In recent days I’ve seen oboist Phil Ross, percussionist Will James, violinists Wendy Plank Rosen, Kristin Ahlstrom and Jessica Cheng, double bassist Chris Carson, English horn player Cally Banham, and I’ve engaged in email conversations with violists Beth Guterman Chu and Jonathan Chu, clarinet player Scott Andrews, horn player Thomas Jöstlein, violinist Erin Schreiber, and concertmaster David Halen. This means the summer festivals are over and the musicians are beginning to return home to St. Louis–a delightful harbinger of the new season. When they all get together next week for rehearsals they’ll look something like this:
The votes are in. I asked the St. Louis Symphony musicians to send me their Hot Picks for the 16/17 season. More than half of the musicians participated, and this week I’ll present the Top 5. I’ll begin with No. 5: Brahms Violin Concerto, featuring Augustin Hadelich, April 29-30, 2017.
First violinist Jessica Cheng writes: “He’s probably one of my top three violinists out there right now. I can’t wait to hear him play one of my favorite violin concerti and what encore he’ll slay.” (Editor’s note: encores are not guaranteed.)
Alison Harney, Principal Second Violin: “He is an exquisite violinist beyond all measure.”
David Robertson conducts. This concert is hot, as chosen by the musicians of the St. Louis Symphony.
Tuesday: Hot Pick No. 4. Another solo string work matched with an early 20th century masterpiece.
You don’t need to be in the trumpet section to appreciate the trumpet highlights that may be heard in the upcoming 1516 concert season. First violinist Jessica Cheng had this to say about the trumpet solo that opens Mahler’s Symphony No. 5:
“Mahler 5 was the first symphony I played on my first subscription concert here 6 years ago, and at that time Susan Slaughter played the opening notes and blew me away. That was when I knew I was part of something really special. And this time, so many new faces have entered the orchestra since that day, and Karin [Bliznik] is playing the opening notes, and I’m sure I’ll be just as blown away.”
Four Seasons. Four St. Louis Symphony violinists. As Jooyeon Kong, who plays Autumn, says, “What’s not to love?”