Symphony Tackles Back to the Future, Legend of Zelda in Live at Powell Hall Series

The St. Louis Symphony will perform music from E.T. during its 2015-'16 season.

Time travel, aliens, romance, epic quests -- the Grammy Award-winning St. Louis Symphony is taking it all on during the 2015-2016 season.

The symphony's "Live at Powell Hall" schedule for the upcoming season, released yesterday, draws more from recent pop-culture totems instead of from traditional classical inspirations. SLSO will get other-worldly when it performs music from famed Nintendo video-game series The Legend of Zelda, '80s film staple Back to the Future and legendary film composer John Williams scores such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and many more. The symphony also will bring in guest vocalists for its "Las Vegas Valentine Songbook" and will feature John Elefante of classic-rock group Kansas performing tunes by Aerosmith, Foreigner and more during "A Night of Symphonic Rock."

See also:
- St. Louis Symphony Announces 2015-2016 Season
- St. Louis Symphony, KETC Partner to Create New TV Series 'Night at the Symphony'

Launched in 2008, "Live at Powell Hall" is a collection of performances that focuses on music icons, current entertainers and scores from film, television and video games. It's aimed toward welcoming new music fans into the symphony fold.

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St. Louis Symphony Wins Grammy for City Noir, First Since 1991

Dilip Vishwanat
Music director David Robertson leads the Grammy-winning St. Louis Symphony.

In the time since the St. Louis Symphony's last win at the Grammy Awards, a child could have been born, learned to drive, voted and had its first legal beer.

That is, until February 8, when the symphony took home a 2015 Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. SLSO's first Grammy win since 1991 was for its February 2013 performance of John Adams' City Noir, which was released on Nonesuch Records last May.

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St. Louis Symphony Announces 2015-2016 Season

Dilip Vishwanat
"If music be the food of love, play on."

William Shakespeare's words from Twelfth Night naturally mean something to us here at RFT Music, and by putting a spotlight on the Bard during the upcoming music season, it appears that the St. Louis Symphony feels the same.

"Music Tells the Story" will be the theme for the 2015-2016 performance season, the symphony announced at a special event on February 3. "Many of the season's selected compositions feature direct ties to great works of literature," SLSO writes in a statement -- including, of course, Shakespeare, whose works will be musically interpreted next February and March.

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St. Louis Symphony, KETC Partner to Create New TV Series 'Night at the Symphony'

Categories: Classical Music

Dilip Vishwanat
Music director David Robertson leads the St. Louis Symphony.

Sesame Street was right: Cooperation really does work.

That long-held lesson from the famous children's television show on PBS is being brought to life by the St. Louis Symphony and KETC-TV, the Gateway City's own PBS affiliate, as they join forces for Night at the Symphony. Launched on Channel 9 just days into the new year and continuing monthly, the series solidifies a partnership between two of St. Louis' cultural pillars and brings viewers a symphony experience unlike anything they'd seen on television previously.

"I think we're just at the beginning of a really exciting journey," says Patrick Murphy, executive vice president of production at KETC, also known as the Nine Network. "After all this time, I'm still amazed by the magic and potential of television."

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St. Louis Symphony Earns Two Grammy Nominations for City Noir Recording

Dilip Vishwanat
Music director David Robertson leads the Grammy-nominated St. Louis Symphony.

Everyone knows that the St. Louis Symphony is one of the premier orchestras in the world. The latest Grammy nominations simply seal the deal.

St. Louis' globally renowned ensemble is up for two Grammys centered on its Nonesuch Records recording of John Adams' City Noir, a piece about Los Angeles in the '40s and '50s that the composer describes as "jazz-inflected symphonic music." During the February 8 awards ceremony, SLSO has the opportunity to take home prizes for "Best Orchestral Performance" and "Best Engineered (Classical) Album."

