Tag Archives: david robertson

St. Louis Symphony’s Family Concerts


Actor Michael Boudewyns will perform in The Life and Times of Beethoven concert on September 29 at 3 pm.
Actor Michael Boudewyns will perform in The Life and Times of Beethoven concert on September 29 at 3 pm.

Looking for fun and child friendly live classical music performances, a world famous orchestra, and a child’s ticket price that starts at $8? Are you a newbie to classical music and want to explore the genre in a more relaxed setting?

Here’s the perfect opportunity!

The St. Louis Symphony kicks off its 2013-2014 Family Concert Series on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3 pm with The Life and Times of Beethoven–a creative look at the composer’s life, his powerful music, and his iconic Fifth Symphony. The 45 minute concert, geared for 5 to 10 year old children and their families, features the St. Louis Symphony’s new Resident Conductor Steven Jarvi and actor Michael Boudewyns (co-founder of the storytelling group, Really Inventive Stuff). In addition to marveling in Beethoven’s music, audience members can learn how the composer channeled his life’s hardships into musical works of genius.

Be sure to arrive a little early before the performance to enjoy the Instrument Playground. Staffed by friendly Symphony volunteers, the Instrument Playground offers kids a chance to try out different instruments from each of the music families. 

More upcoming St. Louis Symphony Family Concerts

SymphonySLAM: Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 3 pm
Join Music Director David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony as they explore the connection between visual art and music. During the concert, images of some of the St. Louis Art Museum’s best-loved and most recognizable treasures will be paired with music from Bartók and Britten.

Peter and the Wolf: Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 3 pm
Prokofiev’s piece gets an on-stage twist, as performers from STAGES St. Louis will join the St. Louis Symphony to act out this family favorite.

Choose Your Symphonic Adventure: Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 3 pm
This interactive journey through the history of classical music will let the audience pick the program! The concert will feature iconic works from Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and many more.

Ticket Information

Tickets to the Family Concerts are $8 to $11 for children and $12 to $19 for adults. Call 314.534.1700, purchase tickets online, or visit the box office at 718 North Grand Boulevard. Discounted season subscriptions to all four concerts in the Family Concerts Series are still available by calling 314.534.1700.




St. Louis Symphony & Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Being a St. Louis transplant, I am consistently amazed at the cultural and artistic resources we have in the region considering the size of this city. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is one of those incredible gems. Their Friday evening performance with the contemporary dance company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, was an enthralling experience overall and offered audiences the rare chance to enjoy contemporary dance with live music, something most dance companies cannot afford without co-producers. The connectivity between the orchestra and the dancers (even on a limited rehearsal schedule) was clear and confident.

The performance begins with Mozart’s lively Le nozze di Figaro Overture, a comforting and familiar piece that the symphony played with great enthusiasm. The orchestra did a wonderful job of presenting those naked, glorious, and untainted Mozart lines where there is absolutely no wiggle room for intonation or ensemble issues.

The Hubbard Street Dance Chicago dancers joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for Arcangelo with music by Corelli and Scarlatti. Concertmaster David Halen’s exquisite playing really sang in this work. The choreography by Nacho Duato and the dancers visually brought to life all of the luscious stretching, pushing, pulling, and quick changes between staccato and legato that are written in the score. Countertenor, David Stephens, gave a historically accurate performance, filled with the clean, round sounds, which we heard in the Mozart.

The Brandenburg Concerto left us breathless. I had to restrain myself from dancing in the aisle. After seeing the dancers in the Corelli and Scarlatti pieces, it was a nice opportunity to listen to the orchestra alone playing this famous Baroque work. The symphony’s attacks, dynamics, and textures took on a new feel in the Brandenburg after seeing them visually embodied by the dancers earlier.

The Anna Clyne piece was my favorite. Organic, rather unearthly music is joined by choreography that is subtle, filled with breath, challenging, and unique yet somehow familiar. The shadowed lighting design, white costumes, and poignant playing by the orchestra was memorable. I was amazed by the dancers’ gorgeous use of their feet–their roll down and languid slow walks across the stage were stunning.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor David Robertson, smartly gives us a little humor and playfulness and of course connections to the Baroque music we heard earlier in the concert, by programming Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks concerto. We get to hear the symphony’s stellar woodwind and brass sections in this piece and solid piano playing by Peter Henderson.

