Author archive for leonard slatkin

  • APRIL 1, 2021

    “The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, like most large ensembles, has been forced by Covid rules to play with fewer musicians on stage, in an empty hall, effectively as a chamber orchestra. As they were rehearsing, the players realized this was the first time in its history that the orchestra was appearing without a conductor.”

    Slipped Disc, March 8, 2021

    The following will appear in the next edition of the Saint Louis Gazette:

    “Orchestra announces plan to play conductorless beginning in September”

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  • Slatkin Conducts Rhode Island Philharmonic

    March 16, 2021

    Slatkin returns to the stage with live concerts on Saturday, March 20. The program includes Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending with violinist Jennifer Frautschi, the First Symphony of 18th-century Black French composer Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Cindy McTee’s Adagio, and Percy Grainger’s arrangement of Danny Boy.

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  • MARCH 2021: Recovery Edition, Part 30

    Time to get back on the horse.

    Five months after my end-of-summer podium appearance in Frontier Park, I found myself wondering if I could still conduct. This was not on account of any ailment or indisposition but rather because I would soon be returning to some aspects of performance life.

    About a month ago, I received a message from the artistic administrator here in St. Louis. The SLSO was going hi-tech for some presentations from Powell Hall. Among other pieces, the Stravinsky Octet was on the docket. With anti-social measures in place, the musicians would be situated about six to ten feet from each other. These days, the Octet can be done without a conductor, as most wind players have performed it several times.

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  • FEBRUARY 2021: Recovery Edition, Part 29

    Those of you who are performers know that we typically had no patterns when it came to a daily schedule. Rehearsals and concerts would occur at any time. This variability affected virtually all our regimens, including diet and family. We settled into a life of inconsistencies.

    That is how it was for more than fifty years of my existence. Ten months into pandemic life, things are quite different. It is almost impossible to remember the time when I had to set my alarm clock, which very rarely had the same waking time as the previous day. Even though I have had my share of either sleepless nights or trouble entering the Land of Nod, a 7:30 reveille has now become the norm, as has falling asleep well before midnight.

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  • JANUARY 2021: Recovery Edition, Part 28

    Hallelujah! 2021 has arrived, perhaps a bit more slowly than any of us would have preferred. And with it comes a very slight degree of optimism. Many believe that things could not get much worse, but that remains to be seen. Vaccine distribution has signaled a possible return to life as it was a year ago, but alongside signs of hope are some hidden warnings that our behaviors have forever changed.

    For me, one of those warnings is apparent in how I get my entertainment fix these days. Being an avid movie fan, I have the opportunity to indulge in classics from years gone by and view previously undiscovered gems of the silver screen, all from the comfort of home. Meanwhile, I can devour whole seasons of worthwhile or escapist television in just a few sittings.

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  • JANUARY 2021: Wellness Initiative

    When I received a request from violinist Holly Mulcahy to write about what music we might use to improve mental health as we cope with the pandemic, I focused my attention on the words she used to describe our possible emotions (“anxiety, sadness, fear, anger, manic energy, lack of motivation”) as well as her directive: “pick a single work that reflects and supports that emotion, and then pick a secondary work that alleviates that feeling just a notch up or down.”

    Hmm … that was a tough one. Were the musical remedies limited to the world of classical music? How could one really choose just one emotion? Was this request adding to the already burdensome weight of isolation?

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  • DECEMBER 2020: What I Did on My Spring, Summer, and Fall Vacation

    As we come to the end of this decade, which has taken place in less than one year, it seems like a good idea to take stock of what has been accomplished during a time when it has felt like we could do nothing. Many of us have had to find opportunities where none seemed to exist, and perhaps some of us will come out of 2020 a little wiser.

    Being a conductor was not the best profession during the self-imposed and sometimes-mandated lockdown period. The instrumental and vocal artists could at least practice. What was I supposed to do—stand up and wave my arms? After a few weeks of cancellations, I realized that looking over the scores meant to be rehearsed and performed in the near future was a futile exercise. Instead, I would go down to my library and peruse pieces that I either have never conducted or might want to revisit at some time.

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  • DECEMBER 2020

    For your listening pleasure this holiday season, I am happy to share Inspired Themes from the Inspired Films, an album arranged and conducted by my father, Felix Slatkin, in 1962. The recording features twelve tracks from the great biblical epics. On one of them, my parents are the violin and cello soloists, marking the only time they ever performed a duet for a commercial release.

    Happy Holidays!

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  • NOVEMBER 2020: Recovery Edition, Part 27

    All of a sudden, there is a break in the gloom. For the first time in quite a while, people are actually starting to believe there will be a future. Perhaps for that reason, many are still acting irresponsibly. More on that in a minute.

    With the possibility of three vaccines being available as early as next month, it is not out of the question to look at what lies ahead in terms of—well, almost everything. Schools can start to plan for the winter semester, and if not that, the spring. Businesses will look carefully at their books and determine how best to get back to work. Musicians will be thinking about what it will be like to perform with their colleagues again.

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  • Slatkin Receives 35th GRAMMY Nomination

    November 24, 2020

    Leonard Slatkin is nominated for a 2021 GRAMMY Award in the category of Best Choral Performance for the world-premiere recording of Alexander Kastalsky’s Requiem for Fallen Brothers, available on the Naxos label. The piece is a tribute to the fallen heroes of World War I, combining Orthodox and Gregorian chant with hymns from the allied nations.

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