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Stéphane Denève is proud to bring St. Louis talent to European audiences

Music Director Stéphane Denève conducts Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances
Eric Dundon
/
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Music Director Stéphane Denève conducts Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances."

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is on its first international tour since 2017 — and its first under Stéphane Denève’s direction.

"I love the idea that we can show that music unites the world," the music director told St. Louis on the Air.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra plays before a sold-out crowd at the Henry le Boeuf Hall in Brussels.
Eric Dundon
/
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra plays before a sold-out crowd at the Henry le Boeuf Hall in Brussels.

The tour started last week in Austria, moved to Belgium, then proceeded to the Netherlands. It concludes tonight in Madrid, Spain, at the country’s largest classical music venue, Auditorio Nacional de Música.

Denève said he enjoys the ambassadorial aspect of representing the Gateway City abroad.

“It's a joy because, let's face it, sometimes the news can sometimes be not the most flattering aspects, and I am so happy that we can change this narrative,” he said. “We go to embassies, we meet people, we have dinners after, and I'm always happy to explain the quality of life I have in St. Louis and the other great institutions there. It's a way to influence people to know better all that St. Louis has to offer and how much it is a music center in the U.S.”

"It's really special to be able to show who we are and to put St. Louis on the map,” he added.

Denève joined Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air to discuss highlights from the SLSO’s European tour, what it’s like to perform in different venues (“every hall is like a different instrument”) and what it was like to perform in Belgium, where Denève served previously as music director of the Brussels Philharmonic.

“I was so proud to show to the audience that I know very well there, and many friends in the room, why I made my musical home in St. Louis,” he said.

Find this St. Louis on the Air interview on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or by clicking the play button below.

SLSO international tour puts ‘St. Louis on the map’

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.