St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Music Directorship endowed in perpetuity, named The Joseph and Emily Rauh Pulitzer Music Director
The Joseph and Emily Rauh Pulitzer Music Director position is held by Stéphane Denève, the SLSO’s 13th Music Director
(October 3, 2023, St. Louis, MO) – Today, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announced the institution’s Music Director position has been endowed in perpetuity as the result of a generous gift by Emily Rauh Pulitzer. Funds from the endowment will provide a permanent base of funding that will bolster the SLSO’s ability to retain and attract the highest level of artistic leadership.
The naming of the Music Director celebrates a lifetime of devoted support, service, and leadership by Emily Rauh Pulitzer and the late Joseph Pulitzer Jr. spanning more than 80 years. The Joseph and Emily Rauh Pulitzer Music Director position, currently held by Stéphane Denève, leads the artistic vision of the 144-year-old institution and the artistic portfolio of the orchestra and its two resident choruses.
Marie-Hélène Bernard, SLSO President and CEO, said, “Throughout their long affiliation with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and many other arts and culture institutions in St. Louis and beyond, Joseph and Emily Pulitzer have proven to be visionary leaders and steadfast champions of the arts. It is fitting that the SLSO’s Music Director position will bear their names in honor of their extraordinary service to and support of the orchestra. We are immeasurably grateful for their generosity.”
Emily Rauh Pulitzer said,“The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has always meant a great deal to me and to Joe, a passionate music lover who truly immersed himself in the life of the institution for decades. I know that he would be very pleased with this gift and to be remembered in this way for his longtime support of the Orchestra.”
Stéphane Denève, SLSO Music Director, said, “I am incredibly honored to carry this title, which recognizes the Pulitzers—a couple that has for years demonstrated deep engagement with the SLSO, extraordinary philanthropic generosity, and immense vision for the St. Louis community and beyond.”
The Pulitzers’ affiliation with the SLSO spans more than a century. Following in his father’s footsteps who served on the SLSO’s board for three terms from 1910 to 1940, Joseph Pulitzer Jr. joined the SLSO Board in 1939 when he returned from Harvard. Passionate about music and the SLSO, he held subscription tickets for decades, supported the orchestra throughout his life, and served on the SLSO Board for more than 16 years. Since 1994, Emily Rauh Pulitzer has served as an SLSO Trustee, currently serving as the Secretary of the Board and Chair of the Powell Hall Task Force, which oversees the expansion and renovation of the orchestra’s historic home at Powell Hall. Combined, Joseph and Emily Pulitzer represent 45 years of service on the SLSO’s Board.
Both Joseph and Emily Pulitzer were deeply involved in the revival of St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood as an arts and cultural district. This included involvement in bringing to the neighborhood the SLSO, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, KWMU—St. Louis’ public radio station—and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, with which the SLSO has had a 20-year partnership.
Beginning his tenure in September 2019, Denève is the orchestra’s 13th Music Director, debuting with the SLSO 20 years ago in September 2003. Since then, he has led dozens of SLSO concerts, including the annual community concert in Forest Park, family concerts, and concerts throughout the Midwest and Europe. Denève’s energetic musicianship, visionary storytelling, and collaborative spirit have created stronger connections with local and visiting artists, positioned the orchestra as a community and education leader, and has fostered the SLSO’s global reputation as a leading orchestra.
The dynamic partnership with Denève is emblematic of the institution’s long history of engaging top orchestral conductors as Music Director, including Vladimir Golschmann, Walter Susskind, Leonard Slatkin, and David Robertson.