Leonard Slatkin appointed music advisor of the Nashville Symphony

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Nashville Symphony announced today the three-year appointment of Leonard Slatkin, one of the world’s leading conductors, as Music Advisor of the Symphony.

Currently Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. and Principal Guest Conductor of both the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Maestro Slatkin will take the podium starting September 9, 2006 for the Opening Gala concert of Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Symphony’s new concert hall in the heart of downtown Nashville.

“We are thrilled and honored to have Leonard Slatkin as our Music Advisor,” said Alan D. Valentine, President and CEO of the Nashville Symphony. “Leonard worked with our orchestra for the first time in June and quickly brought their performance to a whole new level. We jumped at the opportunity to share the expertise of one of the world’s greatest conductors and believe the collaboration will have a lasting impact, shaping the direction our orchestra takes in the coming years.”

“One of the greatest pleasures in recent memory for me was to spend several days with the Nashville Symphony,” said Slatkin. “This outstanding ensemble has a sense of direction and purpose. Their music-making is of the highest level and their commitment to excellence extends from the stage to the management. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to assist in these crucial years of transition, and I look forward to our collaborations over these next three years.”

The Music Director Search Committee voted unanimously to elect Slatkin as Music Advisor while the Symphony continues its search for a permanent Music Director. The position was left vacant by the unexpected death of 22-year Music Director Kenneth Schermerhorn in April 2005.

“Mr. Slatkin’s leadership will heighten our search, giving us more time to launch Schermerhorn Symphony Center, to formulate important relationships and to raise the profile of our orchestra,” said Mark Wait, Dean of Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and Chairman of the Nashville Symphony’s Music Director Search Committee. “The Nashville Symphony will continue searching for a Music Director until we have found the right match both for the orchestra and for our community.”

As Music Advisor of the Nashville Symphony, Slatkin will assist in programming the Symphony’s upcoming concert seasons, choosing guest artists and conductors, and participating in the process of selecting musicians for the orchestra through auditions. He will also lead the Nashville Symphony in their on-going American Classics recordings for the Naxos label and will record up to four additional projects with the Nashville Symphony during his tenure. Already scheduled is Corigliano’s Dylan Thomas Trilogy for 2007.

“Our first project together was a Naxos CD by American composer Joan Tower with Maestro Slatkin on the podium, and the result was stunning,” confirmed Valentine. “There is a palpable chemistry between Leonard and the musicians, and given the Nashville Symphony’s longtime focus on American music, and Slatkin’s reputation as one of the greatest interpreters of American music, I am confident this relationship will produce many exciting recordings and performances.”

Slatkin will also play a pivotal role in the Nashville Symphony’s American Encores initiative starting this 2006/07 concert season. At every classical series concert, the Nashville Symphony will perform a work by an American composer that has either been neglected or only heard once at its original premiere, giving these works important additional performances or “encores.” American Encores composers in the inaugural season include Phillip Glass, Joan Tower, Augusta Read Thomas and Stephen Paulus, among others. The Symphony plans to develop an American Encores radio series focused on these composers, their work and the creative process of composition.

In addition to leading the September 9 Opening Gala concert, Slatkin will lead the Symphony in a special concert performance for the American Symphony Orchestra League Conference, which will take place in Nashville in June 2007. He will also conduct the Symphony’s Summer Festival concerts that same month, as well as four programs during the Nashville Symphony’s 2007/08 and 2008-09 seasons.