2022: The State of the Orchestra

SLSO President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard shares highlights of 2021 and looks forward to the year ahead.


Your generous support of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra inspires and connects our community to music in transformative ways.


Thanks to your charitable spirit, the SLSO is a vibrant organization, having served our community and the world as a performer, creator, educator, and connector for more than 142 years. This fall, we resumed a regular concert schedule with full musical forces and audiences at Powell Hall. Beloved holiday traditions followed, like Gospel Christmas with the IN UNISON Chorus led by Kevin McBeth, and the New Year’s Eve Celebration. At every concert, joy radiated through both the audience and our incredibly talented musicians. To learn more about the SLSO's impact on St. Louis and the world, view our Annual Report at slso.org/impact.


In 2021, more than 50,000 patrons experienced the thrill of live orchestral music, with one-third of them visiting the SLSO for the first time, in addition to more than 4.5 million impressions on our digital platforms. More than 60,000 students participated in education programs and our extraordinary Youth Orchestra returned to the Emerson Concert Stage with YO Music Director and Assistant Conductor Stephanie Childress. This spring, we look forward to welcoming back both the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and IN UNISON Chorus, and to celebrating Symphony Chorus Director Amy Kaiser who concludes her tenure at the end of the season. We invite you to join us for a special event honoring Amy's exceptional career and legacy on March 18.


It is an exciting time for our community, as Music Director Stéphane Denève and his family have chosen to make St. Louis their home. Stéphane continues to deepen his connections with the entire SLSO family and our region; having his residence here is a reflection of his love for our community and orchestra.


Part of our work to keep music and music education thriving is to ensure that music is accessible to all. Centering our efforts to shape an even stronger SLSO through equity, diversity, inclusion, and access, I am eager to welcome Dr. Yolanda Alovor as Vice President for External Affairs and EDI. I look forward to introducing Yoli to our community this month as she moves back to her hometown of St. Louis and joins our team.

We are learning so much from you and our community during this pandemic. We feel strengthened by your active participation and by your unwavering commitment to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. You truly sustained the SLSO with your support, making music a vital part of the cultural fabric of our region. We are deeply grateful to Board Chair Steve Finerty and our Board for their steadfast leadership and commitment to the SLSO.


Our institution is poised to shape an exciting future supporting new collaborations, emerging artists, and musical explorations that bridge the future with our amazing legacy. We have an exciting spring ahead—with more details coming soon about our new digital concerts. In March, we’ll share details of our 2022/2023 season, one we are crafting as a source of joy, inspiration, celebration, reflection, and connection to each other and to St. Louis. Until then, we look forward to welcoming you back to Powell Hall often this season.


Warmly,






Marie-Helene Bernard

President and CEO