Heart surgery forces DSO’s Slatkin to miss concerts

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer

An unexpected heart-bypass operation next week will cause Detroit Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin to withdraw from three upcoming DSO concerts he was going to conduct. 

Slatkin, 73, will miss the final three Classical Series subscription concerts this month and next, which were to be his last before transitioning from music director to music director laureate next season. 

Detroit Symphony Orchestra music director Leonard Slatkin will undergo heart bypass surgery.

As long planned, Slatkin will return in the fall for the 2018-2019 season, when he will conduct five weeks. 

In a prepared statement, Slatkin said he and his wife, composer Cindy McTee, are very disappointed, “but I also know that all of you will understand the necessity of taking care of these health issues.”

Slatkin, who became DSO music director in 2008, said his cardiologists have assured him surgery should fix his heart issues. His recovery is expected to take about three months. 

Concerts affected are the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 May 25-27, “Rite of Spring” May 31-June 2, and the Puccini “Turandot” season finale June 8 and 10. 

Replacement conductors will be announced in the coming days. 

Slatkin also is “directeur musical honoraire” at the Orchestre National de Lyon in France and has withdrawn from upcoming European engagements as well as with the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis. 

“The DSO is committed to offering Leonard our full support in his recovery,” DSO president and CEO Anne Parsons told The Detroit News. “Though he will not be on the podium for these three programs, we look forward to honoring him for all that’s he’s accomplished in Detroit over the past 10 years.”

On June 23, as previously announced, the DSO will salute Slatkin as well as philanthropists Penny and Harold Blumenstein at its annual Heroes Gala. 


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