2021 SD conducting.jpg

Stéphane Denève

Music Director 

Stéphane DenèveStéphane Denève joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as Music Director in September 2019. Previously he served as Music Director Designate for the SLSO during the 2018/2019 season. He also served as a guest conductor with the SLSO eight times from 2003-2018. He recently extended his commitment to the SLSO through spring 2026.

Now in his second season as the 13th Music Director of the SLSO, Stéphane has shaped his tenure around creating thrilling musical experiences that give an authentic voice to music across genre and time. He maintains his commitment to composers and music of today through thoughtful and innovative programming. He also remains committed to listening and learning, as well as nurturing the SLSO's reputation as a creative hub for the St. Louis community and making orchestral music accessible to all.

This season, he led socially distanced concerts at Powell Hall, with powerful performances of works from Ludwig van Beethoven, TJ Cole, Ester Mägi, Felix Mendelssohn, Jessie Montgomery, W.A. Mozart, Arvo Pärt, Dmitri Shostakovich, Richard Strauss, George Walker, Takashi Yoshimatsu, and more. He also conducted digital SLSO concerts, which launched to acclaim in February 2021. Remaining engaged with St. Louis throughout the pandemic, he was a regular guest at monthly SLSO Lunch & Learn panel discussion, led online workshops with music educators, participated in digital video series, and visited SLSO On the Go performances throughout the community.

He also introduced St. Louis to Stephanie Childress, the SLSO's new Assistant Conductor.

In his inaugural season as Music Director, Stéphane celebrated a Franco-American Arch of friendship between French and American musical cultures, using St. Louis' world-famous icon, the Gateway Arch, as a symbol for the season. He explored works by French composers Ravel, Debussy, Guillaume Connesson, Roussel, and Poulenc, as well as American composers Gershwin, Jennifer Higdon, John Adams, Kevin Puts, John Williams, and others.

Since his first visit to St. Louis in 2003, he has charmed audiences with his wit and genuine warmth, and has since shared memorable moments at the annual concert in Forest Park, introduced new ideas including SLSO Crafted concerts, and made music more accessible with new ticket pricing and free tickets for community partners through Stéphane's Seats. He sold out Powell Hall for concerts including Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (February 2020) and a night of movie music, sharing the podium with acclaimed composer John Williams (November 2019). His concerts have been described as "near perfect," "revelatory," "Olympian in its grandeur," and "stunning" by critics.

Stéphane in Action


Stéphane's Bio


Stéphane's Website