Conductor David Robertson has renewed his contract with the St. Louis Symphony through 2018, reflecting a national trend of major orchestras holding onto their long-serving music directors during unsteady times.
Robertson has been with St. Louis since 2005. His renewal comes after Riccardo Muti last month extended his contract with the Chicago Symphony for another five years. Franz Welser-Most and Alan Gilbert have also renewed with the Cleveland Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, respectively, through 2018.
By most accounts, the St. Louis Symphony has been in good financial health. In October it reported its smallest operating deficit since 2005 and an endowment that had climbed to almost $150 million (from $131 million the year before). The orchestra recently went on tours to Europe and California; it has performed at Carnegie Hall 16 times since 2002.
In November, the St. Louis Symphony brought a concert version of Britten's Peter Grimes to Carnegie Hall. Operavore critic David Patrick Stearns was enthusiastic in his review:
Orchestra and chorus gave world-class performances, but with something extra. Past Robertson performances have always been those of a solid generalist; name a repertoire and he does it well, and with more programming ideas this side of Michael Tilson Thomas. But would you go to a concert specifically because he's conducting? After hearing how his finely-wrought sense of sound so insightfully colored the opera's psychology, I would indeed.