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Leonard Slatkin On 'Conducting Business'

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Sean Sandefur
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Leonard Slatkin has strong ties to St. Louis. His father, conductor and violinist Felix Slatkin, was born in St. Louis and joined the St. Louis Symphony when he was still a teen.  The younger Slatkin’s first conducting position with a major symphony orchestra came in 1968 when he was named Assistant Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony.  In 1979, he was named Music Director and during his 17 years at the helm, the orchestra’s national and international reputation dramatically increased.  At the conclusion of his tenure in 1996, Slatkin was awarded the title of “Conductor Laureate.”

After leaving St. Louis, Slatkin served as the National Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director until 2008 when he assumed the same position with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  Since 2010, he has also served as Music Director of France’s Orchestre National de Lyon.

Slatkin returned to St. Louis this week to conduct the St. Louis Symphony and participate in a Chamber Music Society of Saint Louis concert.  He took time out from his conducting duties for a conversation with “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh before a live audience in the Community Room of St. Louis Public Radio’s new home in the UMSL at Grand Center building. They talked about Slatkin’s new book, “Conducting Business: Unveiling the Mystery Behind the Maestro,” including his childhood in Hollywood when Frank Sinatra was a family friend, his many ties to St. Louis and the St. Louis Symphony, the art of conducting, the state of symphony orchestras and other topics. Slatkin also took questions from the studio audience as well as from listeners’ e-mails, tweets and Facebook messages.

Related Event

Leonard Slatkin Conducts the St. Louis Symphony in "The Planets"
January 18 and 19, 2013
8:00 p.m.
Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd.
(314) 534-1700
St. Louis Symphony Website

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Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years. From 1988-2014 she also taught an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. Mary was inducted into the St. Louis Media History Foundation Media Hall of Fame in April, 2017 and received the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Award in 2012. Mary retired from St. Louis Public Radio in 2018, but still serves the station as a St. Louis Symphony Producer.
Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Don Marsh served as host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air" from 2005 to 2019, bringing discussions of significant topics to listeners' ears at noon Monday through Friday. Don has been an active journalist for 58 years in print, radio and television. He has won 12 Regional Emmy Awards for writing, reporting, and producing. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2013, and named “Media Person of the Year” by the St. Louis Press Club in 2015. He has published three books: his most recent, “Coming of Age, Liver Spots and All: A Humorous Look at the Wonders of Getting Old,” “Flash Frames: Journey of a Journeyman Journalist” and “How to be Rude (Politely).” He holds an honorary Doctor of Arts and Letters degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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