David Robertson

Jack frost may be nipping at our noses this week in St. Louis, but the members of our St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director David Robertson won't be feeling it. That's because, in an example of very serendipitous timing, they're off on a tour of sunny California--Mr. Robertson's last tour as Music Director, I'm sorry to say.

Through Friday, January 19th, violin soloist Augustin Hadelich, and the orchestra will be serenading residents of the west coast with the program of Shostakovich, Britten, and Thomas Adès that got such well-deserved applause here last weekend. Or at least they will once they're all in California.

Today (Monday the 15th) they're playing the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert (78 degrees and sunny), but because of flight delays about third of the orchestra was delayed in Denver so long that they never made it to the concert. So instead of the originally-scheduled Britten Violin Concerto, Augustin Hadelich is playing the Mendelssohn concerto as part of a new program of works better suited to the reduced forces.

Tuesday is another big travel day, with a three-hour bus trip to Santa Barbara (64 and sunny) where the full orchestra plays the original program at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. Wednesday it's on to the Mondavi Center at UC-Davis (61, partly sunny), and finally the Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University on Friday where, for a change, it will be 55 with a chance of rain.

At least that will give them a chance to decompress a bit before returning home, where we're expected to have highs in the 50s by the weekend.

They'll be coming back just in time for the SLSO to celebrate 50 years at Powell Hall with a day-long open house, culminating in a showing of the classic musical The Sound of Music. The film was the last one to be shown in the old St. Louis theatre in 1966 before it was closed down for the renovations that would transform it into elegant Powell Hall.

As Sarah Bryan Miller of the Post-Dispatch reminds us in her brief history of Powell Hall, the transformation was one devoutly wished, since at the time the SLSO was effectively without a home and was playing in the rather unsuitable Khorassan Room of the Chase Hotel after their long-time home the Kiel Opera House (now the Peabody Opera House) was no longer available. The opening of the 2600-seat Powell, with its European-style gilt and red velvet, was welcomed by audiences, musicians, and critics alike.

It's not just the SLSO that's celebrating the hall's anniversary, by the way. On Tuesday, January 16th, the St. Louis Public Library opens an exhibit at the central library downtown of historical posters, conductor's sheet music, photographs and other memorabilia from Powel Hall's half century. It'll be on view daily through March 17th.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra resumes its regular season on Friday and Saturday, January 26 and 27, as violinist Julian Rachlin joins Mr. Robertson for a program of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, John Adams's Harmonielehre, and the American premiere of Elegie: Remembrance for Orchestra, written in 2014 by German composer/conductor Peter Ruzicka.

Related Articles