It’s a new chapter and a new era at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The SLSO’s new Music Director, Stéphane Denève, brings his signature warmth, French flair, and masterful storytelling ability to St. Louis in his first month at the helm of the orchestra. Catch him at the annual free concert on Forest Park’s Art Hill Sept. 12, at Powell Hall for a John Williams movie-music fest Sept. 13-15, or at Powell Hall again for his first two classical programs Sept. 21-22 and Sept. 27-28. Buy tickets now before they’re all gone.
Still not convinced? Some major upgrades to the audience experience and a fresh take on music — classical and otherwise — may change your mind.
1. For the price of a movie ticket…
Do you have a pair of ears and $15? If so, you get a ticket to any classical concert this season.
Do you have a smaller pair of ears and $10? If you’re a child or a student, you get a ticket to any classical concert this season.
Do you have a pair of ears and are a police officer, firefighter, first responder, or active or retired military personnel? You get two complimentarytickets to any SLSO classical concert. Just show up to the SLSO box office on the day of the concert. We’re calling this “2 for the Badge.” You can call it a huge win.
And our accessibility initiative doesn’t stop there. We are introducing SLSO Invites, which includes Stéphane’s Seats — a block of seats reserved just for community organizations that make St. Louis great. We have also pledged to make our education concerts free by 2020/2021.
2. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
Stéphane kicks off the first day of the union between himself and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra by following the old wedding adage of bringing something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Here is how we’re making good on that claim on Opening Weekend, Sept. 21-22:
Something old— In its 140th season, the SLSO is the nation’s second-oldest orchestra. Old enough for you?
Something new—In his classical debut as Music Director,Stéphane leads the world premiere performance of native St. Louisan and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts’ Virelai, which is inspired by Guillaume de Machaut, the 14th century French composer.
Something borrowed— Stéphane, a Frenchman in St. Louis, borrows a page from George Gershwin’s playbook by conducting his classic An American in Paris.
Something blue— Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedralis just one piece of “music of our time” that Stéphane champions this season. Debussy’s La Mer – French for “the sea” – will take your imagination out to a vast blue expanse.
3. Revamped food and drink menus, policy, and Instagram hotspots
The last-second chug of your wine glass before the end of intermission is no more. Bring your drink into Powell Hall so you can enjoy your beverage while being serenaded by our world-class musicians. We’re introducing “keep cups” – purchase a cup, bring it back to Powell Hall, and enjoy your wine, beer, coffee, or soft drink during the concert.
Alongside our new drink policy, we have altered our menu to maximize your delight, sourcing more local treats than ever before.
Attention all social media users: your perfect photos await at Powell Hall. We’ve designated certain locations around Powell Hall with ideal lighting and backgrounds as “selfie spots.” Snag that photo on the red-carpet stairs or under our magnificent chandelier to show off how much fun you’re having at the SLSO. All your followers, friends, and LinkedIn connections are going to be so jealous.
4. The Arch
No, the SLSO isn’t opening the season at the Gateway Arch this year. But the SLSO will dominate the symbolism game, forming a narrative Franco-American Arch throughout the 2019/20 season, inspired by Stéphane, whohails from Tourcoing, France. Both brands of the red, white, and blue will be heavily represented, starting on Opening Weekend.
Stéphane programmed three pieces by French composers (Claude Debussy, Guillaume Connesson, Maurice Ravel) and three by Yankee composers (Kevin Puts, Jennifer Higdon, George Gershwin) on Opening Weekend, Sept. 21-22. For an extra dose of the Arch, the Ravel Piano Concerto in G will be performed by Frenchman Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the SLSO Guest Artist-in-Residence. Stéphane will commence the classical season with an American tribute.
5. Forest Park, John Williams, and Mahler
It’s the best free concert of the year, every year. Find a comfortable spot on Forest Park’s gorgeous Art Hill before the SLSO transforms an ordinary fall night into a musical spectacle. Look out for cameos from your St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra members, the IN UNISON Chorus, and various fan favorites. (Hint: Stéphanewill throw out a memorable first pitch, don’t leave your seat during the seventh-inning stretch, and definitely don’t let artillery fire catch you unaware.)
The next day, Stéphane and the SLSO perform perhaps the most popular movie music in the world — the music of John Williams. Hear the best of the best, from the best, at Powell Hall Sept. 13-15. The program features scores from Superman, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and more.
Your last chance to witness Stéphane and your SLSO in our opening month will be Sept. 27-28. Joining the orchestra and our St. Louis Symphony Chorus are the incomparable soprano Joélle Harvey and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor. They’ll take the spotlight for Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” a can’t-miss musical event. And while this sounds like a strictly religious event, the symphony takes a broad view of life, death, and the afterlife.
Can’t make a September concert? Check out our full concert calendar on the SLSO website.
If you can, help St. Louis say “Bienvenue, Stéphane” and reserve your seats today.