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.

No Double Stops


Helen Kim and Xiaoxiao Qiang share the wonders and terrors of their Beethoven solos this weekend.

Weekend Encores

Markus Groh

Markus Groh

Friday Markus Groh performed Schumann’s Traumerei (loosely translated as “Dreaming”) from Kinderszenen (or “Scenes from Childhood”).

Saturday night he gave us Brahms’ Intermezzo in E-flat major, op. 117, no. 1.



Prelude to a Memory


For St. Louis Symphony musicians it’s never just about playing the notes. There is emotion, memory, personal and professional history that filters through as well. Cellist Bjorn Ranheim shares all of the above.

Finnish Folklore, Abridged


The Lemminkainen myth is tremendously complex, with motifs reminiscent of heroic figures such as Achilles, Orpheus and Don Juan. Guest conductor Hannu Lintu began to take a moment in rehearsal to give the musicians some narrative background with which to perform Sibelius’ Lemminkainen’s Return. Rehearsals, however, are not conducive to the telling of long mythic tales more appropriate for endless Finnish winter nights. “I could tell you the story,” Lintu  paused, “but there’s no time, no time.”

Hannu Lintu

Hannu Lintu

Handle It


photo“Handle with Care” is for amateurs. At the St. Louis Symphony, the pros “Handle with Dignity.”