The St. Louis classical music scene is about to launch its annual wealth of concerts and recitals. The performers include groups of every size from tiny chamber music ensembles to the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, with opera, guitar recitals and choral concerts making a rich mix of fine music for the region.
American Chamber Chorale
This is the 19th season for the American Chamber Chorale, with a theme of “At the Movies.” The opening night concert, “Ordinary Heroes,” includes such anthems of the silver screen as “Moon River,” “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “Gabriel’s Oboe.” The Chorale is accompanied by the Salem Chamber Orchestra, conducted by artistic director Stephen Morton.
When 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 • Where Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 South Lindbergh Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-638-0793; acchorale.com
Bach Society of St. Louis
Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, left incomplete by its composer and finished in differing versions by others, remains a great and moving work. For the opening concert of its 2019-20 season, the Bach Society of St. Louis will pair it with J.S. Bach’s joyful setting of the song of Mary, the Magnificat in D Major. The performance features a quartet of guest soloists (soprano Emily Birsan, mezzo-soprano Alice Anne Light, tenor Gene Stenger and bass David Rugger) with the Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra; artistic director A. Dennis Sparger conducts.
When 3 p.m. Oct. 27 • Where First Presbyterian Church, 100 East Adams Avenue, Kirkwood • How much $25-$45, $10 student rush • More info 314-652-2224; bachsociety.org
Cathedral Concerts of St. Louis is the region’s biggest presenter of touring ensembles. On Nov. 16, it will present one of Britain’s finest choirs, Tenebrae. Known for its musical precision and outstanding vocalism, this concert is a must-hear for fans of choral music.
When 8 p.m. Nov. 16 • Where Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Boulevard • How much $19-$42 • More info 314-533-7662; cathedralconcerts.org
Chamber Music Society of St. Louis
An ensemble of some of St. Louis’ finest musicians — including soprano Miran Halen, violins Andrea Jarrett and Kyle Lombard, viola Chris Tantillo, cello James Czyzewski, bass flute Jennifer Nitchman, piano Kelly Karamanov and harp Megan Stout — will perform music by American composers including Barber, Copland, Gershwin and Bolcom, along with the “American” string quartet by Dvorak. Part of the fun is hearing it in the informal setting of the Sheldon Ballroom, seated at tables, with drinks and snacks at hand.
When 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14-15 • Where Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Boulevard • How much $38 • More info 314-941-6309; chambermusicstl.org
Chamber Project St. Louis
The 12th season of Chamber Project St. Louis opens with “Window,” a program inspired by St. Louis-specific architecture and a melody from Uzbekistan. The first work is Kristin Kuster’s “Ando: light against shade,” a sonic exploration of the work of architect Tadao Ando, who designed the Pulitzer Arts Foundation building. Aram Khachaturian’s Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano makes imaginative use of rhythms and melodies of his homeland, while Haydn’s Trio No. 2, Op. 100 for Flute, Violin and Cello brings listeners to a more familiar world. The program concludes with the world premiere of a new work by St. Louis composer and Webster University professor David Werfelmann.
When 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 • Where 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Avenue • How much $18 in advance, $25 at the door, $5 for students • More info 314-401-0450; chamberprojectstl.org
The Masterworks Chorale launches its 46th season with a program of a cappella music, including the Mass in G minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The Chorale is a bistate organization; the concert will be performed at one venue in West County and one in O’Fallon, Ill. Artistic director Stephen Mager conducts.
When and where 3 p.m. Oct. 12, St. Louis Abbey Church, 530 South Mason Road; 3 p.m. Oct. 13, St. Clare’s Roman Catholic Church, 1411 Cross Street, O’Fallon, Ill. • How much $20, $10 for students • More info 618-304-9094; singmasterworks.org
St. Louis Chamber Chorus
The theme of the 64th season of the St. Louis Chamber Chorus is “Altered States,” a follow-up to last year’s “States of Being.” Concert I is titled “Swimming Over London”; it’s to be held at the Masonic Prince Hall Grand Lodge, in a space that once held a swimming pool. The repertoire ranges from part songs by Frederick Delius and Samuel Barber to lieder by Brahms and Silcher. A new work from Melissa Dunphy, “Waves of Gallipoli,” grieves the dead of World War I; the concert’s title is taken from a 2010 surreal song by British composer Bob Chilcott.
