Just in: UK-French conductor lands her first US post

Just in: UK-French conductor lands her first US post


norman lebrecht

December 09, 2020

Press release:

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announced that the Franco-British conductor Stephanie Childress has been named the SLSO’s Assistant Conductor, an appointment made by Music Director Stéphane Denève following an international search.

Stéphane Denève said, “In my entire life, I have never been so excited by the discovery of a new talent! Stephanie Childress is truly special and has a tremendously bright future. She impressed all of us deeply during her audition with the orchestra. We were all absolutely amazed by her refined musicality and her inspiring energy on the podium. She displayed a rare natural leadership through her powerful imagination and charmed everyone with her highly communicative passion for music. I know Stephanie will be a great asset to our entire organization.”

Stephanie Childress said, “I am delighted to join the SLSO family. I’m so impressed with the orchestra’s warm sound, welcoming energy, and beautiful home. The SLSO has a sterling reputation in the industry and I’m eager to work alongside these brilliant musicians and Stéphane Denève. I’m equally excited to become the Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and make music with these tremendous young musicians.”

Marie-Hélène Bernard, President and CEO of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, said, “Stephanie is a remarkable musician—a brilliant conductor and violinist—and she will be an ideal and central partner for the entire SLSO family. We are excited to welcome Stephanie to St. Louis and are eager to watch as she takes the podium with all of our ensembles. Our incredibly talented Youth Orchestra musicians will benefit greatly from her experiences, musicianship, and leadership. We look forward to Stephanie becoming a member of our artistic family.”




  • sam says:

    1. Stephanie Childress, new assistant conductor
    2. Stéphane Denève, music director
    3. Marie-Hélène Bernard, President and CEO

    And you wonder why the US doesn’t fund its orchestras?

    St. Louis has a better chance of obtaining funds from the French Consulate than from the state of Missouri.

    As well it should, founded by Pierre Laclède et René-Auguste Chouteau, and named for Louis IX, it’s France’s moral and cultural obligation.

  • pianoguy says:

    Brilliant? Really? She’s had negligible impact as a violinist (if competition successes are anything to go by) and has resorted to the baton in order to try and have any sort of a career. Let her stay in the US,

    • Penelope Insect says:

      And how is your career going, pianoguy? Shame on you, troll!

    • BruceB says:

      Sometimes a person can be a relatively average instrumentalist and a brilliant conductor. One could say that Colin Davis (for example) resorted to the baton in order to try and have any sort of a career…

    • MacroV says:

      She doesn’t have to be a great instrumentalist to be a good conductor. But no, competition successes are not necessarily something to go by.

    • Pierre says:

      Jesus Christ, do you really believe the only way to judge a musician’s worth and talent (as you call it “impact” is through competitions? Grow up.

  • Annnnon says:

    Apparently she stepped in to conduct the LSO a few weeks ago and has been assisting Rattle.

  • Jack says:

    Most of the comments here reflect the usual misogeny from the Slipped Disc crowd.

  • In the know. says:

    There was no open application for assistant conductor for the SLSO. So it’s highly suspect when a young “Franco-British” conductor who has never otherwise set foot in the USA on any gig, and is indeed apparently trying to build a career in the UK by building her own orchestra there and being on the list of a major agency, to suddenly be “discovered” by the music director of a mid-west orchestra in the USA to become assistant conductor. There are connections behind those curtains.

    • Beth says:

      Stephane and Stephanie had never met before the audition. The list of conductors who auditioned was quite long and whittled down before they got in front of the orchestra. Even then, there were a number who seemed in the running after being on stage. Then, after a spoken interview with music director, Youth Orchestra representatives, and musicians from the SLSO, it was unanimously decided she should be chosen. No one was pushing anything and the process seemed very fair from the inside. I’d love to hear if you had any other information to the contrary!

    • Patrick says:

      Yes. Connections with Rattle, LSO…..it’s a small world.