Leonard Slatkin spent 27 years with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, 17 of them as music director. When he left that post in 1996 the SLSO gave him the title Conductor Laureate. Since leaving St. Louis in 1996, he has been music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lyon and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a post he will give up at the end of the current season.
Slatkin returned to St. Louis to conduct the SLSO in concerts October 6 and 7. The program included Christopher Rouse’s Bump, Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring Garrick Ohlsson as soloist and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2, a work with which Slatkin and the SLSO share a long history. This weekend’s concerts will be his fifteenth Rachmaninoff Second with the orchestra. Ironically, it was on the first subscription series concert he conducted in March of 1970.
Following a rehearsal on October 5, Slatkin sat down with Adam Crane, the SLSO’s Senior Vice President of External Affairs & Strategic initiatives. After talking about Slatkin’s connection with pianist Garrick Ohlsson, the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 and the Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2, the conversation turned to his recently published book “Leading Tones: Reflections on Music, Musicians, and the Music Industry,” his reflections on his time with the SLSO and the special talk he gave the musicians at his first rehearsal this week.