(June 7, 2017, St. Louis, MO) – Today, the St. Louis Symphony announced the appointment of Stéphane Denève as its next Music Director. Denève, who will serve as the St. Louis Symphony’s 13th Music Director, has been a frequent guest conductor with the orchestra since 2003.  His initial three-year term as Music Director begins with the 2019-2020 season. He will serve as Music Director Designate during the 2018-2019 season.

Stéphane Denève will succeed David Robertson, whose distinguished 13-year tenure as Music Director will culminate at the conclusion of the 2017-2018 season, during which his extraordinary contributions and legacy will be celebrated.

Barry Beracha, Chairman of the St. Louis Symphony Board of Trustees said: “It is an honor to share this news about the St. Louis Symphony’s future artistic leadership. Over the years, Stéphane Denève’s partnership with the orchestra and its audience has blossomed, showing his clear connection with, and affinity for, our musicians, audiences, and community. In his interaction with various St. Louis Symphony constituents, Stéphane has shown great respect and enthusiasm toward our storied institution. We look forward to welcoming him to the St. Louis Symphony family.”

Marie-Hélène Bernard, President & CEO of the St. Louis Symphony said: “The chemistry between Stéphane Denève and the St. Louis Symphony is palpable. We are thrilled to create a space for the partnership to grow and thrive. Stéphane’s genuine commitment to exploring innovative projects reflects his respect for David Robertson’s outstanding legacy in St. Louis. His commitment to enhancing our artistic, educational, community and media outreach truly aligns with our strategic initiatives to embrace existing and new audiences, making him a vital partner to our entire St. Louis Symphony family. I am grateful to our Succession Planning Committee, which included board members, musicians, and members of the management team, for their guidance and input.”

Kathleen Mattis & Timothy Myers, Co-Chairs of the St. Louis Symphony Musicians' Council said: “The musicians of the St. Louis Symphony are thrilled that Maestro Denève will be joining and leading our musical community. We look forward to welcoming him and to forging a strong partnership, and we are grateful for the part we have played in choosing our new Music Director."

Denève has appeared seven times as a guest conductor with the St. Louis Symphony. Repertoire over the years has included works ranging from contemporary French composer Guillaume Connesson and American composer Patrick Harlin, to works by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Ravel, Strauss, and Tchaikovsky. His performances with the St. Louis Symphony have received critical acclaim, and have also included collaborations with soloists from the orchestra including Concertmaster David Halen & Principal Flute Mark Sparks. Denève returns to St. Louis in February 2018 for a program of Ravel, Poulenc and Connesson.

Following his most recent appearances with the St. Louis Symphony in March, 2017, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Classical Music Critic, Sarah Bryan Miller, wrote: “Denève is always a welcome visitor to Powell Symphony Hall. With a gift for managing large forces, as well as smaller ensembles, he had an excellent opportunity to demonstrate his range… The expanded orchestra was fully on board with his vision throughout, from the many solo moments of the principal players to beautiful playing by sections and the responsiveness of the full ensemble, from stormy passages to the quietest moments of mystery.”

Stéphane Denève said: “I adore the St. Louis Symphony! Since my first experience conducting this superb orchestra in its beautiful home at Powell Hall in 2003, I have regularly enjoyed the unique musical spirit of this wondrous institution. The talent and refinement of its musicians, their true friendliness and open-mindedness, have always struck me as providing exceptional opportunities for profound music-making.  Therefore, I am overjoyed to become Music Director of such an orchestra, and to be able to play my part in the St. Louis community by serving its audiences and developing the connection and feeling of pride between this great city and its musical jewel. 

“I am very honored to succeed David Robertson, who I would like to congratulate for all the achievements of his tenure, building a world-class ensemble with a modern outlook on repertoire. I would like to express my excitement at having more opportunities to work with Amy Kaiser and her wonderful St. Louis Symphony Chorus. And last but not least, I am very much looking forward to working with all the board members who work so hard to support and sustain the St. Louis Symphony, and with Marie-Hélène Bernard and her brilliant executive team. À bientôt!”

About Stéphane Denève

Stéphane Denève is currently Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic, Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (CffOR). From 2011-2016, he served as Chief Conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and from 2005-2012 as Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Recognized internationally for the exceptional quality of his performances and programming, he regularly appears at major concert venues with the world’s greatest orchestras and soloists. He has a special affinity for the music of his native France, and is a passionate advocate for new music.

Recent engagements include appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Vienna Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and NHK Symphony. In North America he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2012 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has been a frequent guest both in Boston and at Tanglewood, and he appears regularly with The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Toronto Symphony.

He enjoys close relationships with many of the world's leading solo artists, including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yo-Yo Ma, Nikolaj Znaider, James Ehnes, Leif Ove Andsnes, Leonidas Kavakos, Nicholas Angelich, Lang Lang, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Gil Shaham, Emanuel Ax, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Lars Vogt, Nikolai Lugansky, Paul Lewis, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, and Nathalie Dessay.

In the field of opera, Stéphane Denève has led productions at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival, La Scala, Saito Kinen Festival, Gran Teatro de Liceu, Netherlands Opera, La Monnaie, Deutsche Oper Am Rhein, and at the Opéra National de Paris. In the 2016-2017  season, he makes his debut at Deutsche Oper Berlin with Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette.

As a recording artist, he has won critical acclaim for his recordings of the works of Poulenc, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Franck and Connesson.  He is a triple winner of the Diapason d’Or of the Year, has been shortlisted for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year Award, and has won the prize for symphonic music at the International Classical Music Awards. His most recent releases are a disc of the works of Guillaume Connesson with Brussels Philharmonic (awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’année, Caecilia Award, and Classica Magazine’s CHOC of the Year), and a disc with Lucas and Arthur Jussen and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, both for Deutsche Grammophon. 

A graduate and prize-winner of the Paris Conservatoire, Stéphane Denève worked closely in his early career with Sir Georg Solti, Georges Prêtre and Seiji Ozawa. He is committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and listeners, and works regularly with young people in the programs of the Tanglewood Music Center and New World Symphony.


About the St. Louis Symphony                                                                     
Founded in 1880 and now in its 137th season, the St. Louis Symphony is the second-oldest orchestra in the country and widely considered one of the world’s finest. Under the leadership of Music Director David Robertson, currently in his 12th season, the St. Louis Symphony strives for artistic excellence, educational impact and community connection while meeting its mission statement: enriching people’s lives through the power of music. The Symphony presents a full season of classical programs and Live at Powell Hall concerts and hundreds of free education and community programs each year. Media partners include St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 –KWMU, which broadcasts the Symphony’s Saturday night subscription concerts live + The Nine Network, which regularly features St. Louis Symphony performances on its Night at the Symphony program. In addition, the St. Louis Symphony is known for its Grammy Award-winning recordings, Carnegie Hall appearances, national and international tours, innovative programming and extensive community engagement initiatives.