Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Casual Classics in the Loop the Symphony Dresses Down for the Summer

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Casual Classics in the Loop the Symphony Dresses Down for the Summer

Article excerpt

Summerfest: Classics in the Loop

Who: St. Louis Symphony

Where: Symphony Community Music School, 560 Trinity

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, through June 29

How much: $15-$25

More info: 534-1700

`I DON'T think our audience puts their brains on mothballs on Memorial Day," says David Loebel, artistic director of the Symphony's Classics in the Loop series. Which explains why the Symphony's Summerfest, at the Symphony Community Music School in University City, is for the most part devoted to straightforward classical programs. There are pops programs - scheduled on Wednesday nights - but the bulk of the fare is classical.

Classics in the Loop officially began last week, with a screening of the film "Amadeus" followed by a weekend's worth of Mozart performances. Now that the obligatory Mozart is out of the way, the series gets down to more interesting fare.

The format of the series makes an interesting contrast to the regular Symphony concerts. Thursdays are devoted to chamber music, Fridays and Saturdays to orchestral concerts. Each chamber concert features a soloist who will also appear with the orchestra later in the weekend.

"It's a chance for the audience to get to know the soloist better than they might on a regular Symphony program," says Loebel. "They can be heard in a concerto, and also in the more intimate chamber setting."

Intimacy is a hallmark of the series, which relocates the Symphony from its regular home in Powell Hall to the smaller theater in University City. The Symphony also makes use of the Symphony Music School's grounds to give the concerts a festival atmosphere. A tent, serving boxed dinners, attracts concert-goers before the 8 p.m. performances; dinners must be reserved in advance.

"There's a kind of contact with the audience, both in the concert hall and outside in the tent, that we don't ordinarily have," says Loebel. …

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