Celebrating 50 years at Powell Hall

Season highlights include:

  • Season opening celebration of Mozart, including six piano concertos with Emanuel Ax; season finale features Swing Symphony collaboration with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
  • Works include Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Orff’s Carmina burana, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Ravel’s Bolero, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Adès’s Powder Her Face Suite, and U.S. premieres of Peter Ruzicka’s Elegie: Remembrance for Orchestra, and Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Solastalgia.
  • Returning artists include Stéphane Denève, Nicholas McGegan, Leonard Slatkin, Orli Shaham, Augustin Hadelich, Christine Brewer, Susanna Phillips, and Kelley O’Connor.
  • Eighth season of live radio broadcasts of all Saturday subscription concerts on St. Louis Public Radio. Third season of “Night at the Symphony” on the Nine Network.

February 2, 2017 (St. Louis, MO) – Today, the St. Louis Symphony announced programming for the orchestra’s 2017/18 season—its 138th season and David Robertson’s 13th as Music Director. The second-oldest orchestra in the United States will offer 24 weeks of classical subscription programs. In addition to leading the orchestra for 13 weeks at Powell Hall, Robertson will take the orchestra on its fourth California tour during his tenure as Music Director. The 17/18 subscription season runs from September 23 through May 6.

The 17/18 season will mark the orchestra’s 50th anniversary at Powell Hall, which will be filled with the sounds of everything from Mozart to Wynton Marsalis in celebration. In 1968, the former St. Louis Theatre—originally a movie palace and vaudeville stage— reopened after an extensive renovation as Powell Hall. Since then, the St. Louis Symphony has called it home, and it is recognized as one of the country’s finest spaces for listening to live music.

Music Director David Robertson said: “With our 50th year at home in Powell Hall, the Hall itself served as inspiration. A goal for programming the upcoming season was to share with our audiences - both those who are sitting at Powell and those who join us from around the globe via live broadcasts - the breadth of programming that is possible with a venue such as Powell Hall. From works by John Williams, to Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, to the partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center and Wynton Marsalis, to U.S. premieres by Peter Ruzicka and Erkki-Sven Tüür, and the addition of seven works to our repertoire, I believe we have an absolutely thrilling season in celebration of our 50th anniversary in Powell Hall. I look forward, in particular, to works that will showcase the exceptional musicians of our Symphony and Chorus.”

In addition to Robertson’s thirteen weeks on the podium, St. Louis Symphony Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin will return in October for Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Garrick Ohlsson. Resident Conductor Gemma New will make her subscription series debut in March 2018 with a program including Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, and a piccolo concerto by Erkki-Sven Tüür in its American premiere with STL Symphony piccolo Ann Choomack, who is also making her subscription series debut. Guest conductors for the season will also include Stéphane Denève, Jun Märkl, and John Storgårds, while Nicholas McGegan and Laurence Cummings will lead two weeks of Baroque repertoire including music by Vivaldi, Torelli, Marcello, and Corelli.


The subscription season will open on September 23 with the first of a three-program survey of Mozart’s opera overtures, late symphonies, and piano concertos with pianist Emanuel Ax. Robertson designed these concerts to draw connections between the piano concerto and the other genres in which Mozart worked (September 23 – October 1, 2017).  

“The concertos give us this possibility to explore Mozart’s mind, because it’s as if we have the composer himself at the keyboard,” Robertson said. “Mozart often used the concerto as a kind of laboratory for ideas he would explore in other pieces. In the concertos, we find the drama in Don Giovanni, the fabulous back-and-forth in Marriage of Figaro, and the tragic flaw of humans’ belief in their own abilities in Cos  fan tutte. We find the spread of purely musical ideas in the symphonies. In this way, you get a picture of Mozart that I don’t believe we’ve explored previously, and which I think will be revelatory.”


“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!” The subscription season at Powell Hall concludes with a jazz-infused program of two Bernstein works and Swing Symphony, fronted by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (May 4, 5, & 6, 2018).

