By Tim Page
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 15, 2007
Outgoing National Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin will add yet another position to a long list of conducting engagements after he leaves Washington next spring.
As of September 2008, Slatkin will become the principal guest conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. His initial contract, which runs through the end of the 2010-2011 season, calls for him to conduct three weeks every year. He will also lead a conducting institute similar to the one he founded here, which helps prepare young musicians for careers on the podium (the 2007 NSO institute concludes with a free program Saturday night at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, with performances by four developing conductors).
Manfred Honeck, the Pittsburgh Symphony's newly appointed music director-designate, released a statement that spoke of Slatkin's "excellent relationship with the orchestra, which he has conducted in a wide range of repertory over the years. His special relationship to American music is particularly important to one of America's great orchestras."
Indeed, the Pittsburgh Symphony enjoys close associations with several of the conservative composers Slatkin has championed. This season, John Corigliano worked with the orchestra for four weeks, culminating in the world premiere of his Percussion Concerto, written for Evelyn Glennie. John Adams will be the orchestra's composer of the year in the 2008-2009 season, with Richard Danielpour slated for 2009-2010.
Slatkin is already balancing jobs as principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. He is also music adviser to the Nashville Symphony, and this fall he will join the faculty of Indiana University.
The Pittsburgh Symphony is increasingly esteemed as one of the nation's finest orchestras, and Slatkin has long been a regular guest. "During the last season, it became apparent that our relationship had moved to a higher level," Slatkin said in a statement yesterday. "I was thrilled when told that the orchestra desired this collaboration."
No financial details were released.