2018/2019 Season at a Glance

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Season highlights include:

  • Music Director Designate Stéphane Denève conducts four weeks at Powell Hall, with a wide range of repertoire including works by Berlioz, Brahms, Lieberson, Mozart, Prokofiev, Ravel, Scriabin, Vaughan Williams, Wagner, and the SLSO premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Nyx.

  • Resident Conductor Gemma New leads the season-opening concert, including the SLSO premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Musica celestis, along with Sibelius’ Finlandia and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.She leads a second concert including the SLSO premiere of Thomas Adès’ Three Studies from Couperin.

  • Marking the 50th anniversary of his SLSO debut, Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin leads two weeks of concerts, including a program of Leonard Bernstein’s “Kaddish” Symphony, Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto, and the SLSO premiere of Loren Loiacono’s Smothered by Sky. His second program features Barber’s Symphony No. 1, Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, and the world premiere of an SLSO-commissioned work by Emmy Award-winning composer Jeff Beal, known for his music from the Netflix series House of Cards.

  • Conductors Karina Canellakis, Michael Francis, Gustavo Gimeno, Jakub Hrůša, and Matthias Pintscher make their SLSO debuts; returning guest conductors include Matthew Halls, Hannu Lintu, Jun Märkl, Cristian Măcelaru, Nicholas McGegan, Peter Oundjian, Nathalie Stutzmann, John Storgårds, Bramwell Tovey, and Gilbert Varga.

  • World premieres of two SLSO-commissioned works, Christopher Rouse’s Bassoon Concerto and a composition by Jeff Beal, along with a U.S. premiere by Lotta Wennäkoski, punctuate a season that introduces nine other works to the SLSO repertoire and revisits numerous works that have been given rare performance by the SLSO.

  • Artists making their SLSO debuts include pianists Behzod Abduraimov and Javier Perianes; cellist Daniel Müller-Schott; and vocalists William Berger, Sasha Cooke, Hila Plitmann, Yulia Van Doren, Rinat Shaham, Siobhan Stagg, Krisztina Szabó, Robin Tritschler, and Douglas Williams. Returning artists include pianists Yefim Bronfman, Kirill Gerstein, Ingrid Fliter, Olga Kern, Elizabeth Joy Roe, and Lars Vogt; violinists Joshua Bell, Renaud Capuçon, Karen Gomyo, Leila Josefowicz, and Anthony Marwood; and vocalists Karina Gauvin, Kelley O’Connor, Stephen Powell, and Nicholas Phan.

  • SLSO musicians who will take the stage as soloists include Celeste Golden Boyer, Melissa Brooks, Beth Guterman Chu, Andrew Cuneo, David Halen, Allegra Lilly, and Mark Sparks.

  • Live radio broadcasts of all Saturday subscription concerts on St. Louis Public Radio continue for a ninth season. Night at the Symphony on the Nine Network continues for its fourth season.


Resident Conductor Gemma New opens 2018/2019 season

The subscription season will open on September 22 with Resident Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra Gemma New leading the orchestra in performances of Elgar’s Enigma Variations and the Grieg Piano Concerto with pianist Behzod Abduraimov, who makes his SLSO debut (September 22-23, 2018).


Stéphane Denève performs four weeks of concerts at Powell Hall

Stéphane Denève will take the podium for four weeks during the 18/19 season. In June 2017, the SLSO announced the appointment of Stéphane Denève as its next Music Director. Denève, who will serve as the SLSO’s 13th Music Director, has been a frequent guest conductor with the orchestra since 2003.  His initial three-year term as Music Director begins with the 19/20 season. He will serve as Music Director Designate during the 18/19 season (November 10-11, 2018, February 8-10 and 15-16, 2019, and May 10-12, 2019).

Premieres and first performances

World Premieres 

Conductor Cristian Măcelaru and SLSO Principal Bassoon Andrew Cuneo will present the world premiere of a SLSO co-commission in the 18/19 season:

  • CHRISTOPHER ROUSE Bassoon Concerto (November 16-17, 2018)


Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin and soprano Hila Plitmann will perform the world premiere of a new song cycle by House of Cards composer Jeff Beal, commissioned by the SLSO in honor of Maestro Slatkin’s 50th anniversary with the Orchestra.

  • JEFF BEAL New Song Cycle (May 3-4, 2019)


U.S. Premieres

Conductor Hannu Lintu will lead the SLSO in a U.S. premiere in the 18/19 season:

  • LOTTA WENNÄKOSKI Flounce (September 28-29, 2018)


First Performances

In addition to the world and U.S. premieres, nine works will receive their first-ever performances by the SLSO during the 18/19 season:

  • KERNIS Musica celestis (September 22-23, 2018)
  • SALONEN Violin Concerto (September 28-29, 2018)
  • LIEBERSON Neruda Songs (November 10-11, 2018)
  • R. STRAUSS Symphonic Fantasy from Die Frau ohne Schatten (January 18-19, 2019)
  • SCRIABIN Piano Concerto (February 1-2, 2019)
  • STRAVINSKY Funeral Song (March 9-10, 2019)
  • ADÈS Three Studies from Couperin (April 5-7, 2019)
  • LOIACONO Smothered by Sky (April 27-28, 2019)
  • SALONEN Nyx (May 10-12, 2019)



The SLSO welcomes the following musicians in their subscription debuts with the orchestra during the 18/19 season:


