Stéphane Denève leads the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in his first concert as Music Director, September 12

Free concert for the community in Forest Park offers broad range of music, in collaboration with members of the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, St. Louis Symphony Chorus, and St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra

Concert on Art Hill in memory of Mary Ann Lee

To download this release, click here.
To download a photo of Stéphane Denève, click here.
To download a photo of a Forest Park concert, click here.

(August 12, 2019, St. Louis, MO) – Stéphane Denève conducts the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's free concert in Forest Park, a musical gift to St. Louis that starts his tenure as the orchestra's 13th Music Director. Begun more than 50 years ago, the SLSO performs this annual concert for approximately 15,000 people on Forest Park's Art Hill. The concert is Thursday, September 12, at 7:00pm.

First taking place in 1968, the Forest Park concert serves as the launch of the SLSO's season. This year, Denève invited members from the full SLSO family to join the performance: the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus will perform on two pieces and members of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and brass and percussion players from the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform alongside Denève and the SLSO in Tchaikovsky's rousing 1812 Overture. The celebration ends with a show-stopping fireworks display following Sousa's patriotic anthem The Stars and Stripes Forever.

Denève presents a variety of repertoire with this concert, which echoes the themes of his inaugural season: a Franco-American arch of shared musical cultures, music of our time, and making music accessible to all. He programmed works by French composers Berlioz and Bizet, complemented with works by American composers Bernstein and Sousa. Recognizable works from film and St. Louis-themed pieces enhance the festive spirit of the program.

Performed in memory of longtime SLSO supporter Mary Ann Lee, the concert in Forest Park is the celebratory opening of the SLSO's season. Attendees are encouraged to come early, bring chairs and blankets, and enjoy food trucks on site.

The Forest Park concert is the first in a series of diverse concerts Denève leads in September to open his tenure as SLSO Music Director. He and the SLSO return to Powell Hall September 13-15 to perform a concert of film music composed by his friend and collaborator, John Williams. On September 21-22, he leads the SLSO in a signature program of classical works that includes a world premiere, three works by composers of our time, and beloved classical pillars, culminating in Gershwin's An American in Paris. On September 27-28, he leads the SLSO and the St. Louis Symphony Chorus in performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, a massive and moving work that explores themes related to life and the afterlife. Denève and the SLSO also open the Lied Center for Performing Arts' 30th anniversary season in Lincoln, Nebraska, on September 19.

Tickets for the 2019/2020 season are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting

Thursday, September 12, 2019, 7:00pm
Forest Park's Art Hill, 35 Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis, MO

Stéphane Denève, conductor
Members of the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus | Kevin McBeth, director
Members of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus | Amy Kaiser, director
Members of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra | Gemma New, Music Director

SMITH (arr. Sousa/Damrosch) The Star-Spangled Banner
J. WILLIAMS Olympic Fanfare and Theme
MILLS / TRADITIONAL (arr. Hayman / Maness) "Meet Me in St. Louis" -- "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"
BERNSTEIN Candide Overture
BERNSTEIN "Mambo" from West Side Story
BIZET Selections from Carmen Suite No. 1
BIZET "Farandole" from L'Arlésienne Suite No. 2
TRADITIONAL (arr. Hayes) "Ain't That Good News"
St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus
BERLIOZ "Hungarian March" from The Damnation of Faust
HANDY (arr. Hayman) St. Louis Blues March
J. WILLIAMS "Main Title" from Star Wars
TCHAIKOVSKY 1812 Overture, op. 49
St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus
St. Louis Symphony Chorus
St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra
SOUSA The Stars and Stripes Forever

The 19/20 SLSO Classical Season is presented by the Steward Family Foundation and World Wide Technology.

About Stéphane Denève, SLSO Music Director
Stéphane Denève is the 13th Music Director for the 140-year-old St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, beginning his tenure in the 2019/2020 season. He also serves as Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic, Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (CffOR).

Recognized internationally for the exceptional quality of his performances and programming, Denève 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 music of the 21st century. A gifted communicator and educator, he is committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and listeners, and has worked regularly with young people in the programs such as those of the Tanglewood Music Center, New World Symphony, the Colburn School, and the Music Academy of the West.

He is a frequent guest with leading orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Vienna Symphony, DSO Berlin and NHK Symphony. Last season, he led a major U.S. tour with the Brussels Philharmonic.

In the field of opera, Denève has led productions at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival, La Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Saito Kinen Festival, Gran Teatro de Liceu, Netherlands Opera, La Monnaie, Deutsche Oper Am Rhein, and at the Opéra National de Paris.

As a recording artist, he has won critical acclaim for his recordings of the works of Poulenc, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Franck and Honegger. 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 include Lost Horizon, a two-disc set of music by Guillaume Connesson with the Brussels Philharmonic, saxophonist Timothy McAllister, and violinist Renaud Capuçon on Deutsche Grammophon; Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on its label; and Cinema with violinist Renaud Capuçon and the Brussels Philharmonic on Erato/Warner Classics featuring some of the most memorable melodies from the silver screen.

For further information, please visit

About the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Celebrated as one of today's most exciting and enduring orchestras, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, marking its 140th year with the 2019/2020 season and its first with Music Director Stéphane Denève. Widely considered one of the world's finest orchestras, the SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community connections – all in service to its mission of enriching lives through the power of music.

In addition to its regular concert performances at Powell Hall, which has been the permanent home of the SLSO for more than 50 years, the orchestra is an integral part of the diverse and vibrant St. Louis community, presenting dozens of free education and community programs and performances throughout the region each year. It has an ongoing commitment to championing music of our time, through commissions, a collaboration with the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and its popular St. Louis Symphony Live at the Pulitzer series. The SLSO also serves as the resident orchestra for Opera Theatre Saint Louis, with the upcoming season marking the 43rd year of this unique partnership.

The Grammy Award-winning SLSO's impact beyond the St. Louis region is realized through weekly Saturday night concert broadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio, acclaimed recordings, and regular touring activity. A sought-after artistic partner by preeminent musicians and composers from across the globe, as well as by local and national organizations, the SLSO enjoys a long history of robust and enduring artistic collaborations that have developed and deepened over the years.

Today, the SLSO builds on the institution's current momentum on all fronts, including artistic, financial, audience growth, and community impact, and looks toward the future with Stéphane Denève. For more information, visit

#   #   #