The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Stéphane Denève have announced details for the Orchestra’s 2019/2020 season, Denève’s first as Music Director. Denève, who currently serves as Music Director Designate, becomes the 13th Music Director of the SLSO with the upcoming 140th season, which runs from September 2019 through May 2020.
For his inaugural season as SLSO Music Director, Denève focused on the connection between French and American musical cultures. His classical programs also feature a wide range of repertoire including works by Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Mozart, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and Wagner. Works by French composers Berlioz, Guillaume Connesson, Debussy, Poulenc, Ravel, Roussel, and Saint-Saëns complement American repertoire throughout the season by John Adams, Barber, Bernstein, William Bolcom, Gershwin, Jennifer Higdon, Pierre Jalbert, and John Williams.
Stéphane Denève, the next St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Music Director, said, “I fell in love with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra back in 2003 when I first conducted this superb orchestra in its beautiful home. After all these years of our partnership, I am still quite taken by the unique musical spirit of this wondrous institution. The talent and refinement of its musicians, and their true friendliness and open-mindedness, have always struck me as providing exceptional opportunities for profound music-making. I am overjoyed to begin my tenure as Music Director – to collaborate with this exceptional orchestra, to serve its remarkable community, and to ensure our music is even more accessible to all. For this first season of our ‘marriage,’ I was given the freedom to dream and I am passionate about every single week. I dedicate this season to a Franco-American arch, honoring St. Louis’s strong and abiding connections to France and exploring our shared vibrant, sensual aesthetic – the pleasures of sound and color. Throughout the season, we will explore connections between classic repertoire and music of our time, between familiar guest artists and incredible new talent, and between Powell Hall and the vibrant St. Louis community. Many dear friends will join us next season, including my longtime collaborator Jean-Yves Thibaudet as our first Artist-in-Residence, thanks to the generous support of Jean-Paul and Isabelle Montupet. We also will continue to perform pieces recommended by our musicians, sharing these musical gifts from our family to yours.”
Marie-Hélène Bernard, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra President and CEO, said, “Stéphane Denève is a remarkable musician and collaborator, and the chemistry between him and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is palpable. With the start of Stéphane’s tenure as Music Director, we are thrilled to create a space for their partnership to grow and thrive. The 19/20 season is a reflection of Stéphane’s boundless energy and excitement. He is building on the SLSO’s 140-year history, embracing beloved traditions and also incorporating new ideas. His commitment to enhancing our artistic, educational, community, and media outreach truly aligns with the SLSO’s strategic initiatives to embrace existing and new audiences. Stéphane has already established himself as a vital partner to our entire SLSO family. This is truly a historic moment for our community – and a defining one as we look toward our future together. Welcome, Stéphane!”