10 Years: Chamber Music Society Of St. Louis

More than two decades ago, Grammy Award-winning conductor Leonard Slatkin wrapped up his 17-year tenure as music director for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. His career has taken him to numerous points across the globe since then, including Michigan for his latest post with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Soon, however, he plans to move back to the Gateway City—and the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis is gearing up to celebrate his return.

Leonard Slatkin | Photo: Evgeniy Ivanov

“We want to honor the cultural attention Slatkin has brought to St. Louis and recognize his commitment to music education,” says Marc Gordon, executive and artistic director of the society, which presents performances and musical instruction programs. “He has done concerts with us in the past and has helped us in many ways, including serving as a board member almost since our beginning in 2008. His focus, drive and passion for education definitely have rubbed off on us.”

To welcome the maestro back and celebrate its own successful first decade, the society is throwing an anniversary gala, Notes from Hollywood: The Sequel, May 21 at The Sheldon Concert Hall. Sponsored by the Centene Charitable Foundation, it will feature a red-carpet arrival for VIP guests, cocktail reception, dinner, and concert with music by well-known film composers like John Williams and Aaron Copland. The evening’s guest of honor will play the piano and regale the audience with tales of his family’s connections with those major talents, Gordon says. The gala also will honor Slatkin’s late parents, violinist/conductor Felix Slatkin and cellist Eleanor Aller. And his son, Daniel, is writing the score for a special video about the musical family. Noémi Neidorff is honorary chair of the event, and Thomas and Carol Voss are co-chairs.

Gordon says there are different ticket price levels to appeal to a variety of guests. “You can come just for the concert, or you can choose VIP packages that include valet parking, cocktails before the show and more,” he says.

Aside from its fundraising events, the society also receives generous support from a group of surgeons at the Orthopedic Center of St. Louis in Chesterfield. “The doctors really embrace the gala and our other events,” Gordon says. “They even take care of our musicians when they have injuries and help them return to the stage quickly.”

Gordon says the society has enjoyed steady growth in its first decade and is looking forward to bringing even more St. Louisans into its fold. “Our regular concerts are done in a cabaret style at The Sheldon, so the atmosphere is intimate and relaxed,” he says. “We are very careful about our programming. We don’t just think about what our staff or musicians would like to hear; we construct our schedule around what audiences will find inspiring.” This year’s concert season includes Love Fest, Revived, a musical salute to romance, and The 3 Bs— Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. “Our goal is to make music enjoyable for everyone,” Gordon says. “When guests come to a Chamber Society event, we want them to walk out wishing the evening wasn’t over.”

Pictured above: The society’s gala receives generous support from Orthopedic Center of St. Louis physicians.
Photo courtesy of CMSSL

The Chamber Music Society of St. Louis nurtures emerging artists and presents performances and music education programs for students and adults. For more information about the Society’s May 21 Gala at the Sheldon Concert Hall, call 314.941.6309 or visit

Pictured on the cover: Miran Halen, Leonard Slatkin, Carol and Thomas Voss
Cover design by Julie Streiler | Cover photo by Sarah Carmody

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