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Newsroom

LEONARD SLATKIN, DSO FORGE NEW DEAL

DETROIT, (December 3, 2015) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) Board of Directors has ratified a new contract with Music Director Leonard Slatkin, which extends his relationship with the nation’s fourth-oldest ensemble through the 2019-20 concert season.  The agreement secures Slatkin’s role as Music Director through the 2017-18 season – a remarkable 10 years of visionary, artistic accomplishment – after which he will become the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever Music Director Laureate.

“This arrangement allows me to both complete and fulfill my artistic vision for the orchestra and gives me the additional opportunity to serve the orchestra in many different ways as they transition to my successor,” said Slatkin. “My passion for the city of Detroit remains unabated.  The DSO has been at the forefront of the city’s resurgence and serving a decade as music director has given me the opportunity to be part of the awakening of a ‘new’ city and ‘new’ orchestra. That the board, orchestra and staff support this decision is deeply appreciated.”

Slatkin has held the DSO’s Kresge Foundation Music Director Chair since 2008. As Music Director Laureate, he will program, prepare and conduct four concert weeks during each classical season and advise on artistic matters, personnel and artistic titled positions. The search for his successor will be a collaborative process led by the DSO’s Board of Directors, musicians of the orchestra and administrative leadership with meaningful involvement from Governing Members, Trustees, patrons and the community at large.

“We are indebted to Leonard for the innumerable contributions he has made to achieve the DSO’s artistic and institutional goals,” said Phillip Wm. Fisher, DSO Board Chairman. “I’ve seen Leonard’s innovative spirit manifest itself through initiatives like the weekly webcasts, the Soundcard student ticketing program and the Neighborhood Residency Initiative, and I look forward to that continuing throughout the coming seasons.”

Following the conclusion of his role as Music Director Laureate, Slatkin looks forward to embarking on the next phase of his career, during which he plans to maintain his conducting schedule while exploring other opportunities. For the time being, he and his wife, composer Cindy McTee, plan to maintain their residence in Detroit.

“It is my honor and privilege to partner with Leonard as he continues to steward our organization through a period of enormous positive change,” said Anne Parsons, DSO President & CEO. “Today's announcement underscores the depth of his relationship with this great orchestra and a remarkable commitment to our wonderful city. I am thrilled by this news of our continued collaboration, and I look forward to working together as we move forward towards an even brighter future of access, excellence and service to our diverse communities.”

“Here in Detroit, we have been fortunate to have some of the world's finest musicians serve as our Music Director - Paul Paray, Antal Dorati, Gunther Herbig and Neeme Järvi,” said Karl Pituch, DSO Principal Horn and member of the Artistic Advisory Committee. “Leonard Slatkin has continued and built upon this great tradition. As one of the most respected American maestros, he has led us through some tough times and produced many remarkable recordings, webcasts, tours and festivals. One of his most important achievements has been the respectful, collaborative working environment he has created. With so many new musicians to integrate into our ensemble and the constant pressures of performing music at the highest level, this has been invaluable.”

Under Slatkin’s entrepreneurial leadership, the DSO has made the following artistic accomplishments:

-More than 30 world-class musicians have joined the orchestra’s prestigious ranks, including each principal position.

-Innovative collaborations with Kid Rock, John Williams and Steven Spielberg have raised millions for the DSO and attracted fans from across the musical spectrum, some of whom have become loyal donors.

-The DSO’s long-awaited return to Carnegie Hall during the 2013 Spring for Music Festival brought an innovative program of Ives’ complete symphonies and a unique collaboration with cabaret singer Storm Large to the country’s most famous stage.

         -Tours to southern Florida in 2010 and 2014 showcased the DSO as Detroit’s most exportable cultural asset.

-The launch of a groundbreaking digital presence through the Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, as well as its on-demand companion, “RePlay,” have globalized the DSO’s sound and put the orchestra at the vanguard of technological achievements in the classical music world.

-The visionary Neighborhood Residency Initiative increased the volume of classical concerts by placing neighborhood subscription series in seven metro Detroit suburbs and placing DSO musicians in schools, hospitals, senior living centers, libraries and myriad other intimate performance settings.

About Leonard Slatkin:

Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin is Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL). He also maintains a rigorous schedule of guest conducting throughout the world and is active as a composer, author, and educator.

Highlights of the 2015-16 season include a three-week Brahms festival in Detroit; engagements with the St. Louis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and NHK Symphony in Tokyo; debuts with Beijing's China Philharmonic Orchestra and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra; and a summer tour of Japan and China with the ONL.

Slatkin’s more than 100 recordings have garnered seven Grammy awards and 64 nominations. His recent Naxos recordings include works by Saint-Saëns, Ravel, and Berlioz (with the ONL) and music by Copland, Rachmaninov, Borzova, McTee, and John Williams (with the DSO). In addition, he has recorded the complete 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 Declaration of Honor in Silver, the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Gold Baton Award, and the 2013 ASCAP Deems Taylor Special Recognition Award for his book, Conducting Business.

Slatkin has held posts as Music Director of the New Orleans, St. Louis, and National symphony orchestras, and he was Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has served as Principal Guest Conductor of London’s Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the Minnesota Orchestra.

He has conducted virtually all of the leading orchestras in the world, including: New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, all five London orchestras, Berlin Philharmonic, Munich’s Bayerischer Rundfunk, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Slatkin’s opera conducting has taken him to the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Santa Fe Opera, Vienna State Opera, Stuttgart Opera, and Opéra Bastille in Paris.

Born in Los Angeles to a distinguished musical family, he began his musical training on the violin and first studied conducting with his father, followed by Walter Susskind at Aspen and Jean Morel at Juilliard. He makes his permanent home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with his wife, composer Cindy McTee.

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 unwavering commitment to Detroit. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-09.  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. The DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with chart-topping musicians from Smokey Robinson to Kid Rock. 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. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music. For more information visit dso.org or download the free DSO to Go mobile app.

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For Press Inquiries, please contact:

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