By Caitlin Custer; Photos by Caitlin Custer, Eric Dundon, Matt Rice, and Dilip Vishwanat
Stéphane, pictured here with Board Chair Steve Finerty, committed to serve as Music Director of the SLSO through the 25/26 season, saying that he was “truly over the moon to deepen my relationship with this wonderful community in the years to come.” The SLSO Board of Trustees also extended President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard’s contract through 2025.
Stephanie Childress came to St. Louis as the SLSO’s new Assistant Conductor and Music Director of the Youth Orchestra. She jumped in with Youth Orchestra rehearsals, made her debut on the Emerson Concert Stage as a violin soloist and began leading the SLSO in concerts ranging from classical favorites to the Music of The Beatles.
SLSO On the Go, a program started in fall 2020, returned for its second series in spring and summer 2021. Musicians visited parks, medical centers, local landmarks, and residential neighborhoods to share the power of music. Members of the IN UNISON Chorus joined an SLSO string quartet to perform at Washington Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in honor of Juneteenth, and SLSO musicians performed for patients, visitors, medical workers, and staff at Mercy Hospital.
Musicians also performed a day of music at Forest Park as part of SLSO On the Go, with several concerts at favorite locations throughout the park in honor of the park's 145th birthday. At the same time, half of the orchestra was performing with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the 44th year of partnership between the two organizations.
SLSO Chorus Director Amy Kaiser, who celebrates her final season with the SLSO this year, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arts and Education Council. Kaiser began her career in choral conducting in New York in the 1960s and 1970s before coming to the SLSO in 1995. Clockwise from bottom left: Amy Kaiser, Assistant Chorus Director Leon Burke III, Chorus Manager Susan Patterson, and Accompanist Gail Hintz.
The 2021/2022 season started with the beloved Forest Park concert and performances to inspire, from Kishi Bashi, Motown, and even a world premiere performance with choreography of Anna Clyne’s DANCE, featuring St. Louis dancers on the Emerson Concert Stage. Further fall highlights included welcoming musical friends new and old to Powell Hall, continuing our St. Louis Symphony: Live at the Pulitzer series, and introducing two new hosts to Saturday night live broadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio 90.7 and Classic 107.3.