Listen to a fascinating interview with composer Andrew Norman, whose Try is receiving its St. Louis Symphony premiere this weekend. This is archived from the excellent Meet the Composer series, with Nadia Sirota, on WQXR. Click


Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman



The St. Louis Symphony rehearsed Bernstein’s melody on Tuesday morning, while we had Sondheim’s lyric singing in our sad hearts:

There’s a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us

There’s a time for us,
Some day a time for us,
Time together with time spare,
Time to learn, time to care,
Some day!

We’ll find a new way of living,
We’ll find a way of forgiving
Somewhere . . .

There’s a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we’re halfway there.
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there
Some day,


Born To Be Wild


The video blog has a different look this week, because Michael Daugherty’s Hell’s Angels, which the Symphony bassoons play this weekend, is a very different kind of work. Don’t expect this video to explain what Daugherty’s orchestral work for three bassoons and contrabassoon is, but you’ll get the vibe.

Of Beauty


The title of the fourth movement of Das Lied von der Erde, “Of Beauty,” appeared on the upstage screen as Susan Graham rose and took center stage to sing.

Susan Graham Photo: B Ealovega

Susan Graham
Photo: B Ealovega

All kinds of beauty are hurled about the stage in this stunning show. One more performance, Sunday at 3pm. Tickets available. Go.

Not a Sing-along


I have put up text and translation of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, which includes poetry by the 8th century Chinese poet Li Po. This is not so you may sing along. Once you hear just the opening exhilarating measures sung by tenor Paul Groves, you’ll realize it’s not a good idea to even try. You could hurt yourself. Leave it to the professionals. Click.

Everybody Sings


So much to say about this weekend’s program featuring Schumann’s Cello Concerto and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. David Robertson says it in a few words, with the support of the Symphony musicians rehearsing the Mahler.

Rehearsal Magic


I had the great privilege to spend time on the stage during Das Lied von der Erde rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon, shooting footage for this week’s video blog.


David Robertson leading Symphony in rehearsal of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde

David Robertson leading Symphony in rehearsal of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde

Here is how rehearsal works. David Robertson gives the downbeat and the orchestra plays for awhile. It sounds great.

Robertson stops them and tells them some things. If he’s speaking to a specific section, principals in other sections turn and tell their colleagues some things. Lots of people are talking, yet everyone is focused.

Robertson takes the orchestra back to what they played previously, gives the downbeat, and they play it again.

Magic. It sounds better than before.

Play Mother Goose, Please


Auditions for bassoon/contrabassoon in the hall on Monday. I know I’m not giving anything away by telling you that excerpts from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite were heard often today.


audition sign

Many Glories


Among the many glories of the St. Louis Youth Orchestra concert Friday night–including the astonishing music-making and the 1800 people in the house that were riveted by it–was the joy of the musicians, individually and collectively, as palpable as their sound.

Forces of Nature


With St. Louis experiencing the forces of early winter this week, the Symphony welcomed a few thousand schoolchildren to learn how composers have used nature as inspiration: storms, rivers, the power of a sunrise, the power of the Earth itself, and the grandeur of outer space.

002The students received a welcome via the big screen at Powell Hall.

004These students enjoyed some good seats.

005The orchestra was conducted by Joseph Young.

012Will James got intense with a triangle.

013A swan flows along the Moldau.

022Angie Smart brings on the storm in Vivaldi’s Summer from The Four Seasons.

027A volcano explodes to the sounds of Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance.

031Thanks to the Saint Louis Science Center, John Williams’ Star Wars theme included fantastic images of our solar system, including a flyby of Saturn.

036Lovely usher Rita Hoguet comes to the front of the stage to guide schoolchildren, teachers and chaperones to their buses.

039How was the show? Multiple thumbs up!

043Joseph Young is in the house! The conductor goes into the audience and gives high fives and says thank you to everybody.

Big kudos to Symphony Director of Education Berakiah Boone for helping to let the forces of nature be for everyone.