I had the good fortune of interviewing Shannon Wood, St. Louis Symphony Principal Timpani, for Playbill. We met in his percussion studio/rehearsal space, across the street from Powell Hall. We talked about Kraft’s Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra, No. 2, his mallet business sideline, and lots of other fascinating stuff.

You can read it here if you like:


Dukas, Saint-Saëns, Mussorgsky


On April 15 and April 16, the St. Louis Symphony performs the overture to Polyeucte, by Paul Dukas; Camille Saint-Saëns’s Fifth Piano Concerto; and Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Maurice Ravel. (That’s Camille Saint-Saëns in the photograph.)

Here’s a link to my program notes, which start on p. 26:

Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette



Way back in mid-March, the St. Louis Symphony performed Hector Berlioz’s magnificent and underperformed dramatic symphony Roméo et Juliette. I wrote about it here (my annotations begin on p. 26).

The painting, by the way, is by the English pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse, from 1898. It’s not as old as Berlioz’s musical work, but I think it captures the spirit.