Editorial: St. Louis Symphony is thriving, reflecting a nimble approach

Posted on: December 12, 2016

“The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s future-leaning leaders are deploying an ambitious strategy to generate new audiences and funding sources,” write the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday (12/11). “They’ve incorporated Nelly and Prince into performances—one literally and the other in tribute. They’ve brought immigrants from Syria, Somalia and Congo to a concert at Powell Symphony Hall. Musicians have performed for some 20,000 people on Art Hill and in cancer centers, children’s hospitals, schools, coffee shops and military service centers. Most community performances are free and provide an easy way to experience a hint of what it would be like to hear a full symphony concert. The community has responded…. The ‘Live at Powell Hall’ pops concerts [are] drawing their largest audiences since the series began in 2010. More than half of those concert-goers were new to the orchestra.… Marie-Hélène Bernard, symphony president and CEO, said the organization’s endowment of more than $200 million is among the healthiest in the country and is a helpful tool in recruiting musicians…. It has taken time for the symphony to shed its previous stodgy and elitist image. The result is a far more nimble—and financially healthy—institution.”

Posted December 12, 2016