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Meet Stephane Deneve, the new music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

Stephane Deneve wears his own St. Louis Cardinal jersey at his first concert as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on Thursday at the annual free concert in Forest Park.

Sept. 12, 2019 Photo by Laurie Skrivan,

There's something new at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra: "SLSO Crafted." Two special concerts, one on November 15 and the other on May 8, will each be an hour long and offer a casual concert-going experience.

Music director Stéphane Denève will conduct and host both concerts. They're to be "immersive experiences," with a casual come-as-you-are atmosphere, open seating, no intermission, and food and drink. Each will combine a contemporary work with a mainstay of the orchestral repertoire. The cost is $30 each.

They are, says the press release, "(i)nspired by Denève’s desire to welcome the entire St. Louis community to join the SLSO family," offered at different times than the usual Friday evening performance. Denève, a charming and approachable interpreter who enjoys discussing music, will share his insights about the works on the program.

The first, next month, will be a happy hour concert; the doors will open at 5 p.m., with the music beginning at 6:30. On the program: the world premiere of "Venit Illuminatio," by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, paired with Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. It features craft beer tastings with 4 Hands Brewery and small bites by Yolklore, Mango and other restaurants.

Tickets, now on sale, are $30, and include food and drink tastings. Tickets may be purchased at, or call the box office at 314-534-1700.

Sarah Bryan Miller is the classical music critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; she has also written on a variety of other topics.