By Mary Hopkins
The subtitle of Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 64—“Tempora mutantur”—roughly translates to “The times are changed, and we are changed with them.” This phrase reflects the power of the human spirit, the theme that defines the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s 2021/2022 Season. To celebrate that spirit, the SLSO welcomes both new and returning guest artists to Powell Hall for a season of noteworthy performances.
From exciting new guest artists making powerful impressions, to longtime friends of St. Louis audiences, here are the artists joining your SLSO this fall:
Recently named the Music Director Designate of the Oregon Symphony, conductor David Danzmayr’s musical career spans the globe. As Honorary Conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Danzmayr won the Zagreb City Award for his remarkable interpretations of classical music. Danzmayr also holds accolades from several prestigious conducting competitions. Prior to becoming a Music Director himself, Danzmayr worked as an assistant to SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. This fall (November 19-20), he makes his SLSO debut, conducting Schubert’s “Great” Symphony, the U.S. premiere of Anna Clyne’s PIVOT—an SLSO co-commission features the Scottish folk melody “The Flowers of Edinburgh”—as well as Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with violinist Simone Porter in her SLSO debut.
English conductor and longtime friend of the SLSO, Nic McGegan returns to Powell Hall this season. As the Music Director Laureate of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, McGegan has earned a reputation as an expert in Baroque music. Throughout his prolific career, McGegan has released more than 100 albums—more than 50 of which feature the work of composer George Frideric Handel. McGegan first conducted the SLSO in 1986 in Handel’s Messiah. This fall, he leads the orchestra in Nic McGegan’s Bach (December 3-5). The concert includes the SLSO premieres of C.P.E. Bach’s Sinfonia in E minor and Cello Concerto in A Major, H. 439, as well as performances of two of J.S. Bach’s famous Brandenburg concertos (No. 1 and No. 6). McGegan will also share the stage with three SLSO soloists: cellist Yin Xiong, Principal Violist Beth Guterman Chu and violist Andrew François.
Former Resident Conductor of the SLSO and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, New Zealand-born Gemma New remains deeply connected to both the orchestra and St. Louis. In 2018, New made SLSO history as the first woman conductor to conduct the opening concerts of the orchestra’s classical season. When she returns to Powell Hall this fall, she’ll lead the orchestra in Poems, Tales, and Memories (November 27-28), featuring the SLSO premiere of Jake Heggie’s The Work at Hand, Edward Elgar’s Sea Pictures, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. These concerts will be performed in memory of Sarah Bryan Miller, the late St. Louis Post-Dispatch classical music critic, professional mezzo-soprano, and dear friend of the SLSO. The program also features two guest artists: mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and SLSO cellist Elizabeth Chung.
SLSO Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin returns to Powell Hall this season to conduct the Made in America concerts (October 9-10). During his time as the Music Director of the SLSO, Slatkin championed American music and composers, the underlying theme for these concerts. For his return to Powell Hall this fall, the six-time Grammy winner will conduct the titular Made in America by composer Joan Tower, who was a composer-in-residence during Slatkin’s tenure at the SLSO. Tower’s piece examines life in America after living abroad as a child. Concertmaster David Halen joins Slatkin on stage for the first SLSO performances of William Bolcom’s Violin Concerto, another composer-in-residence during the Slatkin era. The concerts conclude with Béla Bartók’s virtuosic Concerto for Orchestra, a showcase for the entire orchestra that was premiered the U.S. in 1944, shortly before Bartók became an American citizen.
Finnish conductor John Storgårds, a familiar face to St. Louis audiences, returns to lead the SLSO in Changing Times (October 15-16). Storgårds has garnered critical acclaim as both a violin soloist and conductor. Storgårds holds titles as the Chief Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic and the Artistic Director of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra. A champion of music of today, Storgårds is known for combining recent works with classical music favorites. This season, he directs the first SLSO performances of three works that span almost 250 years—Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 64, “Tempora mutantur,” fellow Finn Outi Tarkiainen’s Midnight Sun Variations, and Thomas Adès’ Piano Concerto with pianist Kirill Gerstein. Concerts close with Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable.”
Yefim Bronfman, pianist
Grammy award-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman returns this fall to perform with the SLSO in Bronfman Plays Rachmaninoff’s Third (October 1-2). Bronfman remains in constant demand by orchestras, festivals, and recital series across the globe. He last collaborated with the SLSO and Music Director Stéphane Denève in February 2019 on Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, giving the first performances on the SLSO’s new Steinway Grand Piano that he helped select. This October, Bronfman will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, a highlight of the composer’s catalog with a storied reputation.