The most exhausting and full of more obvious dance “tricks” were found in the visually arresting, “As few as 3000,” with choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo and music by Martinu. There are some moving moments between two dancers undulating their torsos and heads to meet foreheads in this work, bringing us full circle to the curvatures we heard and experienced from the music and choreography in the first half of the program.

In general, it is rather challenging to program a concert featuring contemporary dance and a relatively traditional symphony orchestra in a large hall because typically the audiences of each do not crossover significantly. The cost of the concert tickets will most likely limit the usual contemporary dance audiences from being able to attend this performance, but I think that the event evolved into a fruitful collaboration that may excite current classical music patrons into exploring the realm of contemporary dance a little more.

There is one final performance Sunday, February 19 at 3 pm.

Baby Got Bach: February 18 performance

Baby Got Bach is back for another entertaining and free performance in St. Louis on February 18, 2012 at 10:30 am, Centene Plaza, 7700 Forsyth Road. Baby Got Bach is an engaging classical music interactive event for 3 to 6 year olds founded by internationally known pianist Orli Shaham. During the nearly two hour program, kids can explore real instruments, meet musicians from the St. Louis Symphony, sing familiar songs, play rhythm sticks and castanets, and hear a chamber music concert featuring works by Saint-Saens, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schubert, Bartok, and more.


The community performance is free of charge thanks to the generosity of The Centene Charitable Foundation. Currently, the organization is accepting reservations from people who signed up for their mailing list last Fall. Online reservations will be open to the general public starting on February 6, 2012. All the spots for the November 2011 performance were filled within two days last Fall, so be sure to make advance reservations on the Baby Got Bach web site. There is a limit of approximately 80 children for the event and there will be a wait list available. Walk-ins without reservations may be admitted, space permitting.


* Parking is available for $2 per hour at the Centene Plaza garage. Street parking is free on Saturdays.
* The St. Louis Symphony, The Centene Charitable Foundation, and many individuals donate their time and funds to the nonprofit, Baby Got Bach. If you are able, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Baby Got Bach.
* The program may be a bit long for some 3 and 4 year olds, but the format is casual, so feel free to take your child out to the lobby for a break or snack if she/he needs it.
* There will be short intermission before the chamber music concert portion of the event.
* Make a morning/day of your outing and eat at the nearby, delicious, and family friendly restaurant, Half and Half. Be sure to try the veggie hash and fresh donuts! Half and Half is open 8 am to 2 pm on Saturdays.
* Questions? Contact Baby Got Bach through their web site.

About Orli Shaham, Artistic Director, Host, and Pianist

Orli Shaham got an early start in her music career. She began playing piano at age four, and got her first music scholarship when she was five. Just a couple years later, she began her studies at The Juilliard School with Herbert Stessin. That was the beginning of a flood of prestigious performances and awards, launching her international career. Ms. Shaham has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras and has been lauded for her recitals at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and Lincoln Center, as well as many other renowned concert halls around the globe. Ms. Shaham has preschool twins Nathan and Alex and college-age stepsons Peter and Jonathan. She lives in St. Louis and New York with her husband, St. Louis Symphony music director David Robertson.

Photo: Ali Winberry

St. Louis Symphony Performances

The St. Louis Symphony is right in your backyard but is also world renowned. Haven’t seen them before or having difficulty picking a concert from their wonderfully full performance schedule? Here are some suggestions for both unique outings with the kids and stellar date nights. In particular, the date night concerts feature some not-to-be-missed incredible artists and repertoire. Unless otherwise noted, the following descriptions (and adjectives) of the performances are taken directly from the St. Louis Symphony web site.

Single tickets for most 2011-2012 concerts are available on Friday, August 12.

Information about the 2011-12 Season
Box Office and Ticket Information
Plan Your Visit
Powell Hall

Photo: St. Louis Symphony, Scott Ferguson


Warner Brothers presents “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony”
Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 7 pm
Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 2 pm
George Daugherty, conductor and creator
Bugs Bunny is back with the STL Symphony providing live accompaniment to your favorite classic Looney Tunes on the big screen. This exhilarating new version is perfect for the entire family.