"It is wonderful to be recognized for what we are doing all the time, in the concert hall and in the community," says music director and conductor David Robertson. "People who have known the orchestra for decades have been writing to tell me they have never heard the group sounding as good as it does now. It takes a whole team to produce such results, and I could not be more proud to have this nomination as proof of the blessing we have with the SLSO."

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That Time the St. Louis Symphony Dressed Like a Motorcycle Gang: Photos

via @adamcrane | Twitter
These St. Louis Symphony bassoon players were born to be wild.

Thanks to pop culture, we're all familiar with plenty of weird motorcycle gangs, like the demons that ripped apart the Buffybot or the macho guys who became Pee-wee Herman's best friends after a little "Tequila."

But an orchestra's bassoon players wearing leather chaps and acting like badasses? Really?

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St. Louis Symphony's "Music You Know" Series Draws Inspiration From the Familiar

Dilip Vishwanat
Music director David Robertson leads the St. Louis Symphony.

Have you ever really thought about where you hear classical music? No, really thought about it? Once you know what to listen for, you'll notice that orchestral pieces are everywhere, from video games to cartoons to presidential inaugurations. It's kind of scary how often we're surrounded by beautiful scores, and it's even scarier how often our brains take them for granted.

A new program from the St. Louis Symphony aims to change that, though. Through a series dubbed "Music You Know," the symphony will lead music lovers through famous classical pieces they may have heard outside of a traditional concert event. Music director and conductor David Robertson will further enhance the audience's surprise by explaining the historical and cultural origins of the music and why the pieces lend themselves so well to everyday use.

"We have a huge repertoire of pieces that the audience isn't necessarily going to know by the title," Robertson says. "That's part of the fun of these concerts — the joy of actually discovering, 'Oh, that's what that is!' and saying, 'Wow, that's really cool!'"

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Celebrated Conductor Kenneth Woods Pens Piece on St. Louis Symphony Protest

Benjamin Ealovega
Kenneth Woods
Kenneth Woods, artistic director and principal conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra in Worcester, England, recently penned a piece for his popular A View From the Podium blog on the subject of the protests that took place during Saturday's performance by the St. Louis Symphony at Powell Hall. Woods, who got his start in the United States, has worked with a plethora of well-known orchestras during his career including the Oregon East Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra and more, receiving accolades from publications such as the Washington Post as well as the respect of many of his peers.

"I wasn't there, obviously, but I'm inclined to say the protesters did the right thing," Woods says in the piece. "Certainly that their actions, to me, seem both justified and appropriate."

See also: Ferguson Protesters Lead Demonstration During St. Louis Symphony Rendition of Brahms' A German Requiem

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Ferguson Protesters Lead Demonstration During St. Louis Symphony Rendition of Brahms' A German Requiem

Screenshot from the YouTube video.
Singing protesters display banners at Powell Hall.

By now, much of the country is talking about the musical protest in honor of Michael Brown that occurred during the St. Louis Symphony performance at Powell Hall on October 4. But what people haven't fully grasped are the themes and symbolism in the SLSO piece, Johannes Brahms' A German Requiem, that powerfully connect the musicians with the demonstrators.

Four days before the performance and protest, the St. Louis Symphony had posted a Facebook update about the overarching theme of A German Requiem. "This moving requiem was written to console the living, rather than memorialize the departed," the post had said. It's not a far leap to speculate, then, that the people who had organized Saturday's demonstration had pointedly chosen this particular work of Brahms' both to promote Brown's legacy and to help heal those who loved him.

Read our complete coverage on Michael Brown and Ferguson here.

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St. Louis Symphony Receives Critical Acclaim from the New York Times for Carnegie Hall Performance

Categories: Classical Music

YouTube screenshot.
The St. Louis Symphony made an appearance at Carnegie Hall this past weekend, performing Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes on what would have been the composer's 100th birthday. Critical acclaim followed an extended standing ovation upon the close of the performance, with the New York Times calling the event "as involving as any production you could imagine."

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