“What I love about the Swing Symphony is that it takes us on a journey of jazz as a living art. It’s been informed by various influences, styles, and personalities,” Robertson said. “This is a way of exploring orchestral music’s evolutionary take on humanity’s ever-changing process of becoming who we are. The marriage between Marsalis, the orchestra, and the jazz band is unlike anything I have seen before.”


Music Director David Robertson will conduct Beethoven’s Missa solemnis for the first time with the STL Symphony and Chorus. Beethoven composed this piece around the same time as his Ninth Symphony, and the two works are considered closely related in spirit (November 18 & 19, 2017).

Missa solemnis is a fairly recent addition to my repertoire, as I waited until I’d conducted every other major work of Beethoven - because Beethoven also waited,” Robertson said. “The Missa solemnis operated in a really special place for him, both in terms of where he was in his life, where his views were on the whole nature of spirituality—and the role that religion may or may not play—as well as refining all of the various techniques that he had previously employed.”


In January, David Robertson will conduct a program including a suite from Thomas Adès’s scandalous 1995 opera Powder Her Face, Shostakovich Symphony No. 1, and the Britten Violin Concerto with soloist Augustin Hadelich. The Dances from Powder Her Face will be performed with additional movements co-commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Danish National Symphony Orchestra (January 12 & 13, 2018).  


Bright trumpets and the St. Louis Symphony Chorus will ring in the holiday season with the delightful sounds of Vivaldi. Vivaldi’s choral favorite, Gloria, will capture audiences throughout a two-week celebration. The orchestra will also perform Vivaldi’s most popular work, The Four Seasons, with a contemporary twist featuring Avi Avital, a sensational mandolinist (December 1-10, 2017). 


U.S. Premieres

David Robertson leads the STL Symphony in two U.S. premieres in the 17/18 season:

  • Peter Ruzicka – Elegie: Remembrance for Orchestra
  • Erkki-Sven Tüür – Solastalgia (Piccolo Concerto)

First Performances

In addition to the U.S. premieres, seven works receive their first-ever performances by the St. Louis Symphony during the 17/18 season:

  • Christopher Rouse – Bump
  • Steven Mackey – Mnemosyne’s Pool
  • Korngold – Tänzchen im alten Stil (Dance in the Old Style)
  • Thomas Adès – Powder Her Face Suite
  • Guillaume Connesson – Flammenschrift
  • Mussorgsky – original version of Night on Bald Mountain
  • Jörg Widmann – Violin Concerto


Beethoven 5

Experience Beethoven’s monumental Fifth Symphony at Powell Hall. David Robertson will lead the St. Louis Symphony during captivating live performances of Beethoven’s iconic work (October 27, 28, & 29, 2017).   


Powell Hall audiences will enjoy concerts full of Spanish flare on Thanksgiving weekend. The St. Louis Symphony will take audiences on a musical journey, concluding with Ravel’s legendary orchestral showpiece, Bolero (November 24, 25, & 26, 2017).

Carmina Burana

Hailed as one of the most popular and instantly recognizable works of all time, Orff’s electrifying Carmina burana evokes the vibrant and sometimes perilous medieval world. Bramwell Tovey leads the STL Symphony and Chorus in this awe-inspiring masterpiece certain to bring audiences to their feet (February 9, 10, & 11, 2018).


After its much-lauded and critically-acclaimed California Tours in 2010, 2013, & 2015, David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony return to the Golden State in 2017. More details will be released at a future date. 


