The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève announce details for live orchestral concerts, return of audiences to Powell Hall
- Music Director Stéphane Denève leads five weeks of chamber orchestra concerts at Powell Hall, leading the SLSO in works across genre and time including works by J.S. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, TJ Cole, Aaron Copland, Arthur Honegger, Ester Mägi, Felix Mendelssohn, W.A. Mozart, Arvo Pärt, Sergei Prokofiev, Camille Saint-Saëns, Dmitri Shostakovich, Richard Strauss, and Igor Stravinsky
- Stephanie Childress makes her debut as SLSO Assistant Conductor, leading works by Sally Beamish, Benjamin Britten, and Antonín Dvořák in concerts April 9-11 and conducting the SLSO again April 16-18 in works by Luigi Boccherini, W.A. Mozart, and Ottorino Respighi. She also makes her SLSO debut as a soloist in Bach’s Double Violin Concerto, March 26-28
- SLSO Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin returns to the lead the SLSO April 23-25 in works by Benjamin Britten, Alberto Ginastera, and Maurice Ravel
- Five SLSO musicians are featured soloists during the spring: violinists Kristin Ahlstrom, Celeste Golden Boyer, Xiaoxiao Qiang, Erin Schreiber, and violist Shannon Farrell Williams
- The launch of digital concerts on slso.org, giving audiences on-demand access to SLSO performances from their homes
- An expanded collection of educational resources, including SLSO SoundLab—a four-part interactive experience that teaches the science of sound through videos and activities
(March 9, 2021, St. Louis, MO) – Today, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève announced details for the orchestra’s spring 2021 season—a season with live, socially distanced concerts at Powell Hall, the debut of Assistant Conductor Stephanie Childress, greater access to SLSO performances through digital concerts, enhanced educational resources, and a wealth of opportunities to connect with the SLSO from home.
Tickets for live, in-person concerts—scheduled for March 26 through May 15—go on sale to the public on March 9. Each concert will be approximately one hour and performed without intermission. Tickets for the SLSO’s digital concerts—launched February 11 and available to stream on slso.org—are also on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit slso.org or call the Box Office at 314-534-1700.
Out of an abundance of caution, capacity will be limited to 300 people at live concerts. Tickets to live concerts are $25-$50, and free tickets have been made available to community partners through the SLSO’s Stéphane Seats program. Additionally, the SLSO plans to make selections from these performances accessible via on-demand streaming later this year on slso.org. Tickets to view digital concerts on slso.org are $15.
Stéphane Denève, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Music Director, said, “‘Retrouvailles’ is one of the most beautiful French words to me. It perfectly describes the happiness of being together again, after too long an interval! At last, we are indeed able to welcome our dear audience safely back at Powell Hall. What a joy to reunite our family, including our Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin and also the exciting addition of Stephanie Childress, our new Assistant Conductor! What a thrill to share altogether the power of live music anew! Music is a precious balm for these times and its essential resounding gives me hope for the bright future that lies ahead.”
Marie-Hélène Bernard, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra President and CEO, said, “We are so pleased to resume live concerts this spring in a safe and supportive environment. Over the past year, Stéphane, our musicians, and staff have worked tirelessly to make music accessible to all despite the pandemic. We are eager to welcome audiences back to Powell Hall and are grateful to maintain connections with those who can’t yet join us for in-person events with a growing portfolio of digital content.”
Jonathan Chu and Jennifer Nitchman, Co-Chairs of the SLSO Musicians’ Council, said, “The musicians of the SLSO cannot wait to get back on stage to perform live for our community! Throughout this difficult year, the support of the Board, our tireless staff, and our patrons has been steadfast, for which we are deeply grateful. We have loved performing for you digitally, but there is something special in the experience of live music that cannot be replicated. We are looking forward to giving back in the way we best know how: through performing to you all, live, on stage at Powell Hall.”
The spring 2021 live concerts include eight weeks of performances at Powell Hall with socially distanced audiences. The season embraces the family of SLSO artists, with concerts led by Music Director Stéphane Denève, as well as Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin, and the conducting and performance debut of SLSO Assistant Conductor Stephanie Childress, a rising talent who also begins her tenure as the Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra.
SLSO musicians also share the spotlight in the spring 2021 season, with five stepping forward as featured soloists during the season, including Associate Principal Second Violinist Kristin Ahlstrom, Second Associate Concertmaster Celeste Golden Boyer, Assistant Concertmaster Erin Schreiber, violinist Xiaoxiao Qiang, and violist Shannon Farrell Williams. Spring 2021 live concerts feature the first SLSO performances of works by Sally Beamish, Luigi Boccherini, TJ Cole, Ester Mägi, and Arvo Pärt.
Concerts begin March 26-28 and continue through May 13-15, with each performance approximately one hour and performed without intermission. Concerts will be recorded by the SLSO’s new high-definition camera system and will be available to stream on slso.org for a limited time at a later date. Additionally, rebroadcasts of prior SLSO concerts will continue each Saturday night at 8:00pm CDT on 90.7 KWMU St. Louis Public Radio (news.stlpublicradio.org/#stream/0) and on the first Sunday of each month at 5:00pm CDT on Nine PBS (ninepbs.org/night-at-the-symphony/). Performances from the fall 2020 season, including the SLSO’s Songs of America and Songs of the Holidays series, are available on SLSO digital platforms including its YouTube channel and SLSO Stories.
