Stéphane Denève begins his tenure as the 13th Music Director of the 140-year-old St. Louis Symphony Orchestra with a free concert for thousands at Forest Park’s iconic Art Hill.

The season includes three world premieres of SLSO-commissioned works by Aaron Jay Kernis, Kevin Puts, and a group of ten composers of today; the U.S. premiere of the orchestral version of Guillaume Connesson’s A Kind of Trane; 16 works by composers of today including John Adams, Lera Auerbach, William Bolcom, Anna Clyne, Guillaume Connesson, Sofia Gubaidulina, Jennifer Higdon, Pierre Jalbert, Aaron Jay Kernis, Arvo Pärt, Kevin Puts, Outi Tarkiainen, and John Williams, plus a work that includes contributions from composers Claude Baker, William Bolcom, Guillaume Connesson, John Corigliano, Truman Harris, Cindy McTee, Joseph Schwantner, Daniel Slatkin, Leonard Slatkin, and Joan Tower; 19 works that are SLSO premieres; and numerous works that have been given rare performance by the SLSO.

The SLSO’s recently announced 19/20 Live at the Pulitzer series immerses audiences at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in multimedia solo and chamber ensemble performances, including two world premieres by Susan Philipsz and Christopher Stark, as well as works by John Luther Adams, Christopher Cerrone, Phyllis Chen, Danny Clay, Brett Dean, Yotam Haber, Carolina Heredia, David Lang, Missy Mazzoli, Annika Socolofsky, and LJ White.

Denève’s close collaborator and celebrated pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins the SLSO as the Jean-Paul and Isabelle Montupet Artist-in-Residence, performing works by Ravel, Liszt, and Connesson with the orchestra, plus an evening of chamber music at Washington University in St. Louis featuring Thibaudet and SLSO musicians.

Imagining new concert formats, Denève will lead the SLSO in its first symphonic play, Maurice Ravel: A Musical Journey by director and playwright Didi Balle, featuring Artist-in-Residence Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and in two new casual symphonic experiences: SLSO Crafted Concerts.

Inspired by Denève’s desire to create an all-encompassing sense of welcome to the SLSO family for the entire St. Louis community, the SLSO introduces a series of initiatives to make extraordinary music accessible to everyone and to improve audience experience at SLSO events.

Additional season highlights include works from the ballet repertoire including Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty Suite, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and the SLSO premiere of Poulenc’s Les biches Suite led by the new Music Director; Denève will also lead a cast of renowned vocal soloists in a production of Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust; SLSO Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin leads the premiere of a co-commissioned piece including contributions from ten total composers of today to honor his 75th birthday; Resident Conductor Gemma New conducts a program with works by Prokofiev, Vaughan Williams, and Arvo Pärt.

Live radio broadcasts of all Saturday Classical concerts on St. Louis Public Radio continue for a tenth season. Night at the Symphony on the Nine Network continues for its fifth season.

Read more: