SLSO Resident Conductor inspires next generation of musicians

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Madeline De Geest, 11, started dreaming of becoming a conductor after she saw St. Louis Symphony Resident Conductor Gemma New perform in the Fall of 2016.

“When she went on stage she had this presence,” De Geest said.

New was leading the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra.

“I could not take my eyes off her,” De Geest said.

After the performance, De Geest asked New for an autograph.

“I just really wanted her autograph.” De Geest said. “She also gave me her conducting stick, which was really amazing.”

It was a small gift, but it is inspiring a big dream.

“I want to be a conductor someday,” De Geest said.

In the Spring of 2017, New invited De Geest to a St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra rehearsal.

De Geest brought a violin, a music folder, and a desire to learn.

“She has so much energy and potential,” New said. “She reminded me of myself when I was that age.”

New’s main role with the St. Louis Symphony is to conduct concerts.

“That is how I fit in to music, and how I can best express the music that I love.”

However, New’s impact is not confined to the stage at Powell Hall.

“She inspires many people out there,” De Geest said. “She helps other people with their dreams.”

Youth Orchestra Violinist Shines on New Year’s Eve

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Hava Polinsky moments before her performance.

Hava Polinsky, 17, shed tears of joy when she left the stage at Powell Hall on New Year’s Eve.

“It was just so emotional,” she said while wiping tears from her eyes.

The St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra violinist was the surprise guest artist for the New Year’s Eve concert.

Polinsky joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to perform Pablo de Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen” (Gypsy Airs).

She was poised, precise, and professional on stage.

Polinsky has been honing her skills with the Youth Orchestra for the last for six years.

However, the teenager was visibly nervous in the moments leading up to her performance.

She paced back and forth as Music Director David Robertson began her introduction.

That is when the STL Symphony’s Jack Snider took charge.

The veteran stage manager gently put his hands on Polinsky’s shoulders, looked in her eyes, and said “you look beautiful.”

Seconds later, Polinsky was dazzling a packed house at Powell Hall.

“That Polinsky was good,” one audience member said.

It was the perfect way for the STL Symphony to ring in the new year.

Hava Polinsky wipes away tears of joy after her performance.