Internationally recognized American conductor Leonard Slatkin is Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. His performances throughout North America, Europe and the Far East have been distinguished by imaginative programming and highly praised interpretations of both the standard and contemporary symphonic repertoire. Additionally, he is well-known for his arts advocacy work on behalf of music education.
Following a successful tenure as Music Director of the Saint Louis Symphony from 1979 until 1996, Mr. Slatkin was named Conductor Laureate. He has also served as Festival Director of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Festival (1990-99), Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra (1997-2000), and Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2000-2004).
Mr. Slatkin has made regular appearances with virtually every major international orchestra, including the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and many others. His performances of opera have taken him to leading opera companies in the US and around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and Vienna State Opera.
Leonard Slatkin’s more than 100 recordings have been recognized with five Grammy awards and more than fifty other Grammy nominations. He has recorded with the National Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony, and Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra.
Throughout his career, Mr. Slatkin has demonstrated a continuing commitment to arts education and to reaching diverse audiences. He is the founder and director of the National Conducting Institute, an advanced career development program for rising conductors. Additionally, Mr. Slatkin founded the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and has also worked with student orchestras across the United States, including those at the Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and the Eastman School of Music. He works frequently with youth orchestras across America and abroad, including the DC Youth Orchestra, Midwest Youth Symphony Orchestra, American-Soviet Youth Orchestra, European Community Youth Orchestra, and American Youth Philharmonic. He also reaches out to younger musicians and music teachers through the NSO American Residencies program. During the past few years he has spent time talking about and performing music in Tennessee, North Carolina, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, and Vermont as part of these residencies.
Mr. Slatkin has received many honors and awards, including the 2003 National Medal of Arts (the highest award given to artists by the United States Government), the Chavalier of the Legion of Honor, ASCAP awards with both the National and Saint Louis Symphonies, an honorary doctorate from his alma mater The Juilliard School, the Lifetime Achievement Award at the DC Mayor’s Arts Awards, and the prestigious Declaration of Honor in Silver from the Austrian ambassador to the United States for outstanding contributions to cultural relations.
Born in Los Angeles to a distinguished musical family, his parents were the conductor-violinist Felix Slatkin and cellist Eleanor Aller, founding members of the famed Hollywood String Quartet, Mr. Slatkin began his musical studies on the violin and piano before turning to conducting. He is married to soprano Linda Hohenfeld, and they have one son, Daniel.