The Composer is Dead
by Nathaniel Stookey with text by Lemony Snicket
Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 3 pm
Ward Stare, conductor
Bobby Norfolk, narrator
There’s dreadful news from within Powell Hall–the composer is dead! Halloween weekend experience Lemony Snicket’s murder mystery whodunit, where the instruments are the suspects and no one will go unnoticed.


Mozart’s The Magic Flute (abridged)
In partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 3 pm
Ward Stare, conductor
Endlessly inventive, charmingly fantastical and utterly unique, Mozart’s final opera is a lighthearted tale of love and the art of birdcatching. The STL Symphony presents a special condensed version for kids featuring Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Young Artists.

Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies
Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 7 pm
Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 2 pm
Ward Stare, conductor
Fun for the whole family! Enjoy a concert of symphonic arrangements from The Walt Disney Studio vault. Disney in Concert features music, film clips, and artist renderings showcasing a variety of musical scores from popular Disney movies including Mary Poppins, The Lion King, The Huntchback of Notre Dame, and more.


An American in Paris
Friday, September 30, 2011 at 8 pm
David Robertson, conductor
Ward Stare, conductor
Edgar Meyer, double bass
IVES Central Park in the Dark (Culture Mama note: This isn’t performed very often. Brilliant unraveling kind of music.)
COPLAND Suite from The City (with film accompaniment)
MEYER Double Bass Concerto No. 3 (World Premiere)
GERSHWIN An American in Paris

David Robertson leads an All-American program full of favorites complete with Gershwin’s depiction of an American’s escapades through the “City of Lights” and Copland’s first film score, The City, presented live with film. Edgar Meyer, reigning virtuoso of the double bass, makes his STL Symphony debut performing the world premiere of his astounding third double bass concerto.

Enigma Variations
Friday, October 21, 2011 at 10:30 am (Coffee Concert)
Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 8 pm
Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 3 pm
Vasily Petrenko, conductor
Olga Kern, piano (Culture Mama note: I worked with this wonderful pianist in DC at her Kennedy Center debut and have been continuously amazed at her strength, smarts, and gorgeous playing.)
RACHMANINOFF The Isle of the Dead
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 1
ELGAR Enigma Variations
Elgar’s mysterious Enigma Variations are full of familiar and gorgeous melodies including the popular “Nimrod.” Paired with pianist Olga Kern performing Chopin’s dazzling Piano Concert No. 1, you’ll be humming the marvelous tunes of this program for days.

Christine Brewer sings Strauss
Friday, January 13, 2012 at 8 pm
Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8 pm

David Robertson, conductor
Christine Brewer, soprano
DVORAK Symphony No. 7
CRUMB A Haunted Landscape

R. STRAUSS Four Last Songs (Culture Mama note: one of my favorite works)
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch declares that “there is no one today who sings Richard Strauss’ soprano roles better than Christine Brewer – period.”  Hear the St. Louis phenomenon performing Strauss’ stirring Four Last Songs, his final complete work, and David Robertson conducting Dvorak’s splendid Seventh Symphony.


Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (Culture Mama note: Yes! Dance with live music.)
Friday, February 17, 2012 at 10:30 am (Coffee Concert)
Friday, February 17, 2012 at 8 pm
Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 8 pm
Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 3 pm
David Robertson, conductor
Hubbard Street Dance Company
St. Louis Symphony welcomes back the famed Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as one of the highlights of this exciting season exploring the synergy between music and dance. The internationally recognized troupe, returns to St. Louis after performing to sold-out audiences in 2009.

Bach Mass in B minor
Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 8 pm
Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 3 pm
David Robertson, conductor
Susanna Phillips, soprano
Kate Lindsey, mezzo-soprano
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Stephen Powell, baritone
St. Louis Symphony Chorus
Amy Kaiser, director
Composed in the final year of Bach’s life, the monumental Mass in B minor inspires audiences regardless of background as a spiritual masterpiece. David Robertson leads the combined forces of the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus for this powerfully transcendent work.