St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève open 143rd season with three St. Louis premieres, two artist debuts, September 17-October 1

Season-opening classical concerts include the first SLSO performances of Nathalie Joachim's Fanm d'Ayiti (Women of Haiti) with Joachim in her SLSO debut as a vocalist; concerts also include Jacques Ibert's Escales (Ports of Call) and Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 8, September 17-18

In September 30-October 1 concerts, Denève leads Gustav Mahler's monumental Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) with mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor and tenor Clay Hilley in his SLSO debut; concerts include the first SLSO performances of Tōru Takemitsu's Night Signal and Qigang Chen's L'Eloignement

First month of concerts also includes final Harry Potter film with live score, a collaboration with The Muny honoring Stephen Sondheim, and the first of three Crafted happy hour concerts this season

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(August 22, 2022, St. Louis, MO) – Today, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announced details of its first two weeks of classical concerts in its 143rd season, led by Stéphane Denève in his fourth season as Music Director. Concerts include the first SLSO performances of three works, the debuts of two artists, and music across genre and time.

Tickets start at $15 and are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased at slso.org or by calling the Box Office at 314-534-1700. A full concert calendar is available at slso.org or on the SLSO's mobile app available for iOS or Android.  All Saturday night concerts will be broadcast live on 90.7 FM KWMU St. Louis Public Radio, Classic 107.3, and online (stlpublicradio.org/listen.php). Audiences can attend a Pre-Concert Conversation, an engaging discussion about the music and artists on the program, one hour prior to each concert in the auditorium.

Stéphane Conducts Dvořák
Saturday, September 17, 2022, 8:00pm
Sunday, September 18, 2022, 3:00pm

Denève designed the 2022/2023 season to draw audiences closer to other places, building bridges between musical cultures and breaking down boundaries through music. In the opening weekend of concerts, Denève and the orchestra perform music influenced by five cultures. The opening work, Jacques Ibert's Escales hearkens to the musical cultures of ports of call on the Mediterranean Sea: Italy (Rome and Palermo), Tunisia (Tunis and Nefta), and Spain (Valencia). The piece was last performed by the SLSO in its entirety in 1954. Antonín Dvořák's penultimate Eighth Symphony draws inspiration from the folk melodies of his native Bohemia, now part of modern-day Czechia. In contrast to some of his other large-scale works, Dvořák achieved an optimistic and cheery tone to this symphony, which was written on the occasion of his admittance to Prague Academy.

In between these two works, the SLSO gives its first performances of Nathalie Joachim's Fanm d'Ayiti, (Women of Haiti), a work inspired by the voices of Joachim's native Haitian culture and the women of her homeland. The full orchestral work is adapted from the original work for voice, flute, string quartet, and electronics—which received a Grammy® nomination for Best World Music Album. Joachim joins the SLSO as the vocalist on this program, her performance debut with the orchestra, deepening her relationship with the SLSO. Her piece Dam Mwen Yo for solo cello and recorded vocals was recorded and presented digitally as part of the SLSO's Live at the Pulitzer series in 2020, and the orchestra commissioned Joachim to compose a piece for orchestra and the SLSO IN UNISON Chorus, an ensemble dedicated to the performance and preservation of Black American musical expression. Originally scheduled for its world premiere in May 2022, the performance of Family will be rescheduled to a future date.

Stéphane Conducts Mahler
Friday, September 30, 2022, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 1, 2022, 8:00pm

The September 30-October 1 concerts demonstrate the ties between eastern and western musical traditions. The opening two works by Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu and Chinese/French composer Qigang Chen draw inspiration from both the musical cultures of their native lands and from French impressionism. Takemitsu's Night Signal features the SLSO brass section, while Chen's L'Eloignement showcases the SLSO strings. Both pieces receive their first SLSO performances in these concerts.

In the second half of the concert, Denève leads the orchestra and vocal soloists in Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth). The six-movement song cycle, sometimes described as Mahler's greatest symphony, is set to text from German translations of Chinese poetry. The massive work explores the totality of life, with movements including "Of Beauty," "Of Youth," and "The Farewell." Tenor Clay Hilley, a mainstay in opera houses worldwide, makes his SLSO debut in the performances. Mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor, a frequent collaborator of Denève's, returns for her ninth performance with the SLSO. O'Connor's performance is supported by the Sarah Bryan Miller Fund, an endowed fund made possible by a bequest from the late St. Louis Post-Dispatch music critic Sarah Bryan Miller.

The first month of concerts for the SLSO's 143rd season also include the final installment of the Harry Potter film series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2 in Concert, along with a musical tribute to Stephen Sondheim in collaboration with The Muny. The SLSO's Crafted happy hour concerts return with the first of three concerts on October 14, featuring singer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane.

The SLSO's 143rd season runs through June 2023. For more information, visit slso.org.

Calendar listings:
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will perform the following concerts in November 2022:

Stéphane Conducts Dvořák
Music Director Stéphane Denève and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra open their 143rd season on September 17-18 with concerts at Powell Hall that feature the first performances of Nathalie Joachim's Fanm d'Ayiti (Women of Haiti) with the composer as the vocal soloist. The concert also includes Dvořák's sunny Symphony No. 8. Tickets start at $15.

Saturday, September 17, 2022, 8:00pm
Sunday, September 18, 2022, 3:00pm
Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Stéphane Denève, conductor
Nathalie Joachim, vocals (SLSO debut)

Jacques IBERT Escales
Nathalie JOACHIM Fanm d'Ayiti (Women of Haiti) (First SLSO performances)
Antonín DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 8

Stéphane Conducts Mahler
Music Director Stéphane Denève and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra explore the totality of life in performances of Gustav Mahler's The Song of the Earth at Powell Hall September 30-October 1. The concerts also include the first St. Louis performances of works by Tōru Takemitsu and Qigang Chen. Tickets start at $15.

Friday, September 30, 2022, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 1, 2022, 8:00pm
Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Stéphane Denève, conductor
Kelley O'Connor, mezzo-soprano
Clay Hilley, tenor (SLSO debut)

Tōru TAKEMITSU Night Signal (First SLSO performances)
Qigang CHEN L'Éloignement (First SLSO performances)
Gustav MAHLER Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)

These concerts are presented by the Thomas A. Kooyumjian Family Foundation.
Kelley O'Connor's performance is supported by the Sarah Bryan Miller Fund.

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 143rd year with the 2022/2023 season and its fourth 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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