“There’s a depth of study that goes into learning work from a conductor’s point of view…you have to find a way to communicate the music.”
While she’s likely most noted for being the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s resident conductor, Gemma New is just as passionate about her job as director of the symphony’s Youth Orchestra—and for good reason.
“The Youth Orchestra has 100 very talented youth musicians from the St. Louis area,” New said, noting that members come from schools all over the bi-state region, and some travel more than 100 miles each way to participate. “We have a very focused, attentive and passionate group of young musicians in the Youth Orchestra, and the morale is high, so each member knows to come prepared as a way of respecting their fellow musicians. With every youth orchestra, you find a wide range of experience, which means we need to be careful to program music that is a healthy challenge, but also an opportunity for each player to shine.”
New speaks from experience.
“I personally grew up playing in a youth orchestra. It’s incredibly important to a young person’s development,” she explained. “It gives them an idea of work ethic, teamwork, the importance of expressing and processing their feelings and having a voice—but not necessarily through speech. It’s a way of nurturing young people with music.”
In addition to her role with the St. Louis Symphony, New is also music director for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Ontario, Canada, and has had guest engagements with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester, Filharmonia Szczecin and Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne in Europe, the Omaha, Albany and Berkeley Symphonies in the U.S., and the Auckland Philharmonia and Christchurch Symphony in New Zealand. She most recently served as associate conductor with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra prior to her move here.