Thursday, March 10, 2011

Motor City Maestro: Leonard Slatkin Leads the Nashville Symphony Tonight

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 9:31 AM

In the new Scene, John Pitcher talks to Leonard Slatkin, the acclaimed — and occasionally drubbed — conductor who, in a parallel universe, might have ended up at the helm of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Pitcher penned a juicy profile of Slatkin back when the impulsive maestro nicknamed "Last Minute Leonard" served as music adviser to the NSO, then still reeling from the death of longtime conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn.

Slatkin returns to the Schermerhorn tonight for the first in a three-night stand at the NSO's podium, and Pitcher surveys what has been a trying time even for a conductor who appears to thrive on pressure:

Leonard Slatkin may be wondering why he ever left Nashville. The Nashville Symphony Orchestra's former music adviser, who's in town this weekend to conduct music by Rossini, Tchaikovsky and Philip Glass at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, has been leading a surreal existence.

In his current post as music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Slatkin has devoted the past few months to studying scores for concerts that never happened. He met with musicians who never played a note and schmoozed with donors who never saw their money at work. He even mapped out programs for a new season that may never materialize.

"It's been a frustrating time," says Slatkin.

Read Pitcher's piece to find out about Slatkin's recent trials and tribulations, as his seeming what-the-hell streak has careened from debacle to unmitigated triumph.

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