Throughout the 2023/2024 season the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, three conductors, and five acclaimed pianists will traverse Ludwig van Beethoven’s monumental series of piano concerti. That musical journey began on Friday, September 29, as Stéphane Denève—The Joseph and Emily Rauh Pulitzer Music Director—led the orchestra and pianist Jonathan Biss in the First.
The concerts had a particular Beethoven flavor, beginning with the composer's Coriolan Overture, followed immediately by Unsuk Chin's subito con forza, a piece inspired by Beethoven and written on the 250th anniversary of his birth. The concert concluded with Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 4, also heavily influenced by Beethoven.
These concerts also marked the first performances at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, a Presenting Partner of the 23/24 season.
Denève will lead the Fourth with Paul Lewis, regarded as another leading Beethoven interpreter, in his SLSO debut (November 3 & 5, 2023); and the Fifth with Israeli pianist Tom Borrow, called “the very definition of ‘one to watch’” (International Piano), also in his SLSO debut (March 22-23, 2024). Conductor Elim Chan, lauded in her SLSO debut in 2021, returns with Ingrid Fliter in her sixth SLSO appearance for the Third Concerto (October 20-21, 2023), and frequent SLSO collaborator John Storgårds teams up with Marie-Ange Nguci for the Second Concerto (April 17-19, 2024).
Photos by Dilip Vishwanat