The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève welcome the St. Louis Community to Forest Park for annual community concert, September 22

Denève leads the SLSO in a free concert of works by Ludwig van Beethoven, W.C. Handy, Igor Stravinsky, John Williams, plus the first SLSO performances of Florence Price's Adoration

Celebratory opening of SLSO's 142nd season concludes with fireworks display over Forest Park's Grand Basin

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(August 23, 2021, St. Louis, MO) – Led by Music Director Stéphane Denève, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra marks the beginning of its 2021/2022 season with the return of its free concert in Forest Park at 7:00pm CDT, Wednesday, September 22, on Art Hill. Since its inaugural Forest Park concert more than 50 years ago, the SLSO performs this annual concert as a community celebration of music and the kick-off of the SLSO's season.

Denève, who recently signed a contract extension to lead the SLSO through the 2025/2026 season, leads this celebratory opening of the 21/22 season, the orchestra's 142nd and his third as Music Director. The concert includes classical favorites like selections from Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird, alongside works by Leonard Bernstein, W.C. Handy, and music from movie scores by celebrated film composer John Williams, including Harry Potter and Raiders of the Lost Ark. For the first time, the orchestra performs Florence Price's Adoration, as arranged by Akiko Hosoi. Price is the first Black women widely recognized as a symphonic composer. The concert includes a performance of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," a traditional African American spiritual that features vocalist Nadia Maddex, a St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Scholar and soprano in the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, the SLSO resident chorus that specializes in the performance and preservation of music from African and African American traditions. The festivities end with a show-stopping fireworks display following John Philip Sousa's patriotic anthem The Stars and Stripes Forever.

Performed in memory of longtime SLSO supporter Mary Ann Lee, this concert marks the 52nd anniversary since the first Forest Park concert in 1968. Attendees are encouraged to come early, bring chairs and blankets, and enjoy food trucks on site. The SLSO is following CDC guidelines for COVID safety protocols and is working with St. Louis City and Forest Park to determine what protocols will be necessary. Details will be shared at slso.org/protocols prior to the concert.

Following the concert in Forest Park, Denève leads the orchestra in its first classical concerts of the season, September 25-26, featuring the first SLSO performances of Jessie Montgomery's Banner and Anna Clyne's DANCE, performed with cellist Inbal Segev and alongside a cast of dancers from different St. Louis companies, choreographed by Kirven Douthit-Boyd, Co-Artistic Director of Dance at COCA. The opening weekend concerts conclude with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. The following weekend, October 1-2, Denève welcomes pianist Yefim Bronfman for performances of Sergei Rachmaninoff's popular Piano Concerto No. 3. Concerts open with Caroline Shaw's Entr'acte, Charles Ives' The Unanswered Question, and Christopher Rouse's Rapture.

Tickets for all fall concerts, including holiday concerts in December, are on sale now and can be purchased at slso.org or by calling the SLSO Box Office at 314-534-1700.

Calendar listing:
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève open its 2021/2022 season with a free community concert on Forest Park's Art Hill at 7:00pm Wednesday, September 22. The annual concert—featuring classical music, film music, and patriotic tunes—concludes with a festive fireworks display.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 7:00pm CDT
Art Hill at Forest Park, 1 Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis, Missouri, 63110

Stéphane Denève, conductor
Nadia Maddex, soprano

John Stafford SMITH (arr. Sousa/Damrosch) The Star-Spangled Banner
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN Allegro from Symphony No. 5
Richard WAGNER (arr. Hutschenruyter) "Ride of the Valkyries" from Die Walküre
Jacques OFFENBACH (orch. Rosenthal) Excerpts from Gaité Parisienne
Florence PRICE (arr. Akiko Hosoi) Adoration (First SLSO performances)
TRADITIONAL (arr. Bonds) "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"
Igor STRAVINSKY "Infernal Dance of King Kastcheï" from The Firebird Suite
John WILLIAMS "Harry's Wondrous World" from Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone
John WILLIAMS "The Raiders March" from Raiders of the Lost Ark
W.C. HANDY (arr. Hayman) St. Louis Blues March
Leonard BERNSTEIN "Mambo" from West Side Story
Samuel WARD (arr. Dragon) "America the Beautiful"
John Philip SOUSA The Stars and Stripes Forever

This concert is performed in memory of Mary Ann Lee.

About the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Celebrated as a leading American orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, marking its 142nd year with the 2021/2022 season and its third with Music Director Stéphane Denève. The SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community collaborations, honoring its mission of enriching lives through the power of music.

The SLSO serves as a convener of individuals, creators, and ideas, and is committed to building community through compelling and inclusive musical experiences. As it continues its longstanding focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and access, the SLSO embraces its strengths as a responsive, nimble organization, while investing in partnerships locally and elevating its presence globally. For more information, visit slso.org.

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