By Eric Dundon
Kristin Ahlstrom, SLSO Associate Principal Second Violinist and Virginia V. Weldon, M.D. Chair, is the orchestra’s newest recipient of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Honorary Chair. Bestowed every five years, the chair is awarded to an SLSO musician who “demonstrates excellence in artistry and leadership in the orchestra and community.”
Ahlstrom was presented with the award, which comes with a one-time stipend for professional development, at the SLSO’s annual meeting on November 2, 2021.
“Kristin is a complete and versatile musician who holds herself to the highest of standards. She is beloved by her section and as an orchestral musician, and she has shined as a chamber musician and soloist in a wide variety of repertoire and settings,” said Marie-Hélène Bernard, SLSO President and CEO, as she presented the award to Ahlstrom.
Ahlstrom was surprised to receive the award, one of the SLSO’s most distinguished honors. She was unanimously selected by a committee of the orchestra’s leadership.
“I’m surrounded by talented, artistic, deserving colleagues,” she said. “I’m deeply honored to receive the award and honorary chair.”
Ahlstrom, a native of the St. Louis region, has been a member of the SLSO for 25 years, but even longer as a member of the SLSO family. As a high school student, she served as the concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. She has held her current position as Associate Principal Second Violin for 20 years.
“Her generosity as a musical collaborator is equaled by her generosity of spirit off stage,” Bernard said. “She is passionate, kind, thoughtful, selfless, dedicated, and an exemplary contributor to our organizational culture.”
Ahlstrom is a prolific soloist with the orchestra, having performed music by Alfred Schnittke, George Frideric Handel, Joseph Haydn, Michael Tippett, Pablo de Sarasate, and J.S. Bach on classical concerts. Additionally, she regularly performs on the SLSO’s Live at the Pulitzer series showcasing music of the 20th and 21st centuries at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.
She is also active in the SLSO’s education and community programs, participating in programs including SymphonyCares and IN UNISON Church concerts. As an alumna, she also holds a special place in her heart for the YO.
“One of my greatest joys as a member of the SLSO is sharing the power of music through performances throughout our community,” she said.
Ahlstrom said she’s thought of ways to use the award’s professional development stipend to benefit an SLSO outreach program, working with Maureen Byrne, SLSO Associate Vice President of Education and Community Partnerships.
“We have some great ideas percolating,” she said.
The Mabel Dorn Reeder Honorary Chair was established in 2010 by the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation. First Associate Concertmaster Heidi Harris was the first recipient of the chair. Clarinetist Tina Ward was named the second recipient in 2016.
Eric Dundon is the SLSO’s Public Relations Manager.