Maestro move: Lyon announces change

Maestro move: Lyon announces change


norman lebrecht

April 05, 2016

Leonard Slatkin will cease to be music director at the Orchestre National de Lyon from September 2017. He will become Directeur Musical Honoraire, which means he can carry on conducting without administrative responsiblities. Slatkin, 71, has been music director in Lyon since 2011.

The move parallels Slatkin’s recent change from MD to emeritus from 2018 at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

It makes a lot of sense. Having put in the hard years, Slatkin can now fly Zubin Class and enjoy the ride.

Here’s what will be announced later today:


On September 1, 2017, Leonard Slatkin will become Directeur Musical Honoraire of the Orchestre National de Lyon. The recruitment process for a new music director has been launched.

Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre National de Lyon have agreed to continue their collaboration beyond August 31, 2017. From this date, Leonard Slatkin will become Directeur Musical Honoraire – an honorary title awarded for the first time by the Orchestre National de Lyon – and will continue regular collaborations with the orchestra’s musicians for at least 3 additional seasons. Since arriving in Lyon, with support from CEO Jean-Marc Bador, the staff and the musicians, Leonard Slatkin has created unprecedented artistic vitality and influence around the Orchestre National de Lyon. In recent years, Auditorium attendance has increased by almost 40%, reaching 220,000 spectators in 2015 through innovative programming and attention paid to educational programs, cultural activities and new audiences.

Recording agreements led in particular to the ongoing release of a new collection of 11 discs of the works of Maurice Ravel on the Naxos label. International tours opened doors to prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, the NCPA in Beijing, the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Philharmonie de Paris. “Leonard Slatkin’s enthusiastic presence during all these years has transformed the orchestra and created the conditions for artistic innovation and community projects. His role as ambassador has contributed to the attractiveness of our orchestra and our city. I am grateful to him for having agreed to a smooth transition as we plan for the arrival of a new Music Director at the Orchestre National de Lyon,” says Jean-Marc Bador, CEO of the Auditorium-Orchestre National de Lyon.

From 2017 to 2020, Leonard Slatkin will perform regularly with the Orchestre National de Lyon – a minimum of 6 weeks during the 2017/18 season, and 4 weeks during the following season – enabling the expected completion of the process to recruit a new Music Director by 2018.

“This new deal gives me the opportunity to continue a long-term arrangement with an orchestra I dearly love. The past five seasons have been extraordinarily rewarding. Extensive recording projects, video broadcasts, and outstanding new additions to the membership of the ONL are among the many recent initiatives and accomplishments. Also, by the end of my tenure as music director, we will have toured on three continents, thereby increasing the orchestra’s international exposure and further developing a worldwide audience. The public in Lyon has responded most favorably to our innovative programming with full houses populated by many young people. The future for this orchestra is bright indeed and I’m proud to be part of it. I fully expect to be busy guest conducting, writing books and music, and engaging in other activities both personal and professional,” commented Leonard Slatkin.



  • Olassus says:

    From this date he will be …
    On this date he will become …

    Can’t these people write, think?

  • Shenyeh says:

    Bravo Leonard! I would love to see you coming to do some concerts in San Diego!

  • Margaret says:

    “From this date” is a Briticism. This was no doubt translated from the French. The French are not noted for issuing press releases in languages other than their own.