 concert.
File photo | St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony has announced its 2018-2019 schedule, which includes a mixture of classics and new works.

The method of selecting the lineup was also new. For its 139th season, the orchestra asked its musicians to weigh in.

It just made sense to include them, according to Marie-Hélène Bernard, symphony president and CEO .

“They develop a very special connection to our audience,” Bernard said. “And I thought, ‘I should ask them first,’ what they think our audience would like to hear, what they, as artists, would like to bring back or to explore together.”

Input from the musicians has put a number of symphony soloists in the lineup, Bernard said. They include Celeste Golden Boyer, Melissa Brooks, Beth Guterman Chu, Andrew Cuneo, David Halen, Allegra Lilly, and Mark Sparks.

The season will include the world premieres of two symphony-commissioned works, including a bassoon concerto by Christopher Rouse.

Stéphane Denève , music director designate, looks forward to a schedule that precedes his taking over the position long held by David Robertson next year.

“I’m proud to collaborate with a forward-looking and deeply engaged group of artists," Denève said, in a news release. “And I am intrigued by the rich and varied exploration of works that are both new to the ensemble and to revisit many which have become a core part of this storied orchestra’s repertoire.”

Past, present and future

Music director designate Stéphane Denève will officially take the post now held by David Robertson in the 2019-2020 season.
Credit St. Louis Symphony
Music director designate Stéphane Denève will officially take the post now held by David Robertson in the 2019-2020 season.

The schedule has Denève leading the orchestra for four weeks, conducting works by Berlioz, Brahms, Mozart, Ravel, Scriabin, Wagner, among others.

Resident conductor Gemma New will open the season with performances that include the symphony’s premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ "Musica celestis," along with Sibelius’ "Finlandia" and Elgar’s "Enigma Variations."

Conductor laureate Leonard Slatkin will lead two programs, including Leonard Bernstein’s “Kaddish” Symphony. Slatkin will also lead the world premiere of a symphony-commissioned work by composer Jeff Beal, an Emmy-Award winner known for his compositions for the Netflix series “House of Cards.”

“It’s the past, the present, the future — and so you have so many various influences,” Bernard said.

The 2018-2019 classical season runs from Sept. 22, 2018 through May 12, 2019. The symphony will announce its “Live at Powell Hall” schedule later this year.

Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

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