Leonard Slatkin Definitely Wants Detroit Symphony Director Post

Classic Arts News   Leonard Slatkin Definitely Wants Detroit Symphony Director Post
Leonard Slatkin says he "wants to put the Detroit Symphony back on the map," reports the The Detroit News, but has not yet received a formal offer to become the orchestra's next music director and is still in discussions with the DSO's president and executive director Anne Parsons and artistic adviser Peter Oundjian.

In any case, Slatkin said he would not be able to take the position until the 2009-10 season. "I can tell you this: I will (lead) four weeks, maybe five, with the orchestra in 2008-09. I had to move some things around to make that possible," the conductor said.

He added that he is not interested in the common temporary commitments in which a conductor spends two to three months out of the year with the orchestra. "I miss the distinctive sounds that orchestras once had. Orchestras worldwide have become similar because one conductor is not there enough to establish his sound."

Last season, Slatkin began a three-year stint as artistic advisor to the Nashville Symphony.

He steps down from Washington, D.C.'s National Symphony Orchestra next year, and plans on immersing himself fully regardless of which orchestra he joins thereafter.

"I intend to get to know everybody, get involved in fundraising. I suppose that's a kind of throwback, but every orchestra needs somebody who's a presence in the community."

The conductor said he was "astonish[ed]" by DSO's forward educational programming, which makes the Detroit position especially alluring. He also promised to offer his time to schools. "I'm available for anything that has to do with education, and I don't take a penny for it."

The potential strike by DSO's musicians will not affect discussions over the directorship. Slatkin said it "has nothing to do with me" and that he had a similar experience with the St. Louis Symphony.

Speaking about his salary in Detroit, Parsons did not set any limits. "Detroit will do what Detroit needs to do," she said. Slatkin earned about $1.2 million with the National Symphony last year.

"This is what we've all wanted. I'm proud of the DSO for being patient in this search, and now they have someone they really want," said Oundjian

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