Musical Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra of Lyon
Internationally renowned American conductor Leonard Slatkin began his critically acclaimed appointment as the 12th Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the 2008-2009 season. He also continues to serve as Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, another post that began in fall of 2008. Mr. Slatkin completed his 12th and final season as Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra in 2007-2008. He continues as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and recently completed his appointment as Music Advisor to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. <> His performances throughout North America, Europe and the Far East have been distinguished by imaginative programming and highly praised interpretations of both the standard and contemporary symphonic repertoire. Additionally, Mr. Slatkin is well-known for his arts advocacy work on behalf of music education.
Summer 2009 finds the conductor at the Tanglewood Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Music Festival and the Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen.
Highlights of the 2009/2010 season include guest engagements throughout Europe with such prestigious orchestras as the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Deutsche Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, Czech Philharmonic (Prague), Orchestre National de Lyon, Orquesta Nacional de Espana (Madrid) and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (Paris), and concerts with many leading North American ensembles including the National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony. He conducts several world premieres with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and leads the ensemble on a winter tour of Florida. Mr. Slatkin also returns to the Metropolitan Opera to conduct Verdi’s La Traviata, and conducts the World Premiere of Lewis Spratlan’s Life is a Dream at the Santa Fe Opera.
Following a successful tenure as Music Director of the Saint Louis Symphony from 1979 until 1996, Mr. Slatkin was named Conductor Laureate. He has served as Festival Director of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Festival (1990-99), Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra (1997-2000), Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2000-2004), and Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl (2004-2007). In addition to his conducting appearances, Mr. Slatkin is a frequent host of musical broadcasts, which include the BBC, lending his broad knowledge and expertise.
Mr. Slatkin has made regular appearances with virtually every major international orchestra, including the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and many others. His performances of opera have taken him to leading opera companies in the US and around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and Vienna State Opera. A recent highlight was a European tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony, stepping in at the last minute to replace Sir Andrew Davis. He is a regular guest conductor at major summer festivals such as Tanglewood, Ravinia, Aspen, Hollywood Bowl and the BBC Proms.
Leonard Slatkin's more than 100 recordings have been recognized with seven Grammy awards and more than sixty other Grammy nominations. He has recorded with the National Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, London Symphony, and Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra.
Throughout his career, Mr. Slatkin has demonstrated a continuing commitment to arts education and to reaching diverse audiences. He is the founder and director of the National Conducting Institute, an advanced career development program for rising conductors. Additionally, Mr. Slatkin founded the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and has also worked with student orchestras across the United States, including those at the Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and the Eastman School of Music. He works frequently with youth orchestras across America and abroad, including the DC Youth Orchestra, Midwest Youth Symphony Orchestra, American-Soviet Youth Orchestra, European Community Youth Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago and American Youth Philharmonic. He also reaches out to younger musicians and music teachers through the NSO American Residencies program and regularly addresses and mentors public and private school students of all ages.
Mr. Slatkin has received many honors and awards, including the 2003 National Medal of Arts (the highest award given to artists by the United States Government), the Chevalierof the Legion of Honor, the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Gold Baton for service to American music, ASCAP awards with both the National and Saint Louis Symphonies, an honorary doctorate from his alma mater The Juilliard School, the Lifetime Achievement Award at the DC Mayor’s Arts Awards, and the prestigious Declaration of Honor in Silver from the Austrian ambassador to the United States for outstanding contributions to cultural relations. Mr. Slatkin is the Arthur R. Metz Foundation Conductor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and beginning with the 2007-2008 season, the Distinguished Artist in Residence at the American University.
Born in Los Angeles to a distinguished musical family, his parents were the conductor-violinist Felix Slatkin and cellist Eleanor Aller, founding members of the famed Hollywood String Quartet. Mr. Slatkin began his musical studies on the violin and studied conducting with his father, followed by Walter Susskind at Aspen and Jean Morel at The Juilliard School. He is the proud parent of a teenage son, Daniel.