Lyon loves Leonard

Lyon loves Leonard


norman lebrecht

May 23, 2014

The Orchestre National de Lyon are about to announce a new contract extension for Leonard Slatkin.

Not many Americans get asked to stay in France.

Slatkin is also music director in Detroit.


Here’s the release:

(DETROIT, May 23, 2014) — 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 NaxosThe 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 ambassadorshipAfter 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 concertsIn 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.
  • ProgrammingIn the upcoming season, Slatkin will celebrate connections between French and American repertoire and will lead the ONL in a Brahms symphony cycle.



  • Mike Schachter says:

    William Christie stayed!

  • Ks. Christopher Robson says:

    This is actually rather good news. A well liked conductor by many orchestral musicians and managements. It means he is obviously doing something right somewhere for the ONL. The last big time American conductor (pace Mr Christie, who to me seems to be more French than American in spirit!) to be MD in Lyon … well, let’s just say that they were more than happy (certainly the orchestra, and probably more so the city and theatre finance bods) to see the back of him (same might also be said by many members of the opera orchestral musicians at the Bayerische Staatsoper. Oops, too much info!).

  • m2n2k says:

    Perhaps he should change his first name to Lyonard.