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Music and the way it moves people the theme of the 2011-2012 Symphony season

"The Rite of Spring" and "Firebird" by Igor Stravinsky, a performance with theHubbard Street Dance Company,  Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor, and a gala concert with violinist Itzahk Perlman are among the highlights of the St. Louis Symphony's 2011-2012 season.

Music director David Robertson says he drew his inspiration for the orchestras' 132nd season from the 100th anniversary of theBallets Russes in Paris, where "The Rite of Spring" and "Firebird" were developed.

"That sense of movement, specifically at times in dance, and in other times jut the way that musicians like to move sound and sound likes to move bodies that kind of connects everything up in the season," he says.

The orchestra will play two world premieres in September -one by Steven Mackey which will feature Robertson's wife, the pianist Orli Shaham - and the U.S premiere of Phillipe Manoury's "Synapse" in October. Robertson will also conduct a concert featuring movie music by composer John Williams. A similar show in 2009 included appearances by Darth Vader and other "Star Wars" characters.

Other shows in the lighter "Live at Powell Hall" include a screening of Disney movies with live accompaniment, and music from the video game franchise Final Fantasy.

Shows like that, says Symphony presidentFred Bronstein, have helped broaden the orchestra's audience. More than 50 percent of the people who go to "Live at Powell Hall" performances are attending their first Symphony concert.

Other highlights of the season include:

  • Flamenco guitarist Juan Carmona, whose program includes Maurice Ravel's "Bolero"
  • Beethoven's 5th Symphony and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4
  • Antonio Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons"
  • A March appearance at Carnegie Hall, including a full performance of Stravinsky's "The Firebird"
  • "Rach Fest," a two-weekend-long performance of Sergei Rachmoninoff's piano concertos, performed by Stephen Hough
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.