Leonard SlatkinOn Our Show: August 20, 2011
Birth Year: 1944
Origin: Los Angeles, CA
About Leonard Slatkin:
Internationally acclaimed American conductor Leonard Slatkin was born in Los Angeles to a distinguished musical father, the conductor-violinist Felix Slatkin, and mother, cellist Eleanor Aller, who were founding members of the famed Hollywood String Quartet. 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 has directed and conducted orchestras and musical institutions across the globe, shaping classical music, performance and operas in countless ways. Leonard Slatkin’s more than 100 recordings have been recognized with seven Grammy awards and 64 nominations. He has been the Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 2008 and was recently named Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL), France, beginning with the 2011-12 season. In addition, Mr. Slatkin continues to serve as Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Since his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1974, Slatkin has led virtually all of the major orchestras in the United States, including those of Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Cleveland and Philadelphia. He is a regular guest at major summer festivals such as Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Saratoga, and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival. In Great Britain he served as Principal Guest Conductor of London’s Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and was Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Slatkin has conducted most of the world’s major orchestras from Germany to Vienna to the Czech Republic to London to Paris to the Far East.
Opera performances have taken him to many of the leading stages in the U.S. and abroad, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Bastille, Vienna Staatsoper, Stuttgart and Washington National Opera. He has also led summer productions in Orange, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Santa Fe.
He has also served as the Music Director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., Principal Guest Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra where he founded their “Sommerfest”, first Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra’s summer series at the Blossom Music Festival, Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and additional positions with the New Orleans Philharmonic and the Nashville Symphony 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, and reaches out to younger musicians and music teachers through the NSO American Residencies program and school appearances.
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 Chevalier of 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.
(All details adapted from artist websites and press materials. Photo by Donald Dietz.)