Stéphane Denève

Stéphane Denève

Although St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s new music director-designate, Stéphane Denève, is in St. Louis during early February, he will be gone before the Feb. 22 concert, and won’t be back again until May 10-12 to close the symphony season.

However, he said he completely understands the IN UNISON Chorus is a very important part of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra family.

“It is my wish to make music with them during my very first concert as music director in the fall,” he added. “Everybody in the institution spoke highly to me about their talent, unique spirit and special musical fervor.”

He said he has met a few of the IN UNISON members, and enjoyed the warmth and generosity of chorus director Kevin McBeth.

“I hope to collaborate often and fruitfully with the IN UNISON Chorus in the coming years,” he said.

Denève is a French citizen internationally recognized for the exceptional quality of his performances and programming with the world’s greatest soloists.

As the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s 13th music director, Denève will be leading the second-oldest orchestra in the United States. The orchestra’s 2018-2019 season marks its 139th year.

“I fell in love with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra when I first conducted here in 2003. After all these years of our partnership, I am still quite taken by the unique musical spirit of this wondrous institution. I am overjoyed to begin my tenure as music director — to collaborate with this exceptional orchestra, to serve its remarkable community, and to ensure our music is even more accessible to all,” said Denève.

His work with IN UNISON likely will be for a Forest Park concert this September.

Denève is music director of the Brussels Philharmonic, principal guest conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire. He previously served as chief conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Denève is slated to direct the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for at least three seasons.