The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra shares results of its 2022/2023 season, highlighting artistic achievements, community impact, and innovative engagement
The SLSO made music accessible to the St. Louis region and beyond through live concerts, broadcasts, digital projects, and touring, directly engaging with more than one million people in concert halls, classrooms, and community spaces
(November 1, 2023, St. Louis, MO) – Today at its Annual Meeting, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra shared the artistic achievements, community impact, and financial results of its 2022/2023 season, its 143rd consecutive year. The members elected one new trustee and re-elected nine trustees and five officers for an additional three-year term. The full 22/23 Annual Report is available at slso.org/impact.
At the Annual Meeting, Members of the Board elected Dr. Gayle Jackson (Energy Global Inc.) as trustee, who joined trustees Marcela Manjarrez (M Strategic Communications) and John Winski (Bayer) elected last spring by the Board of Trustees. Members also re-elected nine trustees: Barry Beracha (retired Sara Lee Bakery Group), Susan Eickhoff (KPMG, LLP), Carolyn Graham Farrell (H&H Metal Fabrication), Molly Hyland (Commerce Bank), Marjorie Ivey (community volunteer), Rex Sinquefield (Show-Me Institute, Saint Louis Chess Club, Sinquefield Charitable Foundation), Thelma Steward (Steward Family Foundation), Peter Van Cleve (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner), and Susan Veidt (retired FleishmanHillard). Following the Annual Meeting, the Board proceeded to the re-election of four officers: Nancy Galvin (community volunteer) as Vice Chair, Noémi Neidorff (community volunteer) as Vice Chair, Kathleen T. Osborn (Regional Business Council) as Vice Chair, and Dr. Donald M. Suggs (The St. Louis American) as Assistant Secretary. In addition, they elected Daniel C. Wessel (Enterprise Holdings, Inc.) as Treasurer. Elizabeth Mannen Berges (Wells Fargo Advisors) was re-appointed as an SLSO trustee representative to the SLSO Endowment Trust.
Steve Finerty, Chair of the SLSO Board of Trustees, said, “I congratulate our family of artists for a season of remarkable accomplishments. The artistry of our musicians and chorus members, alongside the leadership of our Board, Music Director Stéphane Denève, President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard, and staff and volunteers sustains the institution’s momentum as one of the finest orchestras in the country. I thank the community for their deep engagement with the orchestra and look forward to making music more accessible to all through the expansion and renovation of our beloved Powell Hall.”
Marie-Hélène Bernard, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra President and CEO, said, “We are entering an exciting new chapter in the SLSO’s history. The engagement and support of our audiences, donors, and community energizes the institution as we strive to enrich lives through the power of music. I am grateful to our musicians and Stéphane Denève, whose outstanding artistry creates moving experiences and draws communities together. A special thanks goes to our staff, volunteers, and two choruses for their unwavering commitment to our mission. Our organization benefits greatly from the inspiring leadership of Board Chair Steve Finerty, and the forward-thinking vision of our Board and Advisory Council.”
The 22/23 season’s successes were celebrated in tandem with the ongoing 65,000-square foot expansion and renovation of the orchestra’s home, Powell Hall—begun in March 2023. Led by the internationally acclaimed architecture firm Snøhetta, the project will transform the audience and artistic experience while protecting Powell Hall’s historic character and celebrated acoustics, creating a state-of-the art center for community, innovation, and powerful music experiences. While construction continues, the SLSO will perform throughout the community. The revitalized Powell Hall will open in 2025 to coincide with the building’s centennial.
Key Institutional and Artistic Highlights
- Creative collaborations and partnerships across artforms and the community
Throughout the 22/23 season, Denève and the SLSO welcomed renowned guest artists and acclaimed composers to Powell Hall, including more than 20 artists in their SLSO debuts. Expanding the boundaries of orchestral repertoire, Denève programmed the season around a theme of journeying, including musical styles and voices from around the world. Many of the world’s top artists returned to Powell Hall for collaborations with the SLSO. The orchestra’s dynamic programming included the first Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., concert, a collaborative concert with The Muny, the continuation of the Live at the Pulitzer series, and others. This season also marked the 47th year of the SLSO’s partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
- Championing today’s musical voices
Stéphane Denève and the SLSO championed music of today, performing three world premieres by Guillaume Connesson, Kevin Puts, and James Lee III; a U.S. premiere by Helen Grime; and 36 other pieces by living composers, including as part of its St. Louis Symphony: Live at the Pulitzer concerts, which elevates music by composers of today.
- European tour
For the first time since 2017, the SLSO musicians represented the region and country at some of the world’s top concert venues on a five-city, four-country European tour. Led by Denève, the orchestra visited some of Europe’s cultural capitals, including Vienna; Brussels; Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Amsterdam; and Madrid. Acclaimed pianist Víkingur Ólafsson joined the orchestra on the tour.
- More than 153,000 people experienced the power of live music with the SLSO at Powell Hall and across the region—starting with an estimated 15,000 St. Louisans at the return of the Forest Park concert. The SLSO presented more than 100 live performances, including 80+ concerts at Powell Hall, two holiday concerts in St. Charles at Lindenwood University, Juneteenth at First Baptist Church of Chesterfield, and others throughout the St. Louis community.
- Education programming reached more than 330,000 students and teachers in 49 states and eight countries, a 33 percent increase in engagement from the previous season. The SLSO’s robust education portfolio includes live and digital concerts, in-classroom programs with musicians, teacher training and resources, and corporate partnerships with the National Association for Music Education.
- An estimated 450,000 people experienced the SLSO through its weekly live broadcasts of Saturday classical concerts with longtime partner St. Louis Public Radio and new simulcast partner Classic 107.3.
- The SLSO adopted an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan, taking another step forward on a strategic priority of long-term EDI integration, focusing on three key areas: people, programming, and partnerships.
FY23 Financial Results
- For the fiscal year ending August 31, 2023, total operating revenue was $31.319 million, while operating expenses totaled $31.379 million, resulting in a cash operating loss of $60,000. The SLSO reported strong philanthropic support during the year. A total of $7.7 million was raised for the Annual Fund, including $195,000 generated by the Steward Family Challenge. More than 50 percent of challenge donations came from new donors. The endowment ended the fiscal year at $237.8 million. The distribution from the endowment draw proved critical to the stability of the SLSO this year, providing approximately 35 percent of the SLSO’s income.