SLSO IN UNISON Graduate Fellowship helps aspiring conductor

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Terrence Abernathy, 24, works as an usher for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

The job keeps the McKendree University graduate close to his passion.

“I love being around the music,” Abernathy said.

The St. Louis native dreams of becoming a conductor.

“My dream is to be called maestro one day,” Abernathy said.

In 2016, the SLSO created an IN UNISON Graduate Fellowship to help Abernathy achieve his dream. Through the fellowship, he attends rehearsals, studies music the orchestra performs, and meets one-on-one with conductors.

“It is very humbling,” he said. “Why would they do all this for me?”

The answer is simple, according to SLSO Music Director David Robertson.

“You love something and to be able to share that love with others, and to see their love affair begin with it, is really the reason to do anything,” Robertson said.

Abernathy’s connections with the SLSO run deep.

He is a former IN UNISON Scholar, Youth Orchestra alum, and his mentor is horn player Thomas Jöstlein.

Abernathy said the fellowship is another step toward his dream.

“I am learning about conducting from the inside, and I am starting with, in my opinion, the best orchestra in the world,” he said.

SLSO IN UNISON is supported by Monsanto Fund.