Creature Features

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Music tells the story this season, and does that in part by portraying characters–Don Quixote, Hamlet, and even the planets in our solar system. There are animal characters as well, in Peter and the Wolf and in Mother Goose Suite, and a totemic wolf in a new double bass concerto by Tan Dun.

To tell animal stories with animal characters this season, the St. Louis Symphony and the Saint Louis Zoo have merged their artistic and educational talents again for a Family Concert (Hoot & Howl at Powell) and Education Concerts in October. A nocturnal theme drives the music and the stories, so you’ll hear Night on Bald Mountain and get to know Luna the Bat.

My Education Department colleagues Jessica Ingraham and Michael Gandlmayr took a trip to the Zoo to work on the script for the shows with their zoological counterparts. And they took some time to visit with a few of the inhabitants on an outlandishly gorgeous day in August.

zoo

bears

Forces of Nature

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With St. Louis experiencing the forces of early winter this week, the Symphony welcomed a few thousand schoolchildren to learn how composers have used nature as inspiration: storms, rivers, the power of a sunrise, the power of the Earth itself, and the grandeur of outer space.

002The students received a welcome via the big screen at Powell Hall.

004These students enjoyed some good seats.

005The orchestra was conducted by Joseph Young.

012Will James got intense with a triangle.

013A swan flows along the Moldau.

022Angie Smart brings on the storm in Vivaldi’s Summer from The Four Seasons.

027A volcano explodes to the sounds of Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance.

031Thanks to the Saint Louis Science Center, John Williams’ Star Wars theme included fantastic images of our solar system, including a flyby of Saturn.

036Lovely usher Rita Hoguet comes to the front of the stage to guide schoolchildren, teachers and chaperones to their buses.

039How was the show? Multiple thumbs up!

043Joseph Young is in the house! The conductor goes into the audience and gives high fives and says thank you to everybody.

Big kudos to Symphony Director of Education Berakiah Boone for helping to let the forces of nature be for everyone.