SLSO to perform world premiere of Bassoon Concerto by award-winning composer Christopher Rouse with principal bassoon Andrew Cuneo

Led by guest conductor Cristian Măcelaru, Nov. 16th-17th program also includes an all-American line-up of Barber’s Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengence, and Copland’s Symphony No. 3

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Bassoon Concerto at its Nov. 16th-17th concerts with SLSO principal bassoon Andrew Cuneo as the soloist. The SLSO co-commissioned Rouse, a Pulitzer and Grammy Award-winning composer, to write the concerto with the New Jersey Symphony and the Sydney (Australia) Symphony.

The SLSO has a long-standing relationship with Rouse. The orchestra premiered his three-movement Phantasmata in 1986 and his Symphony No. 3 in 2011. The New York Times described Rouse’s compositions as “…among the most intriguing orchestral music now being written.”

Rouse pared down the scoring for his Bassoon Concerto to create a sense of harmony between the soloist and the orchestra. The composition also pairs the two bassoons in the orchestra with the soloist to create a “mega bassoon” effect, which allows for the exploration of new musical colors.

The world premiere of Rouse’s Bassoon Concerto is the first of two such premieres by the SLSO in the 2018/2019 season, titled “From Our Family to Yours.” The SLSO and SLSO Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin will perform the world premiere of Jeff Beal’s New Song Cycle on May 3-4, 2019. The SLSO commissioned the piece in honor of Slatkin’s 50th anniversary of his debut with the orchestra. Rouse’s Bassoon Concerto and Beal’s New Song Cycle are two of 12 works added to the SLSO repertoire during its 139th season, including the United States premiere of Lotta Wennäkoski’s Flounce (Sept. 28-29) and ten additional works played by the SLSO for the first time.

In addition to Rouse, the Nov. 16-17 concert program features pieces by two other American composers.

Barber’s Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance opens the program, a lush and mystifying piece condensed from the musical settings of Barber’s ballet, Medea. The ballet depicts mythological characters Medea and Jason and the love, betrayal, and jealousy that develops between them.

Closing the program is Copland’s Symphony No. 3. The final of his symphonies, the work blends Copland’s distinct “Americana” style with the orchestra, typically thought of as a European medium at the time of its debut in 1946. The symphony strikes an optimistic tone and ends by quoting another one of Copland’s most recognizable compositions, Fanfare for the Common Man.


Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, 10:30 am
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, 8:00 pm
Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Cristian Măcelaru, conductor
Andrew Cuneo, bassoon

BARBER Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance
CHRISTOPHER ROUSE Bassoon Concerto (world premiere)
COPLAND Symphony No. 3

Audiences can attend the free Pre-Concert Conversation at 9:30 am Friday and 7:00 pm Saturday in the auditorium. This weekend, the conversations are hosted by pianist Peter Henderson.

Tune in to St. Louis Public Radio on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8:00 pm for the live broadcast of the performance. Listen on air (90.7 FM KWMU) or online.

The 18/19 SLSO Classical Season is presented by World Wide Technology and the Steward Family Foundation and runs through May 12, 2019.

Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at or by calling the Box Office at 314-534-1700.