The SLSO’s ability to now offer in-person concerts complement robust digital offerings that have been available throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital concerts, available to view for a limited a time on slso.org with a new concert available every two weeks, launched February 11. Filmed in Powell Hall, digital concerts launched with a free performance of works by Richard Strauss, Antonín Dvořák, and Takashi Yoshimatsu, led by Denève. Digital concerts launched to acclaim from critics, who were “thoroughly impressed by the audio and video quality” (Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX). Live concerts will take place concurrently to digital concerts.
The SLSO’s spring 2021 live concerts will build upon the success of in-person concerts in October and November 2020, when the SLSO welcomed audiences to live events in Powell Hall for the first time since March 2020. On the advice of a team of infectious disease experts at the Washington University School of Medicine led by Dr. Stephen Liang, the SLSO will maintain its operating plan that adheres to the highest standards of health and safety for patrons, musicians, and staff. This plan, approved by the City of St. Louis, includes a socially distanced seat map, limits contact, and requires audience members, staff, and string players of the orchestra to wear masks at all times. Based on current guidance from the city and the SLSO medical team, Powell Hall has been approved for a 726-person capacity per concert. Out of an abundance of caution, the SLSO has capped each concert at 300 people per concert to allow direct seat access for all patrons. Protocols may change throughout the spring as pandemic conditions evolve. Learn more about the SLSO’s health and safety protocols for concerts here.
The 20/21 SLSO Classical Season is presented by the Steward Family Foundation. The SLSO’s digital concerts are supported in part by a grant from the Berges Family Foundation. The SLSO’s expanded portfolio of virtual events for patrons to deepen their understanding of the orchestra and its musicians is supported by Washington University Physicians.
Expanding on its digital offerings and responding to the overwhelmingly positive feedback to the SLSO Songs of America project, the SLSO has launched a digital collection of performances that provide poignant music performances available on demand on SLSO platforms including slso.org, YouTube, and SLSO Stories. Content includes:
- Concerts performed at Powell Hall, conducted by Denève and other members of the SLSO Family. These hourlong concerts are available to stream on slso.org. Concerts cost $15 and can be streamed on mobile devices, personal computers, and smart televisions. Concerts are available for a limited time, with new concerts available every two weeks.
- A livestreamed concert on Sunday, March 14, at 3:00pm CDT, featuring musicians of the SLSO performing works by W.A. Mozart, Sergei Prokofiev, and Richard Strauss. Tickets are $15 and available on slso.org.
- A collaboration with the Pulitzer Arts Foundation explores themes of home through performances by orchestra musicians, and St. Louis Symphony Chorus and St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus members, filmed at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation campus. Videos feature works by Alice Chance, Nathalie Joachim, and Shelley Washington.
- Songs of America, launched the week of July 4, 2020, explores the incredible variety of voices in American music, recorded at the orchestra’s home in Powell Hall and filmed at notable locations across St. Louis. Since its release, Songs of America installments have reached more than 350,000 people in St. Louis and across the country.
- Songs of the Holidays presented by Mercy, provides a collection of sacred and secular holiday music performances.
The SLSO expanded its portfolio of virtual events for patrons to deepen their understanding of the orchestra and its musicians. Monthly Lunch & Learns offer in-depth discussions on topics related to the SLSO and have featured guests including Music Director Stéphane Denève, Assistant Conductor Stephanie Childress, Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin, and composers Nathalie Joachim and Kevin Puts.
Regularly occurring Coffee Talks with Musicians events allow donors and subscribers to interact online with SLSO musicians, while Whitaker Zoom Happy Hours prior to select concert rebroadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio provide a social event for SLSO donors and subscribers.
MUSIC EDUCATION RESOURCES
The SLSO’s Education Team created a library of resources to support teachers and help parents keep students engaged in music outside of the traditional classroom.
SLSO SoundLab is a free four-part series of interactive videos and activities that explores the intersection of music, science, and technology. In partnership with Breach—a multimedia performance company—students are able to put into practice what they learn through free access to online composition and sound mixing technology that will allow them to create and compose their own masterpieces. Since its launch to classrooms in December 2020 and to families in January 2021, SoundLab has reached nearly 30,000 children across the country and on three continents. Access SoundLab at slso.org/family.
Inside the Musician’s Studio offers middle and high school instrumental music students the opportunity to interact online with SLSO musicians through a series of 45-minute Zoom classes. Each session features a different topic presented by an SLSO musician and includes an accompanying classroom activity. Spring 2021 sessions will be announced on slso.org.
Discover Your Instrument, a series of online events, connects students interested in music with SLSO musicians for free. Designed to engage and inspire beginner musicians, these 30-minute sessions include interactive engagement opportunities for students. Initial events launched in December 2020 open to families and recurred in 2021 with music educators. New sessions will be announced on slso.org.
Beyond the Classroom: Studio Time for Teachers, a new resource providing professional development opportunities for music educators, is a curated series of online workshops presented by musicians of the SLSO on topics of most interest to teachers. The first workshop held in December 2020 featured Music Director Stéphane Denève demonstrating how he prepares for rehearsals. New sessions and additional professional development activities will be announced on slso.org.
Audiences can learn more about the SLSO and its musicians with stories from backstage, in Powell Hall, and throughout St. Louis at the orchestra’s digital magazine, SLSO Stories. Launched in 2019, this companion site of slso.org features stories, photos, program notes, and videos about the various aspects of the SLSO—including concerts, community programs, education initiatives, special events, and more.