Review: Gemma New, first woman to lead St. Louis Symphony’s season-opener at Powell Hall

Posted on: September 25, 2018

“The opening night of a new season by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra should be a special occasion, filled with great music-making and the occasional surprise. Saturday night at Powell Symphony Hall was all that,” writes Sarah Bryan Miller in Sunday’s (9/23) St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Resident conductor Gemma New … led the SLSO in a nicely varied program of three classics and a contemporary piece that was accessible without being shallow…. New is authoritative on the podium, with easy confidence, and great rapport with the orchestra. The great central hymn [in Sibelius’s Finlandia] flowed, for an impressive beginning…. New led the well-blended strings in ‘Musica celestis,’ by Aaron Jay Kernis…. It gave some thoughtful solo moments to the principal players of the section, particularly principal viola Beth Gutterman Chu…. Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations’ … received a great reading from New and the orchestra. She differentiated between the themes, but tied them all together in one tremendous whole. New was the first woman to conduct an opening night at Powell Hall; she’s a rising star … and we’re fortunate to have her in St. Louis.” Stéphane Denève is the orchestra’s music director designate; his tenure begins in 2019.

Posted September 25, 2018