Music Director Stéphane Denève and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra continue their Franco-American journey with two American elegies and a French celebration in November 2-3 concerts

Violinist James Ehnes performs John Williams' Violin Concerto, Denève leads the SLSO in Barber's iconic Adagio for Strings and Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3, "Organ"

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(October 22, 2019, St. Louis, MO)Music Director Stéphane Denève, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and violinist James Ehnes will perform a program of powerful emotional force with a jubilant finish in concerts on November 2-3. Pieces by two American composers—Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings and John Williams' Violin Concerto—and French composer Camille Saint-Saëns' "Organ" Symphony form the Franco-American arch that Denève explores during this program and throughout his first season as Music Director of the SLSO. The concerts are 8:00pm Saturday and 3:00pm Sunday.

The climb up the arch begins with an iconic work from a lesser-known composer and a lesser-known work from an iconic composer. Samuel Barber's masterwork, Adagio for Strings, opens the program. Adagio for Strings has been played at the announcements of the deaths of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, among others, transforming it into an American cultural touchstone.

Adagio's raw emotional power is followed by another elegy, John Williams' Violin Concerto. Written by Williams after the death of his wife, actress Barbara Ruck, the SLSO gave the world premiere performance in 1981. Ehnes, a frequent collaborator of Denève's and the SLSO, last played at Powell Hall in March 2018, when he showed he had "technique to burn" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). The SLSO will record the performances of Williams' Violin Concerto for future release in the November 2-3 concerts.

Saint-Saëns' "Organ" Symphony closes the program. The composer "gave everything [he] was able to give" to the piece, an accomplishment Saint-Saëns said he would never achieve again. Saint-Saëns' mastery of the organ also precipitated the shimmering prominence of the instrument in the work.

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

Calendar Listing
Saturday, November 2, 2019, 8:00pm
Sunday, November 3, 2019, 3:00pm
Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Stéphane Denève, conductor
James Ehnes, violin

BARBER Adagio for Strings
John WILLIAMS Violin Concerto
SAINT-SAËNS Symphony No. 3, "Organ"

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 SLSO Creative Partner Tim Munro.

Tune in to St. Louis Public Radio on Saturday, November 3, at 8:00pm for the live broadcast of the performance, with interviews of Denève and Ehnes at intermission. Listen on air (90.7 FM KWMU) or online (

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

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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