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Chamber Music Society celebrates St. Louis icons Leonard Slatkin and Ozzie Smith at upcoming gala

Producer's note: Chamber Music Society of St. Louis executive director Marc Gordon announced on May 4 that Leonard Slatkin had to cancel his May 21 appearance due to unexpected heart bypass surgery. On May 8 Gordon reported the surgery was successful and Slatkin is expected to make a full recovery. However, since Slatkin is such an integral part of the Gala program, it has been postponed until the Fall when he can participate. Those who hold tickets for the original May 21 date are invited to a free concert. 

When Leonard Slatkin left his position as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1996, he still retained many ties to the city he had called home for more than two decades. In his role as conductor laureate he has returned regularly to conduct the symphony.

He also serves as a board member of the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis, has appeared on several of its programs and has advised the organization on educational activities.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Leonard Slatkin and Chamber Music Society of St. Louis executive and artistic director Marc Gordon. They discussed what’s next for Slatkin as he retires as music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society’s role in St. Louis and its 10th anniversary gala

Marc Gordon

Gordon referred to Slatkin as “part of St. Louis’ treasures.” Slatkin will be honored at the Music Society’s upcoming “Notes from Hollywood – The Sequel” gala. There, he will tell stories from his childhood in Hollywood and conduct music from classic Hollywood films.

“The event is to honor Leonard and his association to St. Louis for so many years,” Gordon said. “But also we’re paying tribute to that symmetry with his parents and honoring the Slatkin tradition in St. Louis.”

Slatkin’s parents were famous musicians, sparking his interest in classical music. He grew up around famous musicians and even had “uncle” Frank Sinatra sing him to sleep.

 “Any film that you’ve seen from the mid-1930s to about 1956 – if there’s a fiddle solo at [20th Century] Fox, that’s my dad, cello solo at Warner, that’s my mom,” he said.

Slatkin said he looks forward to participating in the Chamber Music Society’s anniversary event.

“This is an organization that literally sprang up from nothing and has become a really important adjunct for the city and spreading all kinds of music in different ways,” Slatkin said.

After his retirement, Slatkin will return to reside in St. Louis.

“When it comes to the fabric of the community, I still feel very close [to St. Louis],” he said.

Among other things, Slatkin looks forward to being able to regularly see his beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Gordon also asked former Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith to attend the gala.

“We thought having two St. Louis icons in the same building at the same time would be remarkable,” Gordon said.

Related Event:

What: Chamber Music Society of St. Louis 10th Anniversary Gala “Notes from Hollywood – The Sequel”
When: 7 p.m. May 21
Where: Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, MO 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108

More information

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Mary Edwards is a producer for St. Louis Public Radio's broadcast program, "St. Louis Symphony."
Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.