The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra joins the world in mourning the passing of Raymond Leppard - conductor, early music specialist, and Principal Guest Conductor of the SLSO from 1984 to 1990. He debuted with the orchestra in January 1981 and conducted dozens of chamber and full orchestra performances until his final appearance with the SLSO more than 20 years later in June 2002.
He made his debut leading a chamber program of works by Cimarosa, Mozart, Handel, and Telemann. In his final concert with the SLSO, he led the SLSO in performances of Ambroise Thomas' opera, Hamlet.
"When I lead the St. Louis Symphony," he said in a 1984 interview, "there's a marvelous sense of giving from every orchestra member." It's impossible to measure just how much he gave back to St. Louis. Raymond Leppard was 92.
Born in the United Kingdom, Leppard was primarily known for his expertise in pre-Baroque music. According to his obituary published by NPR, "Leppard helped reintroduce audiences to 16th-century Italian masterpieces by composers including Claudio Monteverdi. But Leppard was also very much a man of his time: he championed — and wrote — contemporary works for both stage and screen."
SLSO musicians during Leppard's time as Principal Guest Conductor remembered him as a warm, engaging personality. The SLSO sends its condolences to the family and friends of Raymond Leppard.