By Eric Dundon
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève are pleased to announce the appointments of eight new full-time musicians, as the SLSO begins its 2023/2024 season, the orchestra’s 144th. Appointments were made to Principal Trumpet, Principal Trombone, Principal Keyboard, Second Horn, and section violin positions.
The SLSO’s new musicians are:
Blaine Dodson, Second Horn, comes to St. Louis after serving as the second horn of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra since 2019. He has also played regularly as a guest in the horn sections of the Detroit Opera, Toledo Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, Lansing Symphony, and the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and performed frequently with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago while an undergraduate student at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. He recently completed his master’s degree at the University of Michigan and enjoys a robust teaching career at the middle and high school level.
Jonathan Randazzo, Principal Trombone and the Mr. and Mrs. William R. Orthwein, Jr., Chair, won the SLSO position while serving as Assistant Principal Trombone of the North Carolina Symphony, a position he has held since 2011. In 2017, he was appointed Second Trombone of the Santa Fe Opera, and served as Acting Principal Trombone from 2021 to 2023. As an avid teacher, Randazzo held the position of Adjunct Trombone Professor at North Carolina State University from 2015-2022 and is currently in high demand as a private trombone instructor.
Steven Franklin, Principal Trumpet and the Symphony Volunteer Association Chair, comes to St. Louis from across the Show-Me State, where he was Associate Principal Trumpet of the Kansas City Symphony. A native of Chicago, he has also held the Principal Trumpet position of the Hawaii Symphony and a Fellow with the New World Symphony. An avid chamber musician and soloist, he was a founding member of The Brass Project, a Philadelphia-based brass sextet that commissioned over 40 new works during his tenure. He is also an active composer, having been commissioned by the American Brass Quintet, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and New York Philharmonic, among others.
Peter Henderson, Principal Keyboard and the Florence G. and Morton J. May Chair, made his debut with the SLSO in 2005 and has been an extra keyboardist for the orchestra for the past 17 seasons. He has been a featured musician on several occasions, most recently performing Joseph Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto No. 11 with the SLSO and then Assistant Conductor Stephanie Childress in March 2023. Henderson also serves as an Associate Professor of Music and Artist-in-Residence at Maryville University where he has been on faculty since 2005. He performs with the Sun Valley Music Festival Orchestra where he was appointed Principal Keyboard in 2015.
Seul Lee, second violin, joins the SLSO full-time after completing a one-year contract with the orchestra in the 2022/2023 season. Lee's musical journey has spanned across South Korea, France, Germany, and the United States, encompassing musical studies and collaborations with renowned musicians and orchestras including the Cleveland Quartet, Jupiter String Quartet, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at the University of Illinois.
Nathan Lowry, second violin, has held concertmaster and principal second violin positions at both the Colorado College Music Festival and Eastern Music Festival, as well as the Curb Youth Symphony and Vanderbilt University orchestras. Other leadership roles include principal positions with the Evansville Philharmonic and Owensboro Symphony Orchestras. A Nashville native, he received his master’s degree at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and then earned his Artist Diploma from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
Siyu Zhang, second violin, joins the SLSO after four seasons with the Jacksonville Symphony. A native of Changchun, China, she studied at the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and continued in New York City as a full scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music, and at the Rice University Shepherd School of Music. Zhang has attended numerous summer festivals including the Spoleto, Aspen, Texas, and Pacific Music Festivals, and the Music Academy of the West and performed with numerous orchestras around the country.
Weilu Zhang, first violin, most recently was a one-year replacement member of the SLSO in the orchestra’s 2022/2023 season. A native of Wuhan, China, she studied at the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada, and at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music and University of Southern California. She has served as a member of several orchestras, including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and Atlantic Orchestra.
The SLSO’s 2023/2024 season begins on September 21 with the annual free community concert in Forest Park.
Eric Dundon is the SLSO's Public Relations Director.