  • Gustavo Gimeno (October 12-13, 2018)
  • Michael Francis (November 23-25, 2018)
  • Karina Canellakis (January 18-19, 2019)
  • Matthias Pintscher (February 1-2, 2019) 
  • Jakub Hrůša (March 29-31, 2019)


  • Behzod Abduraimov (September 22-23, 2018)
  • Javier Perianes (October 12-13, 2018)


  • Daniel Müller-Schott (March 22-23, 2019)


  • Robin Tritschler (October 27-28, 2018)
  • Yulia Van Doren (October 27-28, 2018)
  • Douglas Williams (October 27-28, 2018)
  • William Berger (December 7-9, 2018)
  • Krisztina Szabó (December 7-9, 2018)
  • Siobhan Stagg (March 9-10, 2019)
  • Sasha Cooke (April 27-28, 2019)
  • Hila Plitmann (May 3-4, 2019)
  • Rinat Shaham (May 10-12, 2019)


Returning artists


  • Gemma New* (September 22-23, 2018 & April 5-7, 2019)  
  • Hannu Lintu (September 28-29, 2018)
  • Bramwell Tovey (October 5-6, 2018)
  • Jun Märkl (October 19-21, 2018)
  • Nicholas McGegan (October 27-28, 2018)
  • Stéphane Denève** (November 10-11, 2018, February 8-10, 2019, February 15-16, 2019, & May 10-12, 2019)
  • Cristian Măcelaru (November 16-17, 2018)
  • John Storgårds (November 30-December 1, 2018)
  • Matthew Halls (December 7-9, 2018)
  • Peter Oundjian (March 2-3, 2019)
  • Nathalie Stutzmann (March 9-10, 2019)
  • Gilbert Varga (March 22-23, 2019)
  • Leonard Slatkin*** (April 27-28, 2019 and May 3-4, 2019)


  • Elizabeth Joy Roe (October 19-21, 2018)
  • Ingrid Fliter (November 30-December 1, 2018)
  • Kirill Gerstein (February 1-2, 2019) 
  • Yefim Bronfman (February 15-16, 2019)
  • Lars Vogt (March 2-3, 2019)
  • Olga Kern (April 27-28, 2019)


  • Leila Josefowicz (September 28-29, 2018)
  • Joshua Bell (November 23-25, 2018)
  • Renaud Capuçon (January 18-19, 2019)
  • Anthony Marwood (March 15-17, 2019)
  • Karen Gomyo (March 29-31, 2019)


  • Kelley O'Connor (November 10-11, 2018)
  • Karina Gauvin (December 7-9, 2018)
  • Nicholas Phan (December 7-9, 2018)
  • Stephen Powell (Mar 9-10, 2019)

SLSO Musicians

  • Beth Guterman Chu, viola (October 5-6, 2018)
  • Celeste Golden Boyer, violin (October 19-21, 2018)
  • Melissa Brooks, cello (October 19-21, 2018)
  • Andrew Cuneo, bassoon (November 16-17, 2018)
  • David Halen, violin (February 8-10, 2019)
  • Allegra Lilly, harp (April 5-7, 2019)
  • Mark Sparks, flute (April 5-7, 2019)

*Resident Conductor of the SLSO and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra

**SLSO Music Director Designate during the 18/19 season

*** SLSO Conductor Laureate


Holiday and special programming

Guaranteed to please families of all ages, the SLSO offers a wide array of seasonal performances that bring the holiday spirit to life:

  • Led by IN UNISON Chorus Director Kevin McBeth, the SLSO and the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus celebrate A Gospel Christmas. This concert is supported by Monsanto Fund (December 20, 2018).
  • Powell Hall will be filled with enchantment for the Mercy Holiday Celebration concerts. The Holiday Festival Chorus, led by Kevin McBeth, will join the SLSO for five festive performances featuring timeless classics, carols, familiar favorites, and a visit from St. Nick. Presented by Mercy (December 21-23, 2018).
  • Ring in the New Year with the annual BMO Private Bank New Year’s Eve Concert, led by former SLSO Resident Conductor Ward Stare. The program is an enchanting evening full of magical music and unforgettable surprises. Presented by BMO Private Bank (December 31, 2018). 
  • IN UNISON Chorus Director Kevin McBeth will lead the SLSO and the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus in its annual concert, Lift Every Voice, celebrating African-American culture and music with a soulful celebration of song. This concert is supported by Monsanto Fund (February 22, 2019).


St. Louis Symphony: Live at the Pulitzer 

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the SLSO continue their ongoing collaborative concert series aimed at exploring contemporary music, art, and architecture. These concerts are hosted in Tadao Ando’s intimate and contemporary setting of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. Programs and details about events in the 18/19 season will be announced at a future date. https://www.slso.org/pulitzer


Broadcast partnerships

The 18/19 season marks another year of partnerships with two leading public media outlets – The Nine Network of Public Media and St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7-KWMU. St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts and live streams the entire SLSO Saturday night subscription series for a ninth year, with broadcasts resuming in September 2018. The Nine Network features SLSO performances on its Night at the Symphony program, now in its fourth season and airing the first Sunday of each month at 5 p.m.


Live at Powell Hall

A full schedule of 18/19 Live at Powell Hall concerts, featuring popular music programming, light classical favorites, and much more, will be announced in Spring 2018. https://www.slso.org/liveatpowell


Family and education concerts

The SLSO performs several innovative and interactive Family and Education Concerts during the 18/19 season, each designed to engage and capture the imagination of younger listeners. Program dates and details will be announced this spring. https://www.slso.org/family  https://www.slso.org/educationconcerts

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