Chorus Director and Staff Bios
Amy Kaiser, Director
Director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus since 1995, Amy Kaiser has prepared the chorus for performances with music directors David Robertson, Hans Vonk, and Leonard Slatkin and for many international guest conductors. She has also conducted performances with the chorus and the St. Louis Symphony at Powell Hall and the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica in repertoire including Handel’s Messiah and works by Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert.
Guest conductor with Chicago’s Grant Park Festival and the Berkshire Choral Festival, Kaiser conducted over fifty performances with the Metropolitan Opera Guild and worked with many regional orchestras. Formerly Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs and conductor at New York’s 92nd St Y, Kaiser was Director of Choral Music at the Mannes College of Music and taught conducting at Manhattan School of Music. Kaiser is a graduate of Smith College and recipient of the Smith College Medal for professional achievement. She was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford University and holds a master’s degree in musicology from Columbia University.
In addition to her work with the chorus, Ms. Kaiser presents PreConcert Perspectives for St. Louis Symphony concerts, "Illuminating Opera" for Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and leads the St. Louis Opera Club and Symphony Lecture Series, sold-out series of illustrated musical talks. The Choral Journal, national publication of the American Choral Directors Association, recently printed an article about her career as a choral conductor.
Gail Hintz, accompanist since 1997, is a graduate of Webster College (piano performance) and has a master's degree from the University of Illinois (vocal accompanying and coaching). She serves on the music faculty at Washington University as vocal coach/accompanist and is the pianist for the annual Metropolitan Opera National Council St. Louis auditions.
Leon Burke, assistant director, holds music degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Kansas. He conducts the University City Symphony, Belleville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and St. Charles County Youth Orchestra and teaches voice at St. Louis University and East Central College. He is also a cover conductor for the St. Louis Symphony. Burke is the choir director at Eliot Chapel in Kirkwood, Missouri and appears regularly during the summer at the Chaparral Music Festival and with the Asuncion Symphony and, Paraguay's version of "El Sistema," Sonidos de la Tierra.
Susan Patterson, Manager of Choral Activities at the St. Louis Symphony, holds a master’s degree from Washington University in Music Education. Patterson became a member of the Symphony staff in 2009 following a lengthy tenure at the St. Louis Art Museum. She now manages both the Symphony Chorus and the IN UNISON Chorus and sings in the alto section with both groups.