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St. Louis Symphony Orchestra opens 139th season this weekend

From left, Marie-Hélène Bernard and Erik Finley look forward to the season opener of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra this weekend.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
From left, Marie-Hélène Bernard and Erik Finley look forward to the season opener of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra this weekend.";

Founded in 1880, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra begins its 2018-19 season this weekend.

“It’s an exciting time,” Marie-Hélène Bernard said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air in advance of the SLSO’s 139th season that features music director designate Stéphane Denève.

While Devène does not officially start as music director until the 2019-20 season, he will conduct four concerts, and Bernard explained his role this year with an analogy.

“Imagine that as you’re about to make a commitment to marry someone, there’s the engagement period, which leads to marriage,” the president and CEO of the SLSO said.

This allows time for the orchestra and Devène to become acquainted and share ideas and philosophies about how they will perform together, “and always focusing on what the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is about, what’s our unique voice, and what talent do we have on stage and what is [it] this community aspires to,” Bernard said.

Bernard joined host Don Marsh, along with Erik Finley to discuss what’s in store for concertgoers and listeners of Saturday night broadcasts of the SLSO on St. Louis Public Radio.

As the SLSO often hosts guest artists, composers and conductors, Finley, vice president, artistic and operations, acknowledged that there are “certainly more female conductors than usual this season.”

“Part of that is because we have a resident conductor, Gemma New, who we believe greatly in, and we’re excited to start a season with, and [she] connects with the orchestra at a very deep level,” Finley said.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara HamdanCaitlin Lally and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Caitlin Lally is thrilled to join St. Louis Public Radio as the summer production intern for "St. Louis on the Air." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Caitlin also freelances for area publications like Sauce Magazine and the Belleville News-Democrat. In her career, she's covered topics such as Trump's travel ban, political protests and community activism. When she's not producing audio segments or transcribing interviews, Caitlin enjoys practicing yoga, seeing live music, and cooking plant-based meals.

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