St. Louis Symphony Orchestra awarded $1 million in federal funding to support education programming

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt included funding for SLSO educational programming that served more than 65,000 students in 2021 in bill signed by President Biden on March 15

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(April 14, 2022, St. Louis, MO) – Today, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announced it is the recipient of $1 million in federal funding to support its music education programs, an appropriation made possible by U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and signed by President Biden on March 15. The funding comes from the Department of Education's Elementary and Secondary Education Innovation and Improvement Fund, which is part of the federal appropriations bill. The SLSO will use these restricted funds to ensure ongoing access to music education resources for students, teachers, and schools throughout the St. Louis region and across the country. The funding will also help the SLSO expand its digital education platforms—an area of programming which has seen exponential growth in the past two years, engaging and connecting teachers, students, and families worldwide.

For more than 100 years, the SLSO has served students and teachers through a variety of educational outreach programs, from in-school programming, concerts at Powell Hall, and most recently through a portfolio of on-demand digital resources, events, and series. A leader in music education, the SLSO reached students and teachers in 42 states and 15 countries in 2021, introducing six new virtual programs that connected with more than 65,000 students in 565 schools. The SLSO's music education portfolio can be found at

Marie-Hélène Bernard, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra President and CEO, said, "We are grateful to Senator Roy Blunt for recognizing the impact of the SLSO's music education resources for teachers and students, and for advocating on behalf of the SLSO's continued work in this area. This award will support the SLSO's music education programming, a cornerstone of the organization's mission since 1921. Music education is vital to learning success and has the power to help build connections between people, ideas, and the greater world. We thank the Senator for sharing our vision to support teachers, students, and families."

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt said, "Music education helps students develop skills that benefit them in all aspects of their lives and academic careers. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's education programming brings together history, STEM education, art, creative writing, and so much more. It's an incredible resource for students, parents, and teachers across the country. I am proud to support the SLSO's education efforts in the government funding bill and I hope they'll be able to continue and expand these programs well into the future."

The appropriation was awarded through a Congressionally Directed Spending Request made by the SLSO to Blunt. Twenty-six Missouri entities—two in the St. Louis region—received this type of appropriation, ranging from $350,000 to $60 million. The SLSO will work with the Department of Education to direct this federal support to key education initiatives in coming seasons, promoting access to music education for all.

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

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