By Tim Page
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Conductor Leonard Slatkin, who will step down as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season, has joined the faculty of Indiana University, effective next fall.
Slatkin, 62, will spend "several weeks" conducting student orchestras and working intensively with conducting and composition students, the university said in a statement Thursday. The initial appointment is for three years, but Gwyn Richards, dean of the university's Jacobs School of Music, said that as far as he was concerned, it was an "open-ended" commitment. Slatkin will be named the Arthur R. Metz Foundation Conductor.
"During the past two summers, I had the pleasure of working with the [Indiana University Summer Music] Festival Orchestra at the university," Slatkin said in a statement. "They so impressed me, as did the dedication of the faculty and staff, that it seemed logical to develop a further association. Working with young musicians has always been something at the forefront of my own agenda." Indiana University has long had a strong music department, but in the past three years its recruiting has grown increasingly aggressive. Recent hires include pianist Andre Watts, singers Sylvia McNair and Carol Vaness, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson.
Slatkin is widely thought to have wanted the music directorship of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and then the Pittsburgh Symphony, both of which he has guest-conducted regularly in the past year. Both groups ultimately decided to pursue other options.
And so, somewhat in the manner of the late Erich Leinsdorf in the last two decades of his life, Slatkin seems to have decided to work regularly in several different places. In August he was named music adviser to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, where he will conduct several concerts a year and make recordings. He is also the principal guest conductor for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. He founded and still directs the National Conducting Institute in Washington, an advanced career development program for rising conductors.