Two tough years behind him, Slatkin looks ahead

Posted on: August 22, 2011

In Sunday’s (8/21) Los Angeles Times, Donna Perlmutter writes, “A heart attack on the podium in Rotterdam, an ouster from the Metropolitan Opera, a six-month strike by his Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a diagnosis of breast cancer for his fiancée. Call it Leonard Slatkin’s most turbulent two years. ‘Well, that’s life,’ says the native Angeleno, who seems to be a master at deflecting or absorbing adversity, while at the same time serving up heaping doses of candor. … He’s held top directorships in the United States (most recently as podium chief at the Detroit Symphony since 2008) and abroad; he created good feelings for 17 years at the St. Louis Symphony by bringing that ensemble to prominence from the doldrums; he champions American music everywhere to acclaim. … Yet his physical presence, mild-mannered almost to a fault, does not portend anything heroic. … The conductor—who, as a teenager, was turned down for a job as an usher at the Hollywood Bowl—leads the L.A. Philharmonic at its summer home this week. … He began conducting at the mammoth showplace back in the ‘70s and counts his appearances there ‘in the hundreds.’ This week his two programs feature standard summer repertoire geared to audience and orchestra familiarity, with his personal stamp coming in Thursday’s concert: an overture by American composer Elliott Carter.”

Posted August 22, 2011