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Leonard Slatkin
Music Director, National Symphony Orchestra
Live Web cast November 27, 2000 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT

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Leonard Slatkin
Leonard Slatkin, the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, is renowned for both his imaginative programming and for his commitment to arts education for children. In demand worldwide as a guest conductor for both operas and orchestras, he has toured the United States, Europe and Asia since beginning his tenure at the NSO in 1996.

His innovative approach has brought him much public recognition, four Grammy awards, and 50 Grammy nominations for his many recordings. Slatkin is also the recipient of the Award for Adventuresome Programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

The National Symphony Orchestra is not his only home. He has served as principal guest conductor of London's Philharmonia Orchestra and appeared with the Vienna State Opera, the Hamburg and Stuttgart operas, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He regularly conducts orchestras in many of the world’s major cities, among them New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, London, Tokyo and Tel Aviv.

Throughout his career, Slatkin has demonstrated a commitment to arts education. He founded the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra in 1969, was one of the principal conductors for the world tour of the American-Soviet Youth Orchestra in 1990, and has directed the European Community Youth Orchestra. Once, when public funding for the D.C. Youth Orchestra was cut, he helped raise money so that 130 children could continue to participate in the program. In April 2000, he testified before the Board of Supervisors in Fairfax County, Virginia, to urge them not to end funding for several school music programs.

He has often led by example, working with the student orchestras at Curtis Institute of Music, at the Manhattan and Eastman Schools, and at his alma mater, the Juilliard School in New York. Slatkin also collaborates with young musicians and teachers across the country through the NSO American Residencies program, and has participated in several benefit performances on behalf of youth orchestras.

Slatkin was born into a musical family in Los Angeles. His parents were conductor and violinist Felix Slatkin and cellist Eleanor Aller, both founding members of the Hollywood String Quartet. Slatkin began taking violin and piano lessons at the age of three; he also learned to play the viola. He studied conducting with his father and, in 1964, with Walter Susskind, music director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, at the Aspen Music School. He then attended the Juilliard School, graduating in 1968. He became chief assistant conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra at the age of 23, beginning what would become a lifelong association. In 1996, he became conductor laureate of that orchestra after serving as its music director for 17 years.

Related Web Sites
Kennedy Center/National Sypmphony Orchestra