March 29, 2019
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its remarkable 50-year partnership with Leonard Slatkin when the SLSO Conductor Laureate returns to lead the orchestra in two weeks of concerts—April 27-May 4.
These concerts are programmed around works and people with special meaning in Slatkin’s career, including the world premiere of Jeff Beal’s The Paper Lined Shack, a song cycle commissioned by the SLSO in honor of Slatkin, featuring acclaimed soprano Hila Plitmann; the St. Louis premiere of Loren Loiacono’s Smothered by Sky; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Olga Kern; works by Barber and Tchaikovsky; and Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3, “Kaddish,” with speaker Charlotte Blake Alston, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, and St. Louis Children’s Choirs. The SLSO performs “Kaddish” for the first time in more than 50 years in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of composer and conductor Bernstein’s birth.
The 2018/2019 season marks the 50th anniversary of Slatkin’s debut season with the SLSO. He began during the 1968/1969 season as assistant conductor under Music Director Walter Susskind. Over the next 28 years, he held positions including Associate Conductor and Principal Guest Conductor, culminating in a 17-year tenure as Music Director and Conductor from 1979 to 1996. Since 1996, Slatkin has held the title of Conductor Laureate with the SLSO.
Marie-Hélène Bernard, President and CEO of the SLSO, said: “During his 17-year tenure as Music Director, Leonard Slatkin completely reshaped the SLSO, positioning it for years to come as one of the country’s leading ensembles. In the process, he redefined what an American orchestra could be. We are honored to have him lead the SLSO as we celebrate his 50-year relationship with this institution.”