St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s first season under the artistic leadership of incoming music director Stéphane Denève will include two world premieres, a selection of French composers and artists, and a world-renowned artist-in-residence.
Denève has been a familiar presence at the orchestra as a guest conductor, having led nine concert programs, with three more to come later this season. Yet his first as the artistic leader of the organization marks a milestone, said Erik Finley, the orchestra’s vice president for artistic and operations.
“It really offers the first opportunity for Stéphane to begin to shape the orchestra artistically. So really the relationship begins to take form,” Finley said.
It includes a short piece commissioned for the occasion from American composer Kevin Puts, works by iconic French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and, most playfully, George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris." Denève recruited his countryman Jean-Yves Thibaudet to be SLSO’s first artist-in-residence. (In addition to his status as a world-renowned pianist, Thibaudet was also the best man at Denève’s wedding.)
Thibaudet will appear in several programs, including one featuring selections from a “symphonic play” featuring the work of Ravel.
The addition of an artist-in-residence will offer an “immersive experience” for the audience, Wemple said. “He’s really, I think, one of the most versatile musicians on the planet right now. It takes an artist of that type of breadth and broad relationship with both the repertoire and different genres to have an immersive, large-scale residency like this.”
The season will also include a tribute to former SLSO music director Leonard Slatkin on the occasion of his 75th birthday.
Jeremy can be found on Twitter @jeremydgoodwin.
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