Maryville, SLSO Has Symphony From A to Z


ST. LOUIS — A talk by internationally renowned opera soprano Christine Brewer and an encore appearance by Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra music director David Robertson will highlight the second season of Symphony A to Z, a series of adult education classes co-sponsored by the SLSO and Maryville University and hosted by Maryville in its Auditorium.

Classes will be held from 7 – 8:30 p.m., beginning October 15. Each session will be hosted by Peter Henderson, D.M., assistant professor of music at Maryville University, who has performed with the Saint Louis Symphony on several occasions. Marc Thayer, the Symphony’s vice president for education and community partnerships, created the Symphony A to Z concept. He said last year’s inaugural season was a rousing success, adding that enrollment for the 2007-08 classes already has passed last year’s total.

“It was great at Maryville last year,” Thayer said. “The Auditorium is cozy and comfortable and a great venue for these classes.” Maryville University President Mark Lombardi, Ph.D. added, “Maryville is proud to collaborate with another St. Louis institution, the Saint Louis Symphony, in presenting these informative and enjoyable classes. I have heard tremendous things about the Symphony and its musicians and I look forward to meeting many of them through the Symphony A to Z program.”

Highlighting the 2007-08 Symphony A to Z series will be a February 11, 2008, appearance by David Robertson, who will present “The Art of Conducting.” Robertson’s presentation will include plenty of audience participation. “He will discuss what the conductor is doing on the podium and everyone in the audience will be given a baton so they can conduct along with him,” Thayer remarked.

Concluding the series on April 14, 2008, will be “The World of Opera and Education,” featuring a talk by soprano Christine Brewer, a native of Lebanon, Ill., who has risen to international stardom; and Allison Felter, director of education and outreach programs for Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Thayer said Brewer is a friend of his and, together, they have spoken as part of programs at elementary schools in the past. “When she’s in town, and not busy, she’s always been very happy to do this,” Thayer said.

Similar to last year’s series, the 2007-08 A to Z series will begin with an introductory meeting on Monday, Oct. 1. The evening will feature a performance by Henderson’s chamber music ensemble, the Ilex Trio, which includes himself on piano; his wife, Symphony violinist Kristin Ahlstrom; and Symphony cellist Anne Fagerburg. A reception will follow the event, which is separate from the class sessions. Those interested in the Series will be able to enroll that evening.

Other dates in the 2007-08 Symphony A to Z Series are:
• October 15 — A History of Public Concerts with Peggy Neilson, youth orchestra manager; and Meet The Principal Trombonist with Tim Myers, Symphony trombonist

• November 12 — How To Listen To Music, featuring Dr. Ed Hafer, University of Southern Mississippi; and Robin Kearton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

• January 14, 2008 — The Conductor as Educator and Advocate with Scott Parkman, assistant conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra; and Meet the SLSO Librarian, featuring John Tafoya, Saint Louis Symphony head librarian.

• March 10, 2008 — Current Trends in Music Therapy featuring Cynthia Briggs, Psy.D., assistant professor of music therapy at Maryville University and program director

Tuition for the entire series is $50 or $10 per class. For more information, click on the “Symphony A to Z” web page at:

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.

Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.