When 3 p.m. Oct. 6 • Where Masonic Prince Hall Grand Lodge, 4525 Olive Street • How much $30 • More info 636-458-4343; chamberchorus.org
St. Louis Classical Guitar
To kick off the season, which focuses on female artists, St. Louis Classical Guitar will present the first woman in the world to be awarded a doctorate in guitar performance. Iranian-born Lily Afshar is celebrated for more than that, of course. Her program features tuneful Persian and Azerbaijani ballads.
When 8 p.m. Oct. 5 • Where Ethical Society, 9001 Clayton Road • How much $28 • More info 314-567-5566; guitarstlouis.net
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
It’s official: Stéphane Denève takes the podium as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. His first concert in that position is to be the annual Forest Park concert at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 on Art Hill. Denève and the SLSO will be joined by the In Unison Chorus, directed by Kevin McBeth, in a program that’s heavy on American music, including music with serious local ties, a sprinkling of music from Denève’s native France and Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture. The evening will end with John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” That weekend, the fare will be “Music of John Williams,” again led by Denève.
The regular subscription season opens Sept. 21 at Powell Symphony Hall with “Bienvenue Stéphane.” On the program are the world premiere of a work commissioned by the SLSO in Denève’s honor, Debussy’s “La Mer,” the Ravel Piano Concerto in G, with soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” among others.
The next weekend, the new music director leads the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and Orchestra in Gustav Mahler’s great Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” with soprano Joélle Harvey and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor as soloists.
There are other conductors coming this season, of course, including Edo de Waart leading Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on Oct. 4 and 5, with virtuoso pianist Joyce Yang making her SLSO debut; on Oct. 12 and 13, conductor laureate Leonard Slatkin continues the celebration of his 50-years-and-counting appearances with the orchestra in performances of “Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life)” by Richard Strauss and principal oboe Jelena Dirks as soloist in Mozart’s Oboe Concerto, K. 314.
Of course, there are also movie nights, family concerts and pops tributes throughout the season, as well as hundreds of free community events. Check the SLSO’s website for more information. Don’t forget that the orchestra offers a shuttle from West County for Friday morning coffee concerts. Call 314-534-1700 or visit slso.org/shuttle to learn more.
When Season 140 opens Sept. 21 • Where Powell Symphony Hall, 718 North Grand Boulevard • How much $15-$90 • More info 314-534-1700; slso.org
Town & Country Symphony Orchestra
The Town & Country Symphony Orchestra opens its 2019-20 season Sept. 8 with a concert titled “Rachmaninoff, Brahms, and Fauré.” Chiann-Yi Yawitz is the soloist in the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3. The program also includes the Brahms “Tragic” Overture and Fauré’s suite “Pelléas et Mélisande.” Music director David Lowell Peek conducts.
When 2:30 p.m. Sept. 8 • Where Ridgway Auditorium, The Principia, 13201 Clayton Road • How much Free • More info 314-330-3457; tcsomo.org
Winter Opera St. Louis will launch its lucky 13th season Nov. 8 with Gilbert & Sullivan’s paradoxical, tuneful and very funny Savoy Opera “The Pirates of Penzance.” You never knew just how problematic a Feb. 29 birthday could be; fortunately, true love will triumph over all.
When 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 3 p.m. Nov. 10 • Where Skip Viragh Center for the Arts, 425 South Lindbergh Boulevard • How much $35-$55 ($10 for students Nov. 8) • More info 314-865-0038; winteroperastl.org