St. Louis Symphony to Resume Live Concerts at Powell Hall Next Week

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Due to a reduced capacity, the crowds will be smaller when the Powell reopens, but the performances will be no less grand. - COURTESY OF THE SLSO
Due to a reduced capacity, the crowds will be smaller when the Powell reopens, but the performances will be no less grand.

After more than seven months of coronavirus-related inactivity at Powell Hall, representatives from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra say that the show must finally go on.

The storied theater, home to the SLSO, will begin playing host to live music again on October 15, according to a press release. The first show back, which runs daily through October 18, will feature a performance of New York composer (and Leonard Bernstein Award recipient) Jessie Montgomery's Starburst — the same 2012 work that had originally been slated as the symphony's season opener before the COVID-19 pandemic upended everything — followed by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.”

The return to Powell Hall, steered by music director Stéphane Denève, comes after last month's SLSO On the Go series, which brought musicians to parks, private homes, healthcare facilities and senior communities for small, socially distanced outdoor performances.

“Last month, we resumed live, in-person performances throughout the St. Louis area. These chamber and solo offerings were heartfelt gifts from the extraordinary musicians of our SLSO, and were enjoyed by small audiences," the symphony's president and CEO, Marie-Hélène Bernard, writes in the release. "Stéphane and I are thrilled to now be able to enliven our gorgeous Powell Hall with music."

Naturally, these performances will come with new safety guidelines in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Capacity will be capped at just 100 people, a small percentage of the venue's 2,683 seats. The SLSO worked with Drs. Stephen Liang and Abigail Carlson of the Washington University School of Medicine to sort out what additional measures would need to be in place, including a socially distanced seating arrangement and requirements that staff, audience members and stringed-instrument musicians wear masks at all times.

Additionally, there will be no concession services, and outside food or drink is not allowed. There will also be increased sanitization procedures before, during and after each performance, and sanitization stations will be set up throughout the venue. (For more on Powell Hall's coronavirus safety measures, visit the symphony's official website.)

The Starburst performance will run Thursday, October 15 through Sunday, October 18. The following week will see the symphony playing a program that includes Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen, Takashi Yoshimatsu’s And Birds Are Still and Antonín Dvořák’s Serenade for Winds. That show will run Thursday, October 22 through Saturday, October 24. Tickets for each show run from $25 to $45 and can be purchased on the SLSO's website.

"As we both plan and revise in real time based on current information, we are deeply grateful for the unwavering support and patience of our community—those here in St. Louis and our family of artists and audiences around the world," Bernard says. "The creativity and nimbleness of our entire SLSO team, musicians and staff, is remarkable and the shared sacrifice by all to ensure stability throughout this challenging time is deeply appreciated. I want to thank our board for their leadership and support, and our team of health and safety specialists for their expertise as we navigate our return to Powell Hall.”

This year's full, current slate of SLSO performances at Powell Hall is listed below:

Starburst / Symphony No. 3, “Eroica"
-7:30 p.m Thursday, October 15
-11 a.m. Friday, October 16
-7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 17
-3 p.m. Sunday, October 18

Metamorphosen / And Birds Are Still / Serenade for Winds
-7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 22
-11 a.m. Friday, October 23
-7:30 p.m. Friday, October 23
-7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 24

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About The Author

Daniel Hill

Daniel Hill is editor at large for the Riverfront Times and he demands to be taken seriously, despite all evidence to the contrary. Follow him on Twitter at @rftmusic.
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