Slatkin has a heart attack at the podium

By Anne Midgette
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Leonard Slatkin, the music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and former music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, suffered a heart attack on Sunday while conducting a concert with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He is recovering in a hospital in the Netherlands after an operation to insert two stents.

Slatkin, 65, was aware of chest pains during the afternoon performance, but was able to finish the concert -- Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, with Lars Vogt, and Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 -- before going to the hospital. "Maestro Slatkin feels great," his manager said, according to a posting on the Rotterdam Philharmonic Web site, adding, "he is getting the best of care."

A spokeswoman for the Detroit Symphony said hopefully Slatkin can return to the United States by the end of the week. "The trick is keeping him off e-mail," she said; the conductor is evidently eager to get back to work.

Slatkin has canceled upcoming performances with the Czech Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony, but would like to appear in his scheduled concerts with the DSO starting Nov 19.

Slatkin took over in Detroit after a 12-year tenure with the National Symphony Orchestra, which ended in June 2008. He is scheduled to return to the NSO in January, leading a program of Elgar and Holst, in his first appearances since he stepped down.

"We wish him a speedy recovery and send good thoughts his way," an NSO spokesman said.

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