Music: Family Orchestra

The instrumentalists making their way to the stage of St. Louis' Kiel Auditorium ranged in age from 13 to 60. Some of them were housewives, others were students, disk jockeys, dentists, engineers. But when Guest Conductor Edouard van Remoortel rapped them to silence and led them into Beethoven's Egmont Overture, housewife and teen-ager played with astonishing competence. At the start of its 100th season, the St. Louis Philharmonic demonstrated again what its admirers have long claimed—that it is the finest non-professional orchestra in the world.

Only one U.S. orchestra—the New York Philharmonic—is older than...

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