Symphony’s Choral Director to receive top honor at St. Louis Arts Awards

Caitlin Custer
Amy Kaiser has directed the St. Louis Symphony Chorus since 1995.

The Arts and Education Council of St. Louis will honor Amy Kaiser, director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus since 1995, with its 2021 Lifetime Achievement awards at the St. Louis Arts Awards on May 24. The celebration will take place under the Big Top in Grand Center, operated by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, starting at 5:45 p.m.

Kaiser, who is Jewish and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of the country’s leading choral directors. She has conducted the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Handel’s “Messiah,” Schubert’s “Mass in E flat,” Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and sacred works by Haydn and Mozart. She also has served as guest conductor for the Berkshire Choral Festival in Massachusetts, Santa Fe and at Canterbury Cathedral and Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York for 12 seasons, she led many performances of major works at Lincoln Center.

Other conducting engagements include Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, Peter Schickele’s PDQ Bach with the New Jersey Symphony, Berkshire Opera, Opera Ensemble of New York and more than 50 performances with the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

Principal Conductor of the New York Chamber Symphony’s School Concert Series for seven seasons, Kaiser also led Jewish Opera at the Y and many programs for the 92nd Street Y’s acclaimed Schubertiade. She has prepared choruses for the New York Philharmonic, Ravinia Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival and Opera Orchestra of New York. Kaiser is a regular pre-concert speaker for the St. Louis Symphony and has presented the Symphony Lecture Series, promoting SLSO concerts, for the past 15 years. Her popular classes for Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Illuminating Opera, are being broadcast this season on Classic 107.3.

A former faculty member at Manhattan School of Music and the Mannes College of Music in New York, she was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford University and holds a degree in musicology from Columbia University. A graduate of Smith College, she was awarded the Smith College Medal for outstanding professional achievement. She was honored with the St. Louis Visionary Award for Successful Working Artist in 2015.

The St. Louis Arts Awards honors the artists, educators, philanthropists, corporate citizens and arts organizations that make our region so vibrant. The ceremony features dinner, an awards presentation and first-rate performances. For tickets and more information, go to