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Leonard Slatkin and Cindy McTee to support new emerging artists fund at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Leonard Slatkin, now in his 10th and final season as DSO Music Director, and his wife, composer Cindy McTee donate $100,000 to orchestra’s endowment to inaugurate new initiative

The Cindy and Leonard Slatkin Emerging Artists Fund to showcase up-and-coming artists with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Detroit, (December 7, 2017) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced that its Music Director Leonard Slatkin and his wife, composer Cindy McTee, have committed $100,000 to the DSO’s endowment to showcase an emerging artist each season. Mr. Slatkin is currently in the middle of his 10th and final season as DSO music director before transitioning to the role of Music Director Laureate.  

The new initiative, titled the Cindy and Leonard Slatkin Emerging Artists Fund, will provide support for one up-and-coming artist to perform with the DSO each season. The featured artist may be a solo musician (including singers), a conductor, or a composer. The Slatkins’ contribution is a challenge gift: the DSO will seek additional support, and the annual draw from the total of $200,000 will support one guest artist’s performance each season.

“I was thinking about what I could do that was special in my final season as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra,” said Mr. Slatkin. “I’d like to believe I’ve had some impact on the musicians, listeners, and community here in Detroit. But what else would there be after my time has concluded? Cindy and I are proud to be inaugurating this new initiative, and we hope as the years progress that the musicians are major discoveries by the DSO who make a big impression on the music world.”

DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons said, “We are so very grateful to Leonard and Cindy for this incredible gift. We are excited to be honoring Leonard’s personal and artistic impact on our orchestra and in our community throughout this season, and this new leadership gift to our endowment is the perfect way to celebrate Leonard’s legacy. We invite all those who are interested in joining this important vision to support future talent to contact us to learn more about participating in the Cindy and Leonard Slatkin Emerging Artists Fund. Thank you, Leonard and Cindy, for once again taking critical steps to secure a vibrant future for this community we all love to serve.”

DSO Chairman Mark Davidoff said, “On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, I wish to thank Cindy and Leonard for their continued leadership in our community, newly exemplified by this extraordinary gift to bring emerging artists to Detroit. I know that our audiences will look forward to hearing these musicians’ collaborations with our incredible orchestra in the coming seasons.”

Leonard Slatkin is back with the DSO this weekend to conduct the orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Last week, Mr. Slatkin and the DSO were honored to receive a 2018 Grammy Award nomination for Best Orchestral Performance for their Naxos recording of Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 and Three Latin American Sketches.   

Leonard Slatkin’s 10th Anniversary with the DSO

The 2017-18 Season marks Leonard Slatkin’s tenth and final year as Music Director of the DSO before transitioning to the new role of Music Director Laureate. Maestro Slatkin’s commitment to new music, reaching audiences in new ways, and the American orchestral tradition has had a transformational effect on the DSO.

During Slatkin’s tenure, the DSO has released acclaimed recordings, embarked on an historic tour of Japan and China, played Carnegie Hall, expanded its educational offerings, and strengthened community engagement. United under the banner of being the most accessible orchestra in the world, Slatkin and the DSO have taken on new and groundbreaking initiatives, including the free webcast series Live from Orchestra Hall, the annual Winter Music Festival, the Soundcard student ticket program, and the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series, which brings orchestra concerts to Detroit’s surrounding communities.

Throughout 2017-18, the DSO performs some of Slatkin’s favorite works, from Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony in week one to Puccini’s magnificent opera Turandot in concert to conclude the season. The orchestra is also proud to present six world premiere DSO commissions by young composers, conducted by Slatkin. All six are former students of some of Slatkin’s closest musical colleagues and collaborators. “I wanted to continue to champion American composers, but in a different way,” says Slatkin. “Introducing these fresh, new voices to the orchestra and audience will give us a glimpse into what America’s concert music scene will look and sound like years from now.”

About Leonard Slatkin

In 2017-18, internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin celebrates his tenth and final season as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) before transitioning to the new role of Music Director Laureate, and his first season in the new role of Directeur Musical Honoraire with the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL). He also welcomes the publication of his second book, Leading Tones: Reflections on Music, Musicians, and the Music Industry, and serves as jury chairman of the Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors. His guest-con­ducting schedule includes engagements with the St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Polish National Radio Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Recent career highlights include a three-week tour of Asia with the DSO; tours of the U.S. and Europe with the ONL; a winter Mozart Festival in Detroit; and engagements with the St. Louis Symphony, WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, Verdi Orchestra in Milan, and San Carlo Theatre Orchestra in Naples. Moreover, he served as chairman of the jury and conductor of the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Slatkin’s more than 100 recordings have garnered six Grammy awards and 33 nominations, most recently a 2018 Grammy Award nomination for Best Orchestral Performance for his Naxos recording with the DSO of Copland’s Symphony No. 3 and Three Latin American Sketches. His other recent Naxos recordings include works by Saint-Saëns, Ravel, and Berlioz (with the ONL) and music by Rachmaninov, Borzova, McTee, and John Williams (with the DSO). In addition, he has recorded the complete Brahms, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky symphonies with the DSO (available online as digital downloads).

A recipient of the prestigious National Medal of Arts, Slatkin also holds the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor. He has received Austria’s Decoration of Honor in Silver, the League of American Orchestras’ Gold Baton Award, and the 2013 ASCAP Deems Taylor Special Recognition Award for his debut book, Conducting Business.

Slatkin has conducted virtually all the leading orchestras in the world. As Music Director, he has held posts in New Orleans; St. Louis; Washington, DC; London (with the BBCSO); and Lyon, France. He has also served as Principal Guest Conductor in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Cleveland. For more information, visit leonardslatkin.com.

About the DSO

Hailed by The New York Times as “cutting edge,” the internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and an ardent commitment to Detroit. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the institution. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the DSO’s 12th Music Director, endowed by the Kresge Foundation, in 2008. Acclaimed conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik serves as Principal Pops Conductor, while celebrated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the Detroit community, the DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, and Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with high profile artists from Steven Spielberg to Ben Folds and Lang Lang. In July 2017, the DSO embarked on its first international tour in 16 years, making its debut in China and first visit to Japan in 19 years. A commitment to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast, and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.

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For Press Inquiries, please contact:

Ben Breuninger
Public Relations Coordinator
bbreuninger@dso.org | 313.576.5196