St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Music Director Stéphane Denève, Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin lead October concerts

SLSO Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin conducts the world premiere of the specially commissioned Yet Another Set of Variations (On a Theme of Paganini), Principal Oboe Jelena Dirks plays the SLSO premiere of Mozart's elegant Oboe Concerto, and the SLSO plays Strauss' Ein Heldenleben, October 12-13

SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève conducts Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and the St. Louis premiere of Poulenc's Les biches Suite, while virtuosa violinist Karen Gomyo performs Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1, October 18-20

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(October 3, 2019, St. Louis, MO) – Two of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's titled conductors, Music Director Stéphane Denève and Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin, lead a pair of programs in October that feature a world premiere and two St. Louis premieres. The concerts are Friday and Saturday, October 12-13, and Friday through Sunday, October 18-20.

Leonard Slatkin conducts Ein Heldenleben – October 12-13
Slatkin's weekend – Saturday and Sunday, October 12-13 – opens with the world premiere of Yet Another Set of Variations (On a Theme of Paganini). A set of variations on Paganini's Caprice No. 24 was written to celebrate Slatkin's tenure as Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1996. The SLSO Conductor Laureate returns to celebrate his 75th birthday with the world premiere performance of a newly-composed set of variations. New variations were composed by John Corigliano, Guillaume Connesson, Truman Harris, Daniel Slatkin, and Cindy McTee. These variations will be performed in addition variations composed almost 25 years earlier by Claude Baker, William Bolcom, Donald Erb, Joseph Schwantner, Joan Tower, and Slatkin himself. The piece was co-commissioned by four other orchestras from around the globe with close ties to Slatkin, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lyon, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Nashville Symphony Orchestra. The SLSO commissioned Corigliano to compose a variation.

SLSO Principal Oboe Jelena Dirks' performance of Mozart's Oboe Concerto will mark the first ever performance of this masterwork by the SLSO. Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) closes the program. It depicts six aspects of a hero's journey and is thought to be based on Strauss' own experiences.

Concerts are 8:00pm, Saturday, October 12, and 3:00pm, Sunday, October 13.

Stéphane conducts Rachmaninoff -- October 18-20
Denève will conduct a program filled with music to dance to in his third of eleven weeks during the 2019/2020 classical season. He continues the Franco-American arch theme with Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances—composed in the United States—as well as the SLSO premiere of French composer Francis Poulenc's sparkling Les biches Suite. Meanwhile, violinist Karen Gomyo's sixth appearance with the SLSO takes Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 to center stage. The concerts will be held Friday through Sunday, October 18-20.

The program begins with Les biches Suite, originally a one-act ballet. Portions of the piece infuses 1920s jazz into the Polish dance style, and its finale closes out the suite with all the flare of Parisian youth in the Roaring '20s.

Gomyo's most recent performance with the SLSO in March 2019 demonstrated her "authoritative presence and flawless technique" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). She will bring those same qualities back to Powell Hall for Prokofiev's masterpiece. The final work of the program was the final work of Rachmaninoff's life and the only one he wrote in the United States. Quotations of his earlier symphonies and inclusion of ecclesiastical chants make the piece simultaneously nostalgic and religious. Its jubilant theme triumphs over the Gregorian Dies irae melody from the Mass for the Dead and provides a fitting conclusion to a program that traces a day's progress.

Concerts are 8:00pm, Friday and Saturday, October 18-19, and 3:00pm, Sunday, October 20.

Calendar Listings
Saturday, October 12, 2019, 8:00pm
Sunday, October 13, 2019, 3:00pm
Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Jelena Dirks, oboe

VARIOUS Yet Another Set of Variations (On a Theme of Paganini)
MOZART Oboe Concerto, K. 314
R. STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life)

Audiences can attend the free Pre-Concert Conversation at 7:00pm Saturday and 2:00pm Sunday in the auditorium. This weekend, the conversations are hosted by composer Christopher Stark.

Tune in to St. Louis Public Radio on Saturday, October 12, at 8:00pm for the live broadcast of the performance, along with interviews of Slatkin, Dirks, and composer Cindy McTee during intermission. Listen on air (90.7 FM KWMU) or online (

Friday, October 18, 2019, 8:00pm
Saturday, October 19, 2019, 8:00pm
Sunday, October 20, 2019, 3:00pm
Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Stéphane Denève, conductor
Karen Gomyo, violin

POULENC Les biches Suite
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 1
RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances

Audiences can attend the free Pre-Concert Conversation at 7:00pm Friday and Saturday and 2:00pm Sunday in the auditorium. This weekend, the conversations are hosted by pianist Peter Henderson.

Tune in to St. Louis Public Radio on Saturday, October 19, at 8:00pm for the live broadcast of the performance, along with interviews of Denève and Gomyo during intermission. Listen on air (90.7 FM KWMU) or online (

The 19/20 SLSO Classical Season is presented by the Steward Family Foundation and World Wide Technology and runs through May 9, 2020.

Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at or by calling the Box Office at 314-534-1700.

About Music Director Stéphane Denève
Stéphane Denève is Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (CffOR). He has previously served as Chief Conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

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 programmes such as those of the Tanglewood Music Center, New World Symphony, the Colburn School, the European Union Youth Orchestra, 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.

In the field of opera, Stéphane 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 a live recording of Honegger's Jeanne d'arc au bûcher with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and two discs of the works of Guillaume Connesson with the Brussels Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon.
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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. 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

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