The St. Louis Symphony welcomes the following musicians in their subscription debuts with the orchestra during 17/18 season:

  • Conductor

Gemma New* (March 23, 24, & 25, 2018)

Laurence Cummings (December 8,9, & 10, 2017)

Matthew Halls (February 17 & 18, 2018)

Christian Arming (March 2 & 3, 2018)

  • Piano

Rémi Geniet (March 2 & 3, 2018)

Christina Naughton (February 2 & 3, 2018)

Michelle Naughton (February 2 & 3, 2018)

  • Cello

Narek Hakhnazaryan (April 20 & 21, 2018)

  • Violin

Julian Rachlin (January 26 & 27, 2018)

  • Vocalists

Zach Borichevsky (April 20 & 21, 2018)

Benjamin Butterfield (February 9, 10, & 11, 2018)

James Westman (February 9, 10, & 11, 2018)

Tracy Dahl (February 9, 10, & 11, 2018)

Jay Carter (December 1 & 2, 2017)

Catalina Cuervo (November 24, 25, & 26, 2017)

Pelageya Kurennaya (April 20 & 21, 2018)

Sherezade Panthaki (December 1 & 2, 2017)

Shenyang (November 18 & 19, 2017)

  • Mandolin 

Avi Avital (December 8, 9, & 10, 2017)

* St. Louis Symphony Resident Conductor


  • Conductor

Stéphane Denève (February 2 & 3, 2018)

Bernard Labadie (March 16 & 17, 2018)

Hannu Lintu (April 20 & 21, 2018)

Cristian M celaru (March 10 & 11, 2018)

Jun Märkl (November 24, 25, & 26, 2017)

Nicholas McGegan (December 1 & 2, 2017)

Leonard Slatkin (October 6 & 7, 2017)

Markus Stenz (October 13 & 14, 2017)

John Storgårds (November 10, 11, & 12, 2017)

Bramwell Tovey (February 9, 10, & 11, 2018)

  • Piano

Emanuel Ax (September 23-October 1, 2017)

Marc-André Hamelin (November 10, 11, & 12, 2017)

Garrick Ohlsson (October 6 & 7, 2017)

Orli Shaham (October 21 & 22, 2017)

Simon Trp eski (April 14 & 15, 2018)

  • Violin

James Ehnes (March 10 & 11, 2018)

Karen Gomyo (November 24, 25, & 26, 2017)

Augustin Hadelich (January 12 & 13, 2018)

Christian Tetzlaff (April 27 & 28, 2018)

  • Jazz Band

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (May 4, 5, & 6, 2018)

  • Vocalists

Nathan Berg (April 20 & 21, 2018)

Christine Brewer (October 27, 28 & 29, 2017)

Kelley O'Connor (November 18 & 19, 2017)

Susanna Phillips (November 18 & 19, 2017)

Stuart Skelton (November 18 & 19, 2017)

Lydia Teuscher (March 16 & 17, 2018)


Guaranteed to please families of all ages, the St. Louis Symphony offers a wide array of seasonal performances guaranteed to bring the holiday spirit to life:

  • Led by IN UNISON Chorus Director Kevin McBeth, the St. Louis Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus celebrate A Gospel Christmas: A Soulful Celebration with vocalist Diane Reeves. This concert is supported by Monsanto Fund (December 14, 2017).
  • Powell Hall will be filled with enchantment for the Mercy Holiday Celebration concerts. St. Louis Symphony Resident Conductor Gemma New will join the Holiday Festival Chorus, led by Kevin McBeth, for five festive performances featuring timeless classics, carols, familiar favorites, and a visit from St. Nick (December 15-17, 2017).
  • Ring in the New Year with the annual BMO Private Bank New Year’s Eve Concert, led by Music Director David Robertson. The program is an enchanting evening full of magical music and unforgettable surprises. Presented by BMO Private Bank (December 31, 2017).
  • IN UNISON Chorus Director Kevin McBeth and vocalist Oleta Adams lead the St. Louis Symphony and St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus in its annual concert, Lift Every Voice, celebrating African-American culture and music with a soulful celebration of song. This concert is presented by Monsanto Fund (February 23, 2018).
  • The St. Louis Symphony’s annual black-tie fundraising gala will include cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a special performance by Music Director David Robertson, the St. Louis Symphony, and pianist Simon Trp eski to mark 50 years at Powell Hall. Proceeds from the event support the St. Louis Symphony’s education and community programs (April 14, 2018).


The Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the St. Louis Symphony continue their ongoing collaborative concert series aimed at exploring contemporary music, art and architecture. These concerts are hosted in Tadao Ando’s newly renovated, intimate and contemporary setting of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. Programs and details about events the 2017/18 season will be announced at a future date.    


The 17/18 season marks the eighth year of partnerships with two leading public media outlets - The Nine Network of Public Media and St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7-KWMU. St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts and live streams of the entire St. Louis Symphony Saturday night subscription series will resume in September, 2017. The Nine Network regularly features St. Louis Symphony performances on its Night at the Symphony program.


A full schedule of 17/18 Live at Powell Hall concerts, featuring popular music programming, light classical favorites and much more, will be announced in the Spring of 2017. 


The St. Louis Symphony performs four innovative and interactive Family Concerts during the 17/18 season, each designed to engage and capture the imagination of younger listeners. Program dates & details will be announced later this spring. 


The St. Louis Symphony’s External Affairs Department coordinates the Symphony’s Education, Youth Orchestra, Community Partnership, and Stories from Backstage programs. Its mission: To enrich people’s lives through the power of music by providing many free, live events in intimate community settings. Each year, the St. Louis Symphony shares its talents with thousands of people in our area. This is accomplished in several ways:

  • Education programs:

Education Concerts Series, offers educational concert opportunities for early childhood students through high school. Program dates and details will be announced at a future date.

Link Up, presented inpartnership with Carnegie Hall, provides hands-on music curriculum 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. The program explores orchestral repertoire in the classroom and prepares students to play string instruments and sing in an Education Concert.

Symphony in Your School, Junior, is a free residency with an emphasis on professional development. The program gives early childhood educators the musical knowledge and tools to engage their students in the classroom.

Symphony in Your School, Elementary, is a free residency for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students that develops their creative capacities by engaging them in the creative process with the world-class musicians of the St. Louis Symphony in their own classroom.

Symphony in Your School, Secondary, is a free residency program, available for middle and high school bands and orchestras. It provides music students the opportunity to interact with and learn from the world-class musicians of the St. Louis Symphony.

 – Picture the Music, is a free program presented by the Symphony Volunteer Association (SVA). It invites students in kindergarten through the 6th grade to listen to a selection of orchestral music and then create their own artistic interpretations through paintings, colorings, and drawings.

Express the Music, a free program for students in the 6th through 12th grade to unleash their creativity by expressing their thoughts and emotions through writing in response to an iconic piece of orchestral music. It is sponsored by the Symphony Volunteer Association (SVA).

  • St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra:

St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, now in its 47th season, consists of 95-100 young musicians ranging in age from 12-22 and representing more than three dozen schools throughout the bi-state region. The orchestra’s three performances at Powell Hall during the 17/18 season are free with a $1 processing fee per ticket.     

  • Community partnerships:

Symphony In Your City, provides free performances at venues throughout the city of St. Louis, including Powell Hall.

Symphony In Your Neighborhood, offers free performances at special community venues.

Symphony In Your College, provides performances and master classes at colleges and universities in both Missouri and Illinois.

SymphonyCares, brings the power of music to patients in hospitals, prisons, retirement communities, and assisted-living facilities.

Symphony Where You Worship, performances are held at area synagogues, diverse places of worship, and interfaith events.

Music Without Boundaries, welcomes new Americans to the St. Louis community through shared music experiences.

– St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON, connects musicians directly with the congregations of 41 African-American partner churches, and provides mentors for musicians and future leaders in the community.

  • Stories from Backstage:

Stories from Backstage, uses television news-style narrated videos to provide unique insight into the Symphony and its community and education programs. In addition to videos, the online storytelling project includes articles, pictures, and interviews.     

-To learn more about the Education, Community Partnership, and Stories from Backstage programs of the St. Louis Symphony, visit