The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra community joins the musical world in mourning the passing of Gerhardt Zimmerman—conductor, musician, educator, and cherished colleague.
Zimmermann served as Assistant and Associate Conductor of the SLSO from 1974-1982. He also was the second Music Director of the Youth Orchestra from 1975-1982, following YO founding director Leonard Slatkin. He led the SLSO in a wide-ranging variety of concerts during his tenure, from education concerts and YO programs to the SLSO on tour throughout Missouri and numerous classical and pops concerts in Powell Hall. He even shared the stage with composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch in an SLSO concert of Hamlisch’s work in 1982.
Aside from the SLSO, Zimmermann held long tenures at the North Carolina Symphony, The Breckenridge Music Festival, The University of Texas at Austin, and the Canton Symphony Orchestra.
Always a music educator at heart, Zimmermann’s last engagement with the SLSO was in February 1990, when he led the combined youth orchestras of St. Louis and Kansas City.
Zimmermann, the longtime Music Director of the Canton (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, shared a letter on social media recently to share his love of classical music and words of inspiration: "Sitting in the orchestra for the first time…, it was as if the heavens opened up. From that moment on, a conductor was all I wanted to be. In life, if you're going to do it, give it all you can. Live it. Breath it. Sing it. Enjoy it. Love it. Sing, sing, sing..."
The SLSO offers its condolences to Gerhardt Zimmermann’s family, friends, and the many musicians and communities he impacted.