Leonard Slatkin Extends Contract with ONL Through 2016-17 Season

Leonard Slatkin Extends Contract with ONL Through 2016-17 Season

The Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL) announced at a press conference today that Leonard Slatkin has signed a three-year extension to his contract as music director, committing to the Orchestra through the 2016-2017 season. Slatkin also maintains his current music directorship with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), where he is committed through the 2015-16 season. The ONL contract extension, which builds on his current agreement through the 2013-14 season, will take effect in September 2014, coinciding with a collaborative celebration of the maestro's 70th birthday on both sides of the Atlantic.

"For the past three years it has been my privilege to lead the ONL as its music director," said Slatkin. "During that time, we have built an extraordinary relationship, one that is satisfying in every way. I look forward to the next three years of music making with this wonderful ensemble."

Jean-Marc Bador, ONL executive director, said, "The first three seasons with Leonard in Lyon have been so exciting and successful. We are all looking forward to sharing the next three to come, thanks to the contract extension he just signed."

Slatkin has accomplished numerous milestones with ONL and DSO during his tenure:


  • Ravel and Berlioz projects with Naxos-The ONL is in the process of recording 11 volumes of Ravel's works with orchestra and five of Berlioz's, including some new orchestrations and world premiere recordings conducted by Leonard Slatkin.
  • Cultural ambassadorship-After a successful tour in China last January, the ONL and its music director will fly to Japan for nine concerts in July 2014. Future tours include Russia, South America, and the United States, and concerts at Vienna Konzerthaus and Philharmonie de Paris.
  • Play-along and sing-along concerts-In 2013 the ONL launched a new series of participative concerts in Lyon. The audience is invited to download musical parts from the orchestra's website and then play along or sing along from the hall as the ONL performs onstage.
  • "Fauteuil et tribune"-An innovative marketing proposition in partnership with the Lyon football club that allows audiences to buy a package including a ticket for a symphonic concert and a ticket for a football game.
  • Programming-In the upcoming season, Slatkin will celebrate connections between French and American repertoire and will lead the ONL in a Brahms symphony cycle.


  • Live from Orchestra Hall-Hailed as "cutting edge" by The New York Times, this series of free live webcasts is the only product of its kind and has drawn a cumulative international audience of 500,000. Slatkin has helped pioneer the DSO's foray into web streaming.
  • Triumphant return to Carnegie Hall-In 2013 Slatkin led the DSO in two innovative programs for the Spring for Music festival. The DSO was the only orchestra to receive double billing, and Slatkin's interpretation of all four Charles Ives symphonies in one performance had never been attempted before on Carnegie's famed stage.
  • Kid Rock collaboration-In 2012 Slatkin and the DSO partnered with the native Detroit rocker to perform original orchestral arrangements of Kid Rock's chart-topping hits. The benefit concert raised $1 million toward outreach efforts to place DSO musicians in schools, senior living centers and other community locations throughout metro Detroit.
  • The complete Beethoven symphonies-In 2013 Slatkin and the DSO recorded Beethoven's nine symphonies during a weeklong Beethoven Festival. The "digital box set" was produced by the DSO's in-house Live from Orchestra Hall label and is available to download at dso.org.
  • Neighborhood Residency Initiative-This initiative offers subscription concerts in seven metro Detroit neighborhoods in addition to chamber recitals and educational programs. DSO musicians regularly engage with the community through lobby performances and musical therapy sessions at the DMC Children's Hospital, recitals at senior living communities and inspiration days in classrooms.
  • Soundcard-Conceived of by Slatkin himself, the program allows students of any age to attend series concerts at Orchestra Hall all season long for just $25.

Slatkin resides in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. with his wife, composer Cindy McTee. He became the DSO's 12th music director in 2008 following a 12-year tenure as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and he began his tenure with the ONL in 2011. Other positions in the United States have included a 17-year post as music director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra; principal guest conductor roles with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl; music director of the Cleveland Orchestra's summer series; and additional positions with the New Orleans Philharmonic and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.