St. Louis Symphony

St. Louis, Missouri, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra founded in 1880 by Joseph Otten.  Originally called the St. Louis Choral Society, it is the second-oldest professional symphony orchestra in the United States.  The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra most often performs in Powell Symphony Hall.

History of the St. Louis Symphony – St. Louis, Missouri

In 1880, the St. Louis Choral Society was created featuring an 80-member chorus.  The group performed at the St. Louis Mercantile Library and Locust and Broadway in Downtown St. Louis.  Following that year, the St. Louis Choral Society was joined by a 31-member orchestra, and in 1893, the St. Louis Choral-Symphony was officially formed.

In 1904 at the World’s Fair, the St. Louis Choral-Symphony was expanded to include a chorus of two hundred members and an orchestra of 55 musicians.  During this period, the group was under the direction of Max Zach.  The group also changed its name from the St. Louis Choral-Symphony to the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra during this period.

Following the name change, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performed at the Kiel Opera House for many years, performing concerts in famous venues such as Carnegie Hall and overseas locations. Finally, in 1968, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra found its permanent home in Powell Symphony Hall.

Powell Hall

Powell Hall was initially built in 1925 under the name of the St. Louis Theatre.  In 1966, it was acquired by the St. Louis Symphony Society through a $500,000 gift from Oscar Johnson, Jr. With $2 million in renovations done; the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is pleased with their home in what is now considered to be one of the world’s finest concert halls.  Powell Hall seats 2,689 and is named after Walter S. Powell, a show manufacturing from St. Louis whose wife left a $1 million charitable trust to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, which essentially helped the renovations.


A visit to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is a guaranteed night of entertainment and excellence whether you’re an orchestra aficionado or not.  Most concerts run for roughly two and a half hours, and attendees are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes before the performance is scheduled to begin, though doors officially open 75 minutes in advance of SLSO classical concerts and 60 minutes before Live at Powell Hall events.

There is no required attire for those attending the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. However, the company’s official website suggests that business casual is the best way to dress for the occasion.  Camera and recording devices are strictly prohibited from the venue, as well as smoking.  Those who show up late after the show has begun will have to wait until the first piece of music is complete to be seated.  Those attending a concert at Powell Hall are encouraged to park in one of the lots operated by Grand Center.  Please visit the company’s official website for more information regarding the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, upcoming concerts, tickets, and other questions.

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  1. May 29, 2021 – Revised grammatical errors, increased internal links and cleaned up the appearance – MWS.