Music Director, St Louis Symphony Orchestra
Artistic Director, New World Symphony
Principal Guest Conductor, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (from 2023/24)
Stéphane Denève is Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. He recently concluded terms as Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic, and previously served as Chief Conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Recognised internationally for the exceptional quality of his performances and programming, Stéphane Denève regularly appears at major concert venues with the world’s greatest orchestras and soloists. He has a special affinity for the music of his native France, and is a passionate advocate for music of the 21st century.
Stéphane Denève’s recent and upcoming engagements include appearances in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (with whom he was invited to conduct the 2020 Nobel Prize concert), Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Czech Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, DSO Berlin, WDR Cologne, and Rotterdam Philharmonic; and in Asia with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Saito Kinen Orchestra at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival.
In North America, Stéphane Denève made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra – with whom he has appeared several times both in Boston and at Tanglewood – and he regularly conducts the continent’s leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Toronto Symphony. In 2022, Denève was given the honour of conducting for John Williams’ official 90th Birthday Gala with NSO Washington at the Kennedy Center; he is also a popular guest at many of the US summer music festivals, including the Hollywood Bowl, Bravo!Vail, Blossom Music Festival, Festival Napa Valley, Grand Teton Music Festival, Sun Valley Music Festival, and Music Academy of the West.
Stéphane Denève frequently performs with many of the world’s leading solo artists, including Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Nicola Benedetti, Yefim Bronfman, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Sasha Cooke, James Ehnes, Kirill Gerstein, Hélène Grimaud, Augustin Hadelich, Hilary Hahn, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Leonidas Kavakos, Lang Lang, Olivier Latry, Isabel Leonard, Paul Lewis, Nikolai Lugansky, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Kelley O’Connor, Víkingur Ólafsson, Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Gil Shaham, Akiko Suwanai, Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Davóne Tines, and Frank Peter Zimmermann. He also treasures the memory of Nicholas Angelich and Lars Vogt, two exceptional artists with whom he enjoyed a close musical friendship over many years.
In the field of opera, Stéphane Denève has led productions at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opéra National de Paris, Glyndebourne Festival, Teatro alla Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Netherlands Opera (including a new production of Pelléas et Mélisande with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for the Holland Festival), Saito Kinen Festival, Gran Teatre del Liceu, La Monnaie, and Deutsche Oper am Rhein.
As a recording artist, Denève has won critical acclaim for his recordings of the works of Poulenc, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Franck and Connesson. He is a triple winner of the Diapason d’Or of the Year, has been shortlisted for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year Award, and has won the prize for symphonic music at the International Classical Music Awards. His most recent releases include a live recording of Honegger’s Jeanne d’arc au bûcher with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and two discs of the works of Guillaume Connesson with the Brussels Philharmonic (the first of which was awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’année, Caecilia Award, and Classica Magazine’s CHOC of the Year). A box-set of his complete Ravel recordings with Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra was released in 2022 by Hänssler Classic.
A graduate and prize-winner of the Paris Conservatoire, Stéphane Denève worked closely in his early career with Sir Georg Solti, Georges Prêtre and Seiji Ozawa. A gifted communicator and educator, Denève is committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and listeners. In addition to his position with the New World Symphony and his long-standing relationship with the Colburn School in Los Angeles, Denève has worked regularly with young people in programmes such as those of the Tanglewood Music Center, European Union Youth Orchestra, and Music Academy of the West.
Stéphane Denève Begins First Full Season as Artistic Director of the New World Symphony with “Rousing and Lustrous” Opening Concert
Stéphane Denève began his first full season as Artistic Director of the New World Symphony with a “rousing and lustrous”(South Florida Classical Review) programme themed around colour blue, representing Miami’s sea and sky, on 16 September at the New World Center in...
Music Director Stéphane Denève & the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Launch 2023/24 Season with Free Community Concert on September 21
Led by Music Director Stéphane Denève, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra marks the beginning of its 2023/2024 season with the return of its free concert in Forest Park at 7:00pm CDT, Thursday, September 21, on Art Hill. Since its inaugural Forest Park concert more than...
Stéphane Denève Joins John Williams for the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival & Suntory Hall Celebrations
Stéphane Denève and composer/conductor John Williams are joining together to conduct two very special concerts in Japan. The legendary 91-year-old Williams was invited by his old friend, the equally renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa, to perform at the latter’s Matsumoto...
“It might seem reductive to limit a musician to national specialities, but having heard Denève’s Berlioz, Debussy and Roussel in concert, his captivating disc of Poulenc with the Stuttgart orchestra he commands and now his Ravel, I can honestly say there’s no conductor alive I’d rather hear in French music.”
“Ending with colossal energy accumulated throughout the four movements, and then exploding in the final bars, Denève captured the most propitious moment, the one we looked forward to since the beginning of the concert. [Roussel, Symphony No.3]”
“ … solid virtuosity …”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch October 2020
“If there’s a composer or genre that Denève doesn’t get, we haven’t yet encountered it.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch November 2019
“Denève is insanely gifted with a fabulous ear, a staggering mastery of his scores, and a buoyant, bubbly personality that grabs hold of the musicians and makes them want to give a thousand percent … How long is the Denève era in St. Louis likely to last? Ten years, if we are lucky. Fifteen, if we pray very hard. So catch Stéphanomania while you can, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch November 2019
“…a stellar performance …”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch November 2019
“By the end of the night, the audience became ecstatic, cheering rock-concert style …”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch November 2019
“[Denève’s] steadily winning over St. Louisans with his combination of personal charm, smart musical choices and carefully thought-out programming … Denève has a terrific grasp of this music, exploring all its facets … a fine collaboration with every section of the orchestra …”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch October 2019
“… one of the best readings of this score I can remember … powerful, memorable … irresistible … ”St Louis Post-Dispatch September 2019
“…a delightful shock to the senses … captivating … an impressively tight performance …”
St Louis Post-Dispatch May 2019
“A fantastic night … consistently engrossing … downright hair raising …”
KDHX May 2019
“Vivid colors and ecstatic highs mark Denève’s Cleveland Orchestra program … an evening wonderfully out of the ordinary, in both content and musicality.”