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Following her debut with the SLSO in 2019, American mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke returns this fall. The New York Times described the two-time Grammy winner as “a luminous standout” for her operatic performances. An avid supporter of contemporary classical artists, Cooke collaborates with composers to give local, national, and world premieres of new work. This fall, Cooke joins former SLSO Resident Conductor Gemma New and SLSO cellist Elizabeth Chung for Poems, Tales, and Memories(November 27-28). The concert features the SLSO debut of Jake Heggie’s The Work at Hand and Edward Elgar’s Sea Pictures, and is performed in memory of Sarah Bryan Miller, the late St. Louis Post-Dispatch music critic and mezzo-soprano.
Kirill Gerstein, pianist
Kirill Gerstein returns to the stage at Powell Hall alongside conductor John Storgårds for the Changing Times concerts (October 15-16). He gives the St. Louis premiere of Thomas Adès’ Piano Concerto—a work commissioned with Gerstein in mind—which has already secured its place in modern repertoire. A regular SLSO collaborator since 2010, the orchestra and Gerstein recorded an album, The Gershwin Moment, in 2018, featuring the music of George Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue. Gerstein most recently collaborated with the SLSO in 2019, giving the first SLSO performances of Alexander Scriabin's Piano Concerto.
Ingrid Fliter, pianist
Ingrid Fliter first collaborated with the SLSO in 2008, and this season will mark her fifth collaboration with the orchestra. Originally from Argentina, Fliter rose to international stardom when she won the Gilmore Artist Award in 2006. Since then, she has earned accolades and acclaim for her recordings of works by Frédéric Chopin. This fall, Fliter performs Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the SLSO and guest conductor Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider in Fliter Plays Schumann(October 29-30). Schumann’s only piano concerto remains one of the most popular Romantic-era pieces to date. Fliter previously recorded Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Víkingur Ólafsson, pianist
This fall, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson makes his SLSO debut in the Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony concerts (November 13-14). Hailed as creative and transformative, Ólafsson’s recordings have given him a global reputation as an original and virtuosic artist. In St. Louis, Ólafsson will collaborate with Music Director Stéphane Denève in a concert that features Edvard Grieg’s iconic Piano Concerto. Premiered in 1869, Grieg’s Piano Concerto remains the only concerto for the instrument that Grieg ever composed. Despite this, the piece resonates internationally as one of the most popular piano concertos ever, appearing in movies including Intermezzo and The Seventh Veil, television shows, orchestral performances the world over, and even in the video game Civilization V.
Simone Porter, violinist
Simone Porter made her professional debut as a violinist at just ten years old. Now in her twenties, she’s performed with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and with conductors including SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève and Baroque expert Nic McGegan. This season, she performs with the SLSO for the first time in the Schubert’s “Great” Symphony concerts (November 19-20), led by David Danzmayr, also in his SLSO debut. Porter performs Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, a violin showpiece in four movements, each based on traditional Scottish folk songs.
Inbal Segev, cellist
Israeli American cellist Inbal Segev makes her debut with the SLSO as the first guest artist of the season. As a young cellist, Segev performed for the Israeli president at only eight years old. After famed violinist Isaac Stern invited her to study in the U.S., she rose to international prominence as a “cellist with something to say” (Gramophone). This season, Segev joins the SLSO in Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony concerts (September 25-26). Music Director Stéphane Denève leads Segev in the SLSO premiere of Anna Clyne’s Dance, which features local dancers on stage throughout the five-movement work, choreographed by Center Of Creative Arts Co-Artistic Director of Dance Kirven Douthit-Boyd. Segev recently recorded the piece with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop.
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, violinist
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider joins the SLSO for a two-week artist residency in October and November. The residency opens with Fliter Plays Schumann (October 29-30), featuring Argentinian Ingrid Fliter as soloist in Robert Schumann’s piano concerto, along with works by Karim Al-Zand and Bedřich Smetana. The following week, Szeps-Znaider trades his baton for his violin to collaborate with SLSO musicians in a chamber concert, Mozart, Brahms, and Nikolaj (November 5). The following two days, Stéphane Denève conducts as Szeps-Znaider makes his SLSO soloist debut with Jean Sibelius’ fiendishly difficult concerto in Stéphane Conducts Shostakovich (November 6-7).
Compose Your Own subscriptions are on sale now. Learn more about our ticket offerings and what to expect this season here.
Mary Hopkins is a member of the SLSO Communications Team.