November/December update – Leonard Slatkin

Another whirlwind month has come to a close. There are times when I am
not sure that it is possible to keep up with the calendar. And
traveling these days is certainly not one of life’s greatest pleasures.

The first two weeks of November were spent with the Royal
Philharmonic. For the first time in my career, I did a concert at
Albert Hall in London, which was not a Prom. To fill the 5,000+ seating
area, the programs have to be more popular than usual. In this case,
Holst’s Planets paired with Walton’s Belshazzar. The concert was recorded and is available on iTunes.

After a performance in the “unofficial” home of the orchestra,
Cadogan Hall, we traveled to three cities in the former Soviet block.
British orchestras do not adhere to the regulations that govern their
American colleagues, so we left at 8:00 in the morning for the
flight to Belgrade. There was a three-hour rehearsal and then the
performance that night. The next two days were similar, with concerts
in Zagreb and Budapest. The latter has a particularly fine new concert

Then it was off to Paris. The orchestra that I conduct in that
city is one of two that are part of French Radio, so in some respects,
they are less concerned with the actual numbers of audience members
than the people listening from home or car. This makes it possible to
do some unusual programs. Pairing Copland’s Appalachian Spring with Britten’s Spring Symphony was a nice idea. And the orchestra got into the distinctly American idiom quite well.

Next came the long trip to San Francisco. For the Thanksgiving
week, we had a relatively conservative – by SF standards – program of
Haydn, Barber and Elgar. Garrick Ohlssohn performed the great Piano
Concerto that came in the middle. This was the first time that I had
done the work since the death of John Browning, for whom the piece was
written, so there was obviously more than the usual emotion at play.
The orchestra was a pleasure to work with, and I think everyone enjoyed
the week.

To round out the month, it was back to Nashville, with an
overnight stop in DC. I may not have left my heart in San Francisco,
but it is possible that I did leave a piece of luggage. Or at least
that is one theory as to why it still has not shown up at this point.
Fortunately, that bag just contained clothes and not music. In Music
City, we are performing and recording “A Dylan Thomas Trilogy,” by John
Corigliano. He turns 70 in a couple months. Why does he still look like
he is 30?

There is a little down time in December, but still some
interesting concerts to do, not the least important is the premiere of
a couple arrangements of Christmas Carols written for my son.


See you in the New Year!
     Leonard Slatkin

1 thought on “November/December update – Leonard Slatkin”

  • We appreciate that not only did you make time in this amazingly busy schedule to come in and conduct us last week, but that you also find time to keep up a blog!! Regarding lost luggage, as a 16 year old student attending the Aspen music festival, my suitcase disappeared from the curb at the Denver airport, meaning it never made it on to the bus that took us from the airport to Aspen. I had put all my clothes and music in that case. I did learn my lesson about packing music, only pack it in my carry on! I hope your suitcase has surfaced by now.
    I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your comments on Elgar and his cello concerto in the Post Gazette. Since I grew up with two cellists in the family, I have heard the piece for many years and can never get enough of it. Since you seem to favor Elgar, it is my hope that perhaps we might perform one of his Symphonies with you? In my 22 some years here in the PSO, I have never had that opportunity, although I did perform one when I played in the Buffalo Philharmonic under Christopher Keene. It was a fascinating experience. Anyway, hope you’ll keep it in mind. I am looking forwards to many more collaborations with you beginning in January! Sincerely, Linda Fischer, PSO violin 2

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