Bachtrack April 2019
“Creative planning and an unrestrained sense of color … I have nothing but praise for Denève’s enthusiastic advocacy [of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy], which emphasized the ebb and flow … the audience loved it, jumping to a standing ovation at the end.”
Seen and Heard International April 2019
“… formidable … [Deneve] drew lively, sensitive and tonally rich performances … piercing clarity … supple conducting …”
South Florida Classical Review March 2019
“… one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard … Mr. Denève showed a real love for the music, perfectly shaping the performances and drawing flawless singing and playing from all concerned … both the audience and the musicians appear to love him.”
KDHX February 2019
“A sensational performance of a fascinating programme … unforgettable …”
The Scotsman August 2018
“The best conducting I heard in Dublin during August … The star was the meticulously illuminating Stephane Deneve …”
The Irish Times August 2018
“… Denève tempered enthusiastic wildness with a sense of poetry, might with a feeling for the distinct personality of orchestral sections and, indeed, discrete instruments … enlightened …”
LA Times March 2017
“… Deneve also has fire in his belly, and it ignited in the Brussels Phil’s electrifying performance of Guillaume Connesson’s Flammenschrift, a pent-up, pile-driving Beethoven tribute whose rhythmic impact and velocity had the small crowd, I kid you not, roaring.”
The Herald Scotland October 2016
“… one of the freshest accounts of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony I’ve heard … no wonder they all loved him in Glasgow when he was Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.”
Music & Vision October 2016
“Conductor Stéphane Denève was also a force of nature … Denève moulded a performance of the Pastoral Symphony that was strong both in atmosphere and colour. Dynamics were subtly shaded, tempi carefully judged. The transitions between peasant merrymaking, storm and shepherds’ hymn were beautifully handled as tension was tightened, relaxed and allowed to blossom into sublime thanksgiving … Many in the audience stood and cheered. And well they might.”
Nottingham Post September 2016
“… a conductor with flair and charisma. His energising presence and the polished sound he drew from his players was a winning formula … There was no doubting the success of this opening concert.”
Classical Source September 2016
“There is a great deal to relish in Denève’s interpretation, not least the hushed opening, the sharp characterisation of the ‘Danse grotesque de Dorcon’ or the liquid ‘Lever du jour’ … Stylistically, Denève is spot on in taste and sonority …”
Gramophone June 2016
“… superb … Under Deneve’s direction, [Connesson’s A Glimmer in the Age of Darkness] came across in a shimmering, light-refracting performance … the results were indelible.”
Mercury News February 2016
“Stéphane Denève is one of the most exciting conductors on the international scene today.”
St. Louis Today February 2015
“The forces of abandonment, madness and death combined at the end in the “Symphonie fantastique,” which Stéphane Denève vividly — no, viscerally — conducted to crown the program … It doesn’t take a French conductor to do French music, but the French Denève looked at this music from the inside out, as well as the other way around … the play of detail in the still new-sounding orchestration was constantly illuminating, creating moment-by-moment intensity that built into a dramatic arch, a vision.”
The Berkshire Eagle August 2014
“This is what going to the symphony should be like. Hearing a live orchestra has the potential to illicit visceral reactions, to make your hair stand on end, to give you goose bumps, to make you teary-eyed. Based upon the roaring ovation that Denève received at the end of ‘The Firebird’, which concluded the entire program, Philadelphia seems to know how lucky it is to have him, even if only for a couple of weeks.”
“‘The Firebird’… brought out the best in the orchestra and reaffirmed Deneve’s status as a master colorist with music.”
“…main observations must centre on two elements: first, Denève’s maturity in penetrating the core of [Mahler’s Sixth] symphony with his realising in sound that, musically, the symphony is all about the semitone: a single step between major and minor; a mere blink between joy and heartbreak; an intake of breath that signals a transformation of mood and emotional temperature; the infinitesimal difference between a smile and a tear. And second, the rock solid structure and immensely expressive variation the conductor released from the score, all played with amazing integrity and balance by his stunning orchestra.”
“Stephane Denève’s Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra make an astonishing rich, dark sound… In a great performance [of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony], the minutes fly by… Denève’s tempi were well-chosen in the extreme – the first movement’s march theme never feeling rushed, the glorious second subject’s ebb and flow beautifully caught. The pastoral idyll at the centre was sublime… Denève’s first movement coda was brazenly exultant, the Scherzo’s opening bars consequently more oppressive. The Trio’s rhythmic quirkiness was nicely caught, and the movement’s deathly, exhausted winding down was sheer perfection. Performances this good lead you to believe that a triumphant ending could just be within reach, making the last minute collapse that more alarming… the stunned silence which greeted the last note spoke volumes. Unmissable.”