Leonard Slatkin, Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, announced today that he intends to step down from this position following the 2007-2008 season.
ìI always considered the NSOís 75th anniversary season of 2005-2006 as a landmark year for the Orchestra and for me,î stated Mr. Slatkin. ìI was persuaded to remain two further seasons to ensure a proper transition to new musical leadership. At that time I will have held this position for more than a decade, and I view this change as a natural evolution in the career of an orchestra conductor. The goals which I set when I began my tenure here will have been accomplished. In my opinion, the NSO now ranks amongst the worldís great orchestras ñ a point of immense pride for me and all the members of the Orchestra. I am deeply grateful to the musicians, audience, board, and staff who have been supportive of my work here. I look forward to the next 3 Ω years of making wonderful music with the NSO.î
Ann Jordan, Chairman of the National Symphony Orchestra Association Board of Directors, commented, "Leonard has done a remarkable job of building the quality and standing of the National Symphony Orchestra. He has given NSO audiences hundreds of thrilling nights in our concert hall. The entire Board joins me in thanking him for his contributions to our Symphony and to the musical life of our community.î
Mr. Slatkin came to the National Symphony as Music Director Designate in 1994, and formally became Music Director in 1996. He is widely credited with improving the standard of playing of the National Symphony as well as expanding the national and international touring program. A champion of contemporary and American music, he has been responsible for commissioning 64 new works from 53 American composers for the National Symphony during his tenure. He is deeply committed to music education, and is also the founder of the National Conducting Institute, which prepares young professional conductors to meet all of the responsibilities of a contemporary music director.
The Orchestraís Board plans to form a Search Committee to begin the process of finding a replacement for Mr. Slatkin.