The St. Louis Symphony performed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to packed houses this past weekend.
But the musicians give their all to SRO audiences or in the most intimate settings. Last Wednesday, prior to the concert in Rolla, Missouri, members of the orchestra taught master classes to soldiers from the 399th Army Band, who drove over from Ft. Leonard Wood.
Gemma New, fresh from her debut with the STL Symphony in Rolla, was in the music room at Clayton High for the first St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra rehearsal of the season on Saturday.
On Wednesday night there will be more than 10,000 on Art Hill in Forest Park listening to the St. Louis Symphony, led by David Robertson. The atmosphere will be as intense as in a small studio in Rolla, or a music room in Clayton, or a capacity Powell Hall.
The word from Rolla is that they heard a terrific St. Louis Symphony concert Wednesday night, with an exciting debut for Resident Conductor Gemma New. Thursday afternoon the orchestra is back on the Powell Hall stage rehearsing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. From Schumann to John Williams, these musicians can turn on a dime.
While the orchestra was out of town, the stage crew prepared the big screen for Harry Potter. A layer of Visqueen had torn, and here it gets taped back together on the backside of the screen so light won’t bleed through and all the images remain clear, colorful and Harry Potterfull for the full-houses at Powell.
The St. Louis Symphony was on the Powell Hall stage rehearsing a program that features Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish,” with new Resident Conductor Gemma New, the day-after Labor Day. The Symphony hits the road to Rolla, Missouri to perform “Rhenish,” Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll Thursday for the Leach Theatre’s 25th-anniversary gala. If you want to witness New’s premiere with the orchestra, this might be the road trip for you.
After the rehearsal, horn players Chris Dwyer and Roger Kaza looked as excited as two kids back to the first day of school. I asked them to say, “Horn.”
On Friday you participated in one of the most fantastic concert experiences in your life. The next Wednesday, you audition for the opportunity to do it again.
The St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra is made up of musicians from ages 12-22. Nobody gets tenure. Nobody’s chair is reserved. If you want to stay in the YO, each year you need to audition. A blind audition, just like the grownup orchestra. Each season musicians leave the YO and go on to the next exciting thing. Each season musicians earn the privilege to remain. Each season new musicians win their seats. Heading into its 47th season with new music director Gemma New, the YO is ever-changing with fresh talented players and mature-beyond-their-years veterans. A perfect mix for a winning team every year.