DECEMBER 2018Read more
So much packed into one month: a return to Lyon, a German tour, a birthday celebration and an exotic holiday!
Although the ONL had opened its season several weeks earlier, I had the privilege of taking the orchestra on a six-concert tour of Germany. That followed a set of performances in the Auditorium as preparatory sessions for the trip. It was clear that we would perform the repertoire that would be played over the course of the tour.
With the title “National” in its name, there is an implication that the ONL will represent the country and its contributions to musical history. However, one thing that the French really never did was produce a wide body of works that are called symphonies. Of course, there are isolated exceptions, but overall, there are not that many big works in the tradition of Beethoven, Brahms, et al.
The Orchestre National de Lyon Triumphs in Berlin and BeyondRead more
November 9, 2018
The Orchestra National de Lyon’s concerts in Berlin and Leipzig were met with standing ovations from audiences and rave reviews from critics. Under the baton of Directeur Musical Honoraire Leonard Slatkin, the orchestra is touring Germany through November 13, performing in a total of six cities.
Orchestre National de Lyon Embarks on Tour of GermanyRead more
November 5, 2018
Led by Directeur Musical Honoraire Leonard Slatkin, the Orchestre National de Lyon is on tour in Germany, presenting six concerts over the course of nine days. The tour begins with a performance at the Berlin Philharmonie, marking the ensemble’s first time playing there, and ends with a concert in Munich.
NOVEMBER 2018Read more
Before our monthly update, it seems like time to think about the world in which we live. I am writing this a few hours before heading to JFK for my six-week European tour. October will seem like a distant memory in a few days, but how far can we go to be away from the hatred and enmity that exists on this horrifically troubled earth?
Predictions of the impending catastrophe of global warming started fueling the fire of divisive rhetoric and indecision this past month. Then there was the ugly spectacle of seeing victims being torn down because they told their stories of harassment and attack. The #MeToo movement appeared to be gaining momentum, but this moved to the back burner quickly.
Leonard Slatkin Conducts World Premiere Commemorating WWI ArmisticeRead more
October 16, 2018
On Sunday, October 21 at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Leonard Slatkin will conduct the world premiere of Alexander Kastalsky’s epic 1917 work, Memory Eternal to the Fallen Heroes. The Kastalsky Requiem Project brings together the Clarion Choir, Kansas City Chorale, Chamber Choir of St. Tikhon’s Monastery, and Cathedral Choral Society to revive this piece.
OCTOBER 2018Read more
It feels like forever since I wrote a regular monthly piece for my website, but now that I am conducting again, we can get back to normality.
There was just a bit of trepidation as I approached the podium in Indianapolis to conduct the finals of their violin competition. Almost four months had passed since I last picked up a baton and waved my arms. This was certainly the longest period I had gone without using this set of physical skills. Would there be any strain on my musculature? Did I have adequate strength to get through the rehearsals and concerts? Would the tuxedo still fit after I had lost twenty-five pounds?
DSO and Leonard Slatkin Return to Orchestra Hall for Opening Weekend, Oct. 5-7Read more
September 28, 2018
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will kick off the 2018-19 Classical Series with concerts welcoming back Music Director Laureate Leonard Slatkin and featuring special guest violinist Gil Shaham. On the program is American composer Donald Erb’s The Seventh Trumpet, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (with Shaham as featured soloist), and Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations.
Small-Town GalRead more
Bonnie, over at Kirk’s Pharmacy, has seen it all. Of course, she wasn’t around when the building was the town hospital, founded 113 years ago. She is not in touch with any of the Nisqually Tribe, the original settlers of the region. But she did see the logging town go through its ups and downs. More than likely, she was here when my wife was born.
Nestled in the northwest of the state of Washington, Eatonville is the very definition of an America that, to most big-city folks, has disappeared. With a population of around 3,000, and sort-of in between the big towns of Seattle and Tacoma, it is one of the last places that you would expect me to have visited often. But for the past eight years, I have come here to spend time with Cindy’s parents, Charles and Jaquelin McTee, who were born at the old hospital almost 90 years ago. They have resided in the same house for more than 60 of those years.
In Praise of the Seconds in CommandRead more
It all looks so easy. The door opens, the music director enters, the orchestra stands, then they sit, and the conductor starts the concert. Granted, there is a lot of study, preparation and rehearsal before the audience hears one note. But even the members of the band often do not realize the importance of the music director’s assistant in making this all come together.
I am not speaking of an assistant conductor, the one desperately waiting for the boss to come down with something nasty enough to put him or her out of commission for at least one program. That hope of jumping in at the last minute is a dream of so many who have mounted the podium. I should know. In 1974, I took over for three maestri, albeit in different cities. Mostly, at least in the early days, it was my job to learn all the music, observe the rehearsals and give relevant comments about balance to the person conducting.
No, the assistant I am referring to is the one whose job it is to take care of most everything besides the actual music making.
AUGUST 2018Read more
Ah, the sun, surf and sand. Whether vacationing on the Left Coast, scuba diving in the clear waters of the South Pacific or sipping rum punches on the beaches of Mexico, this time of year is mostly about getting as out-of-shape as possible. Sounds good; no?
Until this summer, I usually could be found at music festivals—leading orchestras, teaching or diving into opera. But, after fifty years of doing exactly that, I decided that it was time for a break. Upon wrapping up my music director tenure in Detroit in June, which was to be followed by finishing the last week of the season in Lyon, I would take a few months off with no plan in place.