Season-opening classical concerts at Stifel Theatre September 23-24, led by Denève, feature violinist Hilary Hahn in Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto; concerts also include Richard Strauss’ Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, W.A. Mozart’s The Magic Flute Overture, and Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

In September 29-30 concerts at the UMSL Touhill Performing Arts Center, Denève conducts Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, and first SLSO performances of Unsuk Chin’s subito con forza; pianist Jonathan Biss performs Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto to begin the season’s complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Concertos

(August 24, 2023, St. Louis, MO) – Today, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announced details of its September classical concerts to open its 144th season, led by Stéphane Denève in his fifth season as Music Director. Concerts feature superstar violinist Hilary Hahn and pianist Jonathan Biss, both of whom return to the SLSO for the first time in more than a decade to perform monumental concertos by Felix Mendelssohn and Ludwig van Beethoven. These opening concerts follow the SLSO’s ceremonial opening of the season, the free community concert in Forest Park on Thursday, September 21.

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.  The Saturday, September 30, concert will be broadcast live on 90.7 FM KWMU St. Louis Public Radio, Classic 107.3, and online. Audiences can attend a Pre-Concert Conversation, an engaging discussion about the music and artists on the program, one hour prior to each concert. 

While the expansion and renovation of Powell Hall continues, the SLSO will perform classical concerts at two landmark performance venues: Stifel Theatre in downtown St. Louis (September 23-24) and the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis (September 29-30). Shuttle service will be available for all classical concerts starting at $15/seat. There will be two shuttle pick-up locations for performances at Stifel Theatre: Plaza Frontenac and St. Louis Community College–Forest Park. Shuttles for performances at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL will depart from Plaza Frontenac and free parking is available on UMSL campus.

Conductor Stephane Deneve, now in his fifth year

Opening Weekend with Hilary Hahn

Saturday, September 23, 2022, 7:30pm CDT
Sunday, September 24, 2022, 3:00pm CDT
Stifel Theatre
1400 Market Street, St. Louis, Missouri, 63103

Stéphane Denève, conductor
Hilary Hahn, violin

Richard Strauss                                      Don Juan
Felix Mendelssohn                                Violin Concerto
W.A. Mozart                                           The Magic Flute Overture
Paul Dukas                                               The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Richard Strass                                         Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

Presented by the Thomas A. Kooyumjian Family Foundation.

The SLSO’s season-opening concerts led by Denève meld grandeur, enchantment, and jollity. The program begins with Richard Strauss’ symphonic poem Don Juan, which tells the adventures of the legendary character Don Juan. Violinist Hilary Hahn delivers the heart of the concert with performances of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. The concerto is famous for its lyrical melodies and is one of the most beloved concertos in the violin repertoire. Hahn’s most recent performance with the SLSO was 21 years ago. She is a three-time Grammy winner and one of the foremost violinists of our time, known for her exceptional musicianship and her commitment to expanding the accessibility of classical music through her educational partnerships and through her social media engagement.

The program continues with a trio of playful works including W.A. Mozart’s The Magic Flute Overture, Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks. The Magic Flute, considered one of Mozart’s most famous works, overflows with dynamic and captivating melodies. Dukas’ piecetells the story of an enchanted broomstick, a piece made famous for its inclusion is Disney’s Fantasia. The excitement continues through to the final work, Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks which is based on a trickster from German folklore.

Beethoven’s Piano Cycle: Jonathan Biss Plays the First
Friday, September 29, 10:30am CDT*
Saturday, September 30, 7:30pm CDT
Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis 
1 Touhill Circle, St. Louis, Missouri, 63121 

Stéphane Denève, conductor
Jonathan Biss, piano

Ludwig van Beethoven                        Coriolan Overture
Unsuk Chin                                              subito con forza (First SLSO performances)
Ludwig van Beethoven                        Piano Concerto No. 1
Robert Schumann                                 Symphony No. 4

*Refreshments courtesy of Kaldi’s Coffee and Eddie’s Southtown Donuts.

September 29-30 concerts honor the composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The program opens with Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, inspired by Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s play “Coriolan,” which tells the story of the Roman general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus who seeks revenge against Rome. Korean composer Unsuk Chin’s subito con forza was composed in 2020, the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Inspired by the Coriolan Overture, the piece references some of Beethoven’s most well-known music, his Symphony No. 5 and Piano Concerto No. 5, which the SLSO will perform later this season.

Pianist Jonathan Biss collaborates with the SLSO for the first time in 15 years in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, the first of all five Beethoven piano concertos performed by the SLSO this season. One of today’s foremost Beethoven experts, Biss recorded an audio book, Unquiet: My Life with Beethoven, in 2020 where he details his complex relationship with the composer. Like Biss and Chin, the composer Robert Schumann took inspiration from Beethoven. In his Fourth Symphony, Schumann develops a motif throughout the four movements in a similar cyclic form to Beethoven’s works, and dramatic shifts in mood and dark orchestral textures reveal Beethoven’s influence.

SLSO at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 
Sunday, October 1, 3:00pm CDT
Krannert Center for Performing Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 
500 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana, Illinois, 61801 

Denève, Biss, and the SLSO take the September 29-30 program to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Krannert Center for Performing Arts—the SLSO’s third visit to the university since Denève became Music Director.

The SLSO’s 144th season runs through May 2024. For more information, visit slso.org.

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 144th year with the 2023/2024 season and its fifth with Music Director Stéphane Denève. Widely considered one of the leading American orchestras, the Grammy® Award-winning SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community collaborations—all in service to its mission of enriching lives through the power of music. 

The transformational expansion and renovation of its historic home, Powell Hall, slated to be completed in 2025, builds on the institution’s momentum as a civic leader in convening individuals, creators, and ideas, while fostering a culture welcoming to all. Committed to building community through compelling and inclusive musical experiences, the SLSO continues its longstanding focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and access, embracing its strengths as a responsive, nimble organization, while investing in partnerships locally and elevating its presence globally. For more information, visit slso.org

About the University of Missouri–St. Louis Touhill Performing Arts Center

Designed by the renowned architectural firm I.M. Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners, the Touhill Performing Arts Center is a landmark performance facility on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). The Touhill at UMSL hosts an average of 120 events, 200 performances, and 90,000 visitors per year.

The Touhill at UMSL staff manages several collaborative relationships and programs that, along with campus and community partners, to bring together a diverse season of dance, theatre, music, festivals, and special events.

Stifel Theatre interior

About Stifel Theatre

Stifel Theatre is a historic, 3,100 seat theatre in the heart of downtown St. Louis. Originally opened in 1934, Stifel Theatre’s stage has welcomed some of entertainment’s greatest performers and was the primary venue for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra from 1934-1968. Following a $78.7 million restoration, this historical gem has been restored to its original splendor and undergone state-of-the-art upgrades.

Stifel Theatre plays host to a wide variety of events, including concerts, comedies, theatricals, family shows, holiday productions and more.

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