Music Director Stéphane Denève kicked off the new era of the 140-year-old St. Louis Symphony Orchestra with the free concert in Forest Park on September 12. Over the past three weeks, Stéphane conducted eight more concerts, threw the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals game, explored his new musical home, and met thousands of St. Louisans, members of his new musical family, everywhere from Powell Hall to Whole Foods.
Here's a look back at the SLSO's September with Stéphane:
September 9: Stéphane arrived on September 9 and was greeted by members of the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association at Lambert Airport holding homemade signs. It was the first homecoming of Stéphane as the SLSO's 13th Music Director.
September 10: "I'm so happy. So, so, so happy," Stéphane said after a piano was delivered to his studio at Powell Hall. Over the next three weeks, music wafted from the suite, including "Meet Me in St. Louis."
September 12: Stéphane takes his first "family photo" with the new members of his musical family: St. Louisans! St. Louis welcomed Stéphane with open arms at the annual concert in Forest Park, where the new Music Director led the SLSO in French and American favorites, including "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and the "St. Louis Blues March."
September 12: Not only was Stéphane on the stage at Forest Park, he filled Art Hill, too, thanks to these fans. The StéFANS kept the crowd cool on the warm day.
September 12: Stéphane thanks the audience at Forest Park, his first concert as Music Director. The concert, an annual tradition, drew an approximate 15,000 people to Forest Park.
September 16: When not leading rehearsals, conducting concerts, or exploring the city, Stéphane had a full schedule meeting people both in and out of Powell Hall. His first television interview as Music Director took place on September 16 with Patrick Clark of Fox 2.
September 17: Stéphane said out of everything in September, he was most nervous about throwing out the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals game on September 17. The French native, though, threw it right over home plate. "A little high," he would later say good-naturedly.
September 19: Stéphane took the SLSO on his first concert away from St. Louis as Music Director to Lincoln, Nebraska, with works by Jennifer Higdon, Debussy, Ravel, and Gershwin. (Photo courtesy of the Lied Center for Performing Arts.)
September 21: Throughout the season, Stéphane has invited community groups to experience a SLSO concert at no cost in "Stéphane's Seats." On September 21, Stéphane welcomed members of Gateway Music Outreach to Stéphane's Seats. He also met with the group prior to the concert.
September 21: Stéphane continues the SLSO's tradition of leading the opening night's crowd in a champagne toast at intermission to officially start the season.
September 22: Stéphane and SLSO Artist-in-Residence Jean-Yves Thibaudet receive a warm reception following the performance of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G. Each year, Stéphane has committed to bringing the world's best talent to St. Louis to share in extraordinary musical experiences.
September 22: Deeply committed to music of our time, Stéphane began his first classical concert with a brand new work commissioned by the SLSO in his honor, "Virelai" by St. Louis-born composer Kevin Puts, pictured right.
September 22: Eager to experience as much of St. Louis as possible, Stéphane has already explored many parts of the city. After eating at Baidu Moroccan Restaurant on south Grand, Stéphane invited the owners to a concert as a thank you for an outstanding meal. Pictured with Stéphane and the owners is Marie-Hélène Bernard, SLSO President and CEO, left.
September 25: Already a St. Louis celebrity, Stéphane has been regularly approached by St. Louisans who see him. Jenna Grissom stopped Stéphane at the Angad Hotel in Grand Center after seeing him conduct in Forest Park. "My hope is that everyone will call me Stéphane," the Music Director said.
September 27: Stéphane says he doesn't experience stage fright before a concert. Instead, he says, "I just want to go and make music!"
September 28: Stéphane concluded his first month with the SLSO by conducting Mahler's monumental Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection," with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus.
"I am touched. I feel very welcome. And I love my new musical home." Stéphane returns to St. Louis in October to conduct Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances.