The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève recently announced the symphony will resume in-person events this weekend through SLSO On the Go, a series of limited-capacity, outdoor pop-up chamber music and solo performances.
These in-person events begin this week as a celebratory opening of the SLSO’s revised 2020 season that includes a wide array of digital events and performances, concert broadcasts, education resources, and now, live concerts. SLSO On the Go performances will take place several times per week at locations throughout the area, reaching the St. Louis community including healthcare workers, seniors, families and students as well as those passing through public spaces.
The SLSO has partnered with several local institutions to provide these socially distanced concert experiences, including Forest Park, the St. Louis County Library, Tower Grove Park, Mercy, St. Luke’s Hospital, St. Agnes Home, and the BJC Institute of Health. These new pop-up concerts complement the SLSO’s continued radio and TV broadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio and Nine Network of Public Media that reach thousands weekly, as well as other digital offerings and events, which can be found online at slso.org.
Stéphane Denève, Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, said, "There is no replacement for the joy of making and sharing music in person with audiences, and we are thrilled to once again bring live music, safely, to our community. These concerts are one small way we can bring emotions and inspiration, warm-hearted music making, and say thank you to our neighbors who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe. The gifted, creative musicians of the SLSO are eager to bring you music again and I am humbled by their remarkable efforts to keep the music going.”
SLSO On the Go, presented at no cost to audiences, is composed of two elements: chamber music concerts for small audiences of up to 50 people at partner locations through early October and one-on-one performances for an individual or family.
All concerts will follow social distancing guidelines and require masks for musicians and audience members. The SLSO will share videos and photos from the events via its social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and through its digital magazine, SLSO Stories.
Individual SLSO musicians will also give private outdoor performances to individuals and families as part of SLSO on the Go. These one-on-one concerts connect individuals to the power of music through intimate, 20-minute experiences.
These new live concert experiences offer more ways to remain engaged with the SLSO, with programming that showcases the orchestra’s versatility. Follow the SLSO on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for additional information on SLSO On the Go concerts open to the public.
The SLSO will phase in additional live events as conditions safely permit and will announce details for programs as they are confirmed.
SLSO On the Go complements the SLSO’s reimagined fall 2020 season, which includes a robust array of ongoing digital performances, events, and resources.
Radio and Television Broadcasts
The SLSO continues its weekly concert rebroadcasts each Saturday at 8:00pm CDT on 90.7 KWMU St. Louis Public Radio and online (news.stlpublicradio.org/#stream/0). Earlier in 2020, broadcasts were expanded from the 24-concert classical season to a permanent fixture on air, providing year-round access to critically acclaimed SLSO concerts. Upcoming rebroadcasts include Stéphane Denève’s first classical series concert as Music Director on September 19—featuring the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ Virelai, renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in his first concert as SLSO Artist-in-Residence, Debussy’s La Mer, and Gershwin’s An American in Paris; and on September 26, the rebroadcast features the SLSO debuts of conductor Gustavo Gimeno and pianist Javier Perianes with works by Ligeti and Bartók, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. Rebroadcast concerts are available for streaming on slso.org and slsostories.org for a limited time. Last season, the SLSO reached 250,000 people through weekly broadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio.
Additionally, patrons can watch SLSO concerts filmed at Powell Hall on the first Sunday of each month at 5:00pm CDT on Nine PBS in a continuing partnership with the Nine Network of Public Media. These hourlong broadcasts feature the SLSO performing compelling works in the classical canon. For the upcoming schedule, visit ninenet.org/tv-schedule.
Expanded Offerings for Families, Teachers, and Students
The SLSO’s Education Team created a series of resources to support teachers and help parents keep students engaged in music outside of the traditional classroom.
SLSO Sound Lab is a series of short performance videos that explore music through a scientific lens and can be accessed on demand. In partnership with Breach—a multimedia performance company—students will be able to put into practice what they learn through free access to online composition and sound mixing technology that will allow them to create and compose their own masterpieces. Engaging storytelling to keep elementary students interested in these learning resources is being created in partnership with Filament Theater.
Inside the Musician’s Studio uses a flipped classroom strategy in which middle and high school instrumental music students will have the opportunity to interact online with musicians of the SLSO through a series of 45-minute online Zoom classes. Each session will feature a different topic presented by an SLSO musician and will include an accompanying classroom learning activity.
Studio Time for Teachers, a new resource providing professional development opportunities for music educators, is a curated series of online workshops presented by musicians of the SLSO on topics of most interest to teachers.
Online Resources, including activity guides, are available for download at slso.org at no cost, and were created around major ideas in orchestral music, including theme and variations, finding inspiration, and creating musical motifs for characters in literature and film. The SLSO’s Instrument Playground Online, presented by PNC Arts Alive, features videos, photos, and activities that introduce audiences to the instruments of the orchestra and the musicians who play them.
Family and Education concerts announced for Fall 2020 will shift to an online format. A shared, live viewing event of SLSO Sound Lab, in which families will be able to virtually interact with content and story characters, will be available later this fall. Additional details about these concerts will be announced at a later date.
Expanding on its digital offerings and responding to the overwhelmingly positive feedback to the SLSO Songs of America project, the SLSO will launch a collection of episodic web series that provide, at no cost, poignant music performances available on demand on the SLSO’s YouTube page, SLSO Stories, and on social media. These series will elevate the diversity of voices in the industry and St. Louis community. Songs of America, launched the week of July 4, explores the incredible variety of voices in American music, recorded at the orchestra’s home in Powell Hall and filmed at notable locations across St. Louis. Since its release, Songs of America installments have reached more than 300,000 people in St. Louis and across the country.
Upcoming series include a collaboration with the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, a continuation of the annual St. Louis Symphony: Live at the Pulitzer series that presents chamber music by composers of today to complement exhibitions at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and Songs of the Armed Forces, which honors the U.S. military through performances the beloved marches and fight songs of each branch.
The SLSO expanded its portfolio of virtual events for patrons to deepen their understanding of the orchestra and its musicians. Monthly Lunch & Learns offer in-depth discussions on topics of interest to the community. The next Lunch & Learn is Wednesday, September 23, and will feature a discussion on the crucial role women have played in the SLSO, with guests including SLSO President & CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard, St. Louis Symphony Chorus Director Amy Kaiser, SLSO musicians Melissa Brooks, Felicia Foland, and Amanda Stewart, and SLSO Board of Trustees member Elizabeth Mannen.
Regularly occurring Coffee Talks with Musicians events allow donors and subscribers to interact online with SLSO musicians, while Whitaker Zoom Happy Hours prior to select concert rebroadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio provide a social event for SLSO donors and subscribers.
New this fall, the SLSO introduces SLSO Soundbites, an on-demand podcast in partnership with Classic 107.3, The Voice for the Arts in St. Louis. The podcast will feature Music Director Stéphane Denève, SLSO musicians, and composers and artists from around the world in conversations about classical music and its connection to today’s world. Hosted by John Clare, a Symphony Hall on SiriusXM radio personality, the podcast will be available on Spotify, iTunes, SLSO Stories, and Soundcloud.
Audiences can learn more about the SLSO and its musicians with stories from backstage, in Powell Hall, and throughout St. Louis at the orchestra’s digital magazine, SLSO Stories. Launched in 2019, this companion site of slso.org features stories, photos, program notes, and videos about the various aspects of the SLSO—including concerts, community programs, education initiatives, special events, and more.