By Eric Dundon
For his fourth season as the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director, Stéphane Denève invited some of his friends and collaborators—some of the world’s greatest artists—to come to St. Louis and perform with the SLSO. As a result, the 2022/2023 season is packed with the world’s most sought-after musical talent. When you subscribe, you’re guaranteed thrilling musical experiences at each performance, anchored by the SLSO and the fantastic guest artist line-up. Curated and Compose Your Own Subscriptions for the 22/23 season are available here.
Here are five of the world’s best violinists, all performing with the SLSO in the 22/23 season:
One thing to know about Grammy Award-winning violinist Nicola Benedetti is her dedication to music education. Since launching her career, she’s been fiercely devoted to fostering musical programs that are accessible to all. “Music teaches us about our connections to the thoughts, feelings, and voices of those from other countries and eras,” she said. “It allows us to strip away all that separates us and urges us to see and feel what unites us.” In February 2023, Benedetti brings her fierce talent and passion for education to St. Louis for a two-week artist residency that includes sweeping performances of new violin concertos by James MacMillan and Wynton Marsalis—the piece that earned her a Grammy Award. This will be Benedetti’s first collaboration with the SLSO.
A long-time collaborator of the SLSO, James Ehnes is gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism, and an unfaltering musicality. The Grammy Award winner has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists in the world. Having performed in more than 35 countries on five continents, the traveled musician returns for two luminating performances in his seventh collaboration with the SLSO.
(Fun fact: his last performance with the SLSO was of John Williams’ violin concerto—with John Williams himself at rehearsal!)
In his most recent performance with the SLSO, KDHX noted, “It is difficult to imagine a violinist with greater technical skill than James Ehnes... His playing was unwavering in its strength and intensity.” This season, Ehnes will take Powell Hall’s stage in two performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium) January 28-29, 2023, with Music Director Stéphane Denève.
David Halen, the SLSO’s concertmaster since the 1990s, is no stranger to the solo spotlight. He’s given dozens of solo performances with the SLSO in repertoire from Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, to composers of today. On December 9-11, he joins forces with renowned Mozart interpreter, conductor Jane Glover, for performances of a piece he knows well: Mozart’s sparkling fourth violin concerto. In fact, this isn’t Halen’s first solo performances of this particular piece with the SLSO. He performed it with the orchestra and conductor Alan Gilbert in October 2004.
Eighteen years later, the piece hasn’t lost its luster and with Halen’s pristine interpretation, will shine once again.
It’s always a treat when our own SLSO musicians step into the soloist’s spotlight. Violinist Hannah Ji is the real deal, and on October 7-8 she’s bringing Joseph Bologne’s Second Violin Concerto to the Powell Hall stage, a first for the SLSO. This Classical-era gem—a must-hear for Mozart fans—sparkles in Ji’s capable hands. A newer member of the SLSO, these will be her first solo performances. Ji’s playing has been hailed by critics as "engaging, mature, well thought-out, and honed down to the finest details."
P.S. – Get to know Hannah in her Meet the Musicians video here.
Violinist Leila Josefowicz isn’t afraid of trying new things. Over the course of her career, she has earned a reputation for giving mesmerizing performances of new violin repertoire while also delivering fresh takes on the classics. Her musical fearlessness has introduced St. Louis audiences to new violin works by John Adams, Thomas Àdes, and Esa-Pekka Salonen over the course of a nearly 30-year relationship with the SLSO. This deep collaboration that has produced two critically acclaimed recordings and landed Josefowicz a Grammy Award nomination for a recording of Adams’ Scheherazade.2 with the SLSO.
In November 2022, she reunites with the orchestra for another first—the U.S. premiere of Helen Grime’s Violin Concerto, a concerto that oscillates between wild abandon and delicate reflectivity.
Eric Dundon is the SLSO’s Public Relations Manager.