The University of Missouri–St. Louis is proud to serve as Presenting Partner for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s 2023/2024 season.
The SLSO will perform classical programming at the university’s acclaimed Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center throughout the season as its permanent home at Powell Hall undergoes a transformative expansion and renovation to better serve audiences and increase access to music throughout the St. Louis community.
“We are excited for the chance to have one of the country’s finest orchestras performing on our campus,” UMSL Chancellor Kristin Sobolik said. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity to welcome music lovers from across the region who might not otherwise have visited UMSL or experienced the beauty of the Touhill. We can’t wait for the season to begin.”
Partnering with UMSL will help the SLSO connect with different parts of the St. Louis region.
“We are fortunate to be able play at one of the region’s finest performing arts centers during this time of transition, and continue to engage new and returning audiences while deepening our impact in our community,” SLSO President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard said. “The Touhill’s Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall offers a gorgeous and intimate space for audiences to experience our remarkable orchestra.”
The SLSO helped open the Touhill with a performance during the theater’s opening week in 2003, and it has performed at the venue periodically over the past 20 years.
Stéphane Denève, Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the first 23/24 performance at the Touhill on Sept. 29. It will feature the first of Ludwig van Beethoven's five monumental piano concertos that are scheduled throughout the season. He and the SLSO will be joined by Beethoven expert Jonathan Biss during performances on Sept. 29-30.
Other performances at the Touhill will feature the music of Mozart and Brahms, Korngold and
Dvořák, George Gershwin’s An American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue, and Florence Price’s Symphony No. 3, among others.
This is not the first time UMSL and the SLSO have partnered with each other. Here are some other notable collaborations:
SLSO IN UNISON Scholarship Program
Through the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s IN UNISON Academy, the SLSO mentors, provides performance opportunities, and awards scholarships each season to Black and African American college students studying music or a music-related field at an accredited colleges, universities or conservatories, including UMSL. The 22/23 UMSL scholarship is Christian Okeke, a sophomore music major studying cello.
St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra (YO)
The St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra is a rigorous extracurricular orchestral training program open to student musicians ages 12-22. This orchestra draws students within a 150-mile radius and has been a gold standard in American youth orchestras since its founding in 1970 by SLSO Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin. UMSL music students are often among the YO’s members. In the 22/23 season, UMSL junior Andy Mai plays violin in the YO.
Peer to Peer
Peer to Peer partners Youth Orchestra members with Black and Hispanic student musicians from area middle and high schools who seek music development opportunities beyond their classroom. Pairs meet on a regular basis, receive coaching from SLSO musicians, and attend concerts together compliments of the SLSO. Peer to Peer provides mentees opportunities to take regular instrument lessons with SLSO musicians and enhance their technical proficiency. YO members grow their leadership skills and gain valuable experience as music coaches and mentors. UMSL has frequently hosted in-person Peer to Peer sessions and end-of-season student juries, where UMSL music faculty have served as adjudicators.
E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Education Collaborative
The SLSO is a charter member of the E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Education Collaborative. Members of the SLSO education team are active participants in the Collaborative, which helps supports underserved schools’ attendance at SLSO education concerts, teams with the SLSO to provide educator networking and professional development opportunities and supports in-school SLSO visits to E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Education Collaborative schools.
UMSL Faculty and Students Performing with the SLSO at Powell Hall
UMSL faculty member Dr. Matthew Henry and the UMSL Percussion Ensemble are featured as guest performers each time the SLSO produces its Music Without Boundaries Family and Education concerts. The UMSL ensemble has been included in 10 performances with the SLSO at Powell Hall, reaching audiences of more than 20,000 elementary students and families since the 2018/2019 season.
Upcoming SLSO Education Concerts
More than 15,000 elementary students will attend SLSO education concerts in the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, when UMSL serves as the site for Link Up concerts (May 2023 and May 2024) and October 24 and 25 education concerts (October 2023). The SLSO and UMSL are also discussing the opportunity to include UMSL jazz faculty and students in the May 2024 Link Up concerts with the SLSO.
St. Louis Public Radio, UMSL at Grand Center
The SLSO enjoys a strong, long-time collaboration with St. Louis Public Radio, a service of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. As part of a broadcast partnership begun in Fall 2010, St. Louis Public Radio airs the SLSO’s Saturday night classical concerts live. Next season STLPR will broadcast the SLSO’s performances from the Touhill at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
SLSO College Connections
UMSL is an annual host partner for SLSO College Connections, a school field trip program for underserved middle and high school band and orchestra students. Through College Connections, students attend an SLSO chamber concert on campus, then learn about programs and majors at UMSL, meet UMSL students and faculty, tour campus and enjoy lunch.
Designed by the renowned architectural firm I.M. Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center is a landmark performance facility on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). The Touhill was built to provide a performance home for campus events, academic programs, and regional arts organizations. The spectacular venue contains three performance spaces; the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall with 1600 seats, the flexible E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater with seating for up to 375, and the open-form Whitaker Hall with seating for up to 250. The Center hosts an average of 120 events, 200 performances and 90,000 visitors per year.