Leonard Slatkin

Music Director and Conductor Laureate


Leonard Slatkin

Internationally recognized American conductor Leonard Slatkin is Music Director Laureate of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Music Director Laureate of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra & Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the former Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra. 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 St. Louis Symphony from 1979 until 1996, Slatkin was named Conductor Laureate. Slatkin also recently accepted the position of Music Advisor to the Nashville Symphony. He has served as Festival Director of the Cleveland Orchestra's Blossom Festival (1990-99), Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra (1997-2000), Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2000-04), and in September 2008, Slatkin began his appointment as Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.


Throughout his career, Slatkin has demonstrated a commitment to arts education and reaching diverse audiences. Slatkin founded the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra in 1970 and has also worked with student orchestras across the U.S. He also reaches out to younger musicians and music teachers through the NSO American Residencies program. Mr. Slatkin is the Arthur R. Metz Foundation Conductor at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, and beginning with the 2007/08 season, the Distinguished Artist in Residence at the American University.


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 studied conducting with his father, followed by Walter Susskind at the Aspen Music Festival and School and Jean Morel at the Juilliard School.