Daniel Slatkin composes score for documentary about Detroit’s financial woes

Posted on: April 29, 2022

Daniel Slatkin conducts the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in his score for the documentary Gradually, Then Suddenly: The Bankruptcy of Detroit, December 6, 2021. Photo: Mandi Wright

“ ‘Gradually, Then Suddenly,’ which will have its inaugural public screening Wednesday to open the Freep Film Festival, features a score composed and conducted by 27-year-old Daniel Slatkin and recorded with members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra,” writes Brian McCollumn in Wednesday’s (4/27) Detroit Free Press. The film explores the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy in 2010. “The Slatkin name brings its own Detroit resonance: Daniel is the son of former DSO music director Leonard Slatkin, now the orchestra’s music director laureate. Recording at Orchestra Hall during a two-day session in early December was poignant for the 27-year-old composer and classically trained pianist, now based in Los Angeles. During his dad’s DSO tenure, he played piano there as a 17-year-old and debuted his own concert piece in 2018…. Slatkin’s score is distinct and fitting, driving the documentary with detective-flick tension, plaintive heartache and shimmering hope as needed…. Sam Katz and James McGovern, the film’s co-producers and co-directors, say … Slatkin’s music is a backdrop for about 85% of ‘Gradually, Then Suddenly,’ well above the typical 60% for a documentary. They’re so satisfied with the work, they’re releasing the music as a stand-alone soundtrack.”