Stéphane Denève, principal guest conductor in Philadelphia, takes St. Louis

Photos – local – Stéphane Denève
Stephane Deneve conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra 11/23-25 Credit: Drew Farrell

Stéphane Denève is the next music director of the St. Louis Symphony, the orchestra announced Wednesday. Denève has been a frequent guest conductor with the orchestra — and, since 2014, principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. This past season, he led Philadelphia’s Rachmaninoff festival concerts in Verizon Hall.

In St. Louis, Denève succeeds David Robertson, who steps down at the end of the 2017-18 season.

Denève recently extended his guest spot in Philadelphia through the 2019-20 season, which means Philadelphia and St. Louis will overlap by a year. His initial three-year term in St. Louis begins with the 2019-20 season after becoming music director-designate in 2018-19.

He has told the Philadelphia Orchestra that he will honor the rest of his contract term, says Jeremy Rothman, the orchestra’s vice president for artistic planning. “And we hope beyond,” said Rothman, adding that the orchestra would like him to become part of the regular guest-conducting rotation.

“He’s expressed personally to us his love for the orchestra and his full commitment,” said Rothman.

Denève, trained at the Paris Conservatory, has led the orchestra on tours, at concerts in summer venues, family concerts, and festivals, and in collaborations with other groups, like Philadanco. Rothman said the orchestra had not yet determined whether it will seek to name another principal guest conductor.