By Jessie Williams
Several of the world’s best violinists and cellists will join the SLSO during the 2023/2024 Season to perform a wide selection of works, ranging from classical favorites to new pieces by today’s leading composers. To experience these incredible performances with the SLSO at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center and Stifel Theatre, you can Compose Your Own Subscription or choose a Curated Concert experience here.
These are the eight string players who will solo with the SLSO in the 23/24 season:
Since his breakthrough performance of Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, which won him first prize at the 2010 Montreal International Competition, violinist Benjamin Beilman has established himself as a masterful performer recognized for his deep expression and command of his instrument. The Strad described his playing “pure poetry”, and The New York Times praised his “handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence.” Beilman will make his SLSO debut with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s lyrical Fifth Violin Concerto alongside conductor Cristian Măcelaru on October 13 and 15, 2023.
The SLSO’s own Melissa Brooks has been with the SLSO as Associate Principal Cellist since 1992. Over the course of her career, she has soloed with the SLSO under multiple conductors: Hans Vonk, Jeffery Kahane, Nicholas McGegan, and David Robertson. She is an active chamber musician and most recently performed a clarinet quintet by Mozart and Brahms’ sextet in 2021. On March 3, 2024, she will take the spotlight once again in a concert led by Stéphane Denève of some of opera’s most beautiful orchestral moments, "Casta Diva" from Vincenzo Bellini's opera Norma.
For violinist Randall Goosby, “music has been a way to inspire others.” Goosby dedicates himself to making music more inclusive and accessible through his participation in community engagement programs, that foster music development in schools, hospitals, and assisted-living facilities. Goosby will share his talents with the SLSO on November 17-19, 2023, performing Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto. The concert will be a double debut, featuring both Goosby and conductor Christian Reif for the first time with the SLSO. The Korngold’s Violin Concerto has a particular significance to the SLSO, as it was premiered by legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz and the SLSO in 1947.
Named Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year”, German-American violinist Augustin Hadelich is celebrated as one of the great violinists of our time. In 2016, he won a Grammy in the “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” category for his recording of Henri Dutilleux’s Violin Concerto. His most recent collaboration with the SLSO was in 2018, when he performed Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto. Hadelich will return to the SLSO on February 2, 2024, for two performances of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto with conductor Stéphane Denève. According the Hadelich, Barber’s Violin Concerto is rarely performed in Europe, and it wasn’t until he moved to the United States that he learned it and fell in love with it.
Ever wonder what the life of a three-time Grammy winning violin soloist looks like? Hilary Hahn shares her travels, performances, and practice with her fans through the lens of her violin case on social media. Hahn commits herself to expanding the reach of classical music, both its accessibility and the genre itself through her championing of new works and educational partnerships. Her last performance with the SLSO was in 2003 with a performance of Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Twenty years later, on September 23-24, 2023, Hahn and her violin will visit the SLSO and Stéphane Denève, to start off the 23/24 season with Felix Mendelssohn's famous Violin Concerto.
Kelly Hall-Tompkins is a trailblazer for creativity and a champion of new works. For 13 weeks, she soloed as the “Fiddler” in the Grammy/Tony nominated Broadway production of the Fiddler on the Roof with solos written specifically for her. She even has an album featured in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History. Hall-Tompkins also leads social justice initiatives like Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul, which brings professional musicians to homeless shelters in New York City to nourish hope and strength with uplifting music. She will continue to inspire listeners in her first appearance with the SLSO on January 12, 2024, with a world premiere of Jeff Beal’s Violin Concerto with Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma needs little introduction. Ambassador of the cello, winner of 19 Grammys, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Ma is easily one of most famous and influential musicians of our time. Ma’s latest project, Our Common Nature, seeks to rebuild the connection between humans and nature through cultural exchange and music. Ma’s history with the SLSO dates all the way back to 1973 when he made his debut with Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. He will return for a special performance of the iconic Cello Concerto by Edward Elgar with Stéphane Denève on May 3, 2024, to conclude the 23/24 season.
SLSO’s Associate Concertmaster joined the orchestra at age 20 while she was still pursuing her bachelor's degree at the Curtis Institute. Even before joining the SLSO, Scriber already had built an impressive resume: winner of several international competitions, recitals all over the United States and Europe, and a performance for former President Jimmy Carter. She also is an alumna of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. She last soloed with the SLSO in 2021, performing Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane with Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin. On March 3, 2024, she will step in front of the orchestra to play Pablo de Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy with Stéphane Denève as a part of his Operatic Favorites concert.
Jessie Williams is the SLSO's communications intern.