Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra explore the intersection of classical and jazz music in three concerts, January 12-21

(December 5, 2023, St. Louis, MO) – Today, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announced details of a three-concert exploration of the relationship between jazz and the classical forms, all led by Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin. The concerts—January 12, 13, and 21—include the debut of two instrumentalists and a jazz trio; the world premiere of a violin concerto; the first SLSO performances of three more works; and performances of three classic George Gershwin works recorded by the orchestra in the 1970s. All concerts take place at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Tickets start at $15 and are available for purchase at or by calling the Box Office at 314-534-1700. A full concert calendar is available at or on the SLSO’s mobile app available for iOS or Android. Broadcasts of these concerts will take place on January 13, 20, and 27 on 90.7 FM KWMU St. Louis Public Radio, Classic 107.3, and online. Audiences can attend a Pre-Concert Conversation, an engaging discussion about the music and artists on the program, one hour prior to each concert in the auditorium.

Shuttle service will be available starting at $15 per seat, departing from Plaza Frontenac. Free parking is available on the UMSL campus.

Porgy and Bess
Friday, January 12, 10:30am CST*
Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis
1 Touhill Circle, St. Louis, Missouri, 63121

Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin (SLSO debut)

George Antheil A Jazz Symphony (First SLSO performance)
Jeff Beal Body in Motion, for violin and orchestra (World premiere)
Duke Ellington The Three Black Kings
George Gershwin Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture

Presented by the Whitaker Foundation.
*Refreshments courtesy of Kaldi’s Coffee and Eddie’s Southtown Donuts.

The three-concert exploration begins with an overview of American originality, reflected in the soulful and sumptuous music of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, which has stood the test of time, depicting the environment and lives of 1920s Charleston, South Carolina. George Antheil’s Jazz Symphony is one of the first works of orchestral jazz, and Duke Ellington’s final work, The Three Black Kings, was written as a eulogy for Martin Luther King, Jr. Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins makes her SLSO debut in a new violin concerto by Jeff Beal, a jazz trumpeter and Emmy Award-winning composer best known for his music for film and television.

An American in Paris
Saturday, January 13, 7:30pm CST
Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis
1 Touhill Circle, St. Louis, Missouri, 63121

Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Victor Goines, clarinet (SLSO debut)

Darius Milhaud Le Création du monde
Igor Stravinsky Ebony Concerto (First SLSO performance)
Kurt Weill Suite from The Threepenny Opera
George Gershwin An American in Paris

The series takes a detour through jazz-mad Europe in the second installment. Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky, and Kurt Weill all fell in love with American jazz, and their music bears its stamp. Victor Goines, jazz clarinetist and president of Jazz St. Louis, rocks and wails in Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto, which receives its first SLSO performances in this concert. Kurt Weill’s Suite from The Threepenny Opera includes hits like “Mack the Knife.” The program ends with the honking horns and swaggering tunes of Gershwin’s An American in Paris, originally recorded by the SLSO in 1974, one of the first U.S. orchestras to record Gershwin’s concert works.

Rhapsody in Blue
Sunday, January 21, 3:00pm CST
Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis
1 Touhill Circle, St. Louis, Missouri, 63121

Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Aaron Diehl Trio (SLSO debut)
Jeffrey Siegel, piano

Paul Turok A Joplin Overture
Mary Lou Williams Selections from Zodiac Suite (First SLSO performance)
John Alden Carpenter Krazy Kat
George Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue

This concert is sold out.

The three-concert series’ finale returns to jazz’s American home for a program featuring Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Premiered in 1924 and recorded by the SLSO in 1974, this concert marks a double milestone for the piece. The Aaron Diehl trio makes its debut in Mary Lou Williams’ Zodiac Suite, paying homage to an underperformed mid-20th-century composer. John Alden Carpenter’s ballet Krazy Kat was one of the first to incorporate jazz, while Paul Turok channels a St. Louis icon in A Joplin Overture.

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Eric Dundon

Public Relations Director