Dumb s**t conductors say

Leonard Slatkin has been guilty of cluelessness in public again (a previous example can be found here). He’s actually quite reminiscent of a certain candidate for President currently out on the hustings; he goes along saying quite sensible stuff and then runs completely off the rails and reveals his true beliefs:

…Relations between the musicians and board are very good now.  Everyone is working toward long range goals.  I hate to say it, but it is possible that the strike actually produced a good result.  Of course it would have been best to settle early but such was simply not the case.

There was much talk of not being able to attract first class talent here.  That has been upended with the recent hires we have made.  A fantastic concertmaster, amazing first flute, great Cor Anglais and the list goes on.  Rather than shunning Detroit, we are now a destination, as musicians know that something good is happening here.

Does he realize just how much like an antebellum plantation owner he sounds? I won’t even try to create the analogous quotes for said plantation owner, as they would be profoundly offensive. But note here that Slatkin essentially claims that the musicians have forgotten just who put them out on the street without employment for the better part of a season and that the musicians’ claims that there would be an artistic cost paid for the board’s stance were totally bogus.

Fortunately for him, that level of cluelessness will also save him from having to notice any negative reaction on the part of the musicians of his orchestra.

And by the way: if you hate to say something that people will find offensive – don’t say it.

About the author

Robert Levine
Robert Levine

Robert Levine has been the Principal Violist of the Milwaukee Symphony since September 1987. Before coming to Milwaukee Mr. Levine had been a member of the Orford String Quartet, Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Toronto, with whom he toured extensively throughout Canada, the United States, and South America. Prior to joining the Orford Quartet, Mr. Levine had served as Principal Violist of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for six years. He has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, and the Oklahoma City Symphony, as well as serving as guest principal with the orchestras of Indianapolis and Hong Kong.

He has performed as soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, the Midsummer Mozart Festival (San Francisco), and numerous community orchestras in Northern California and Minnesota. He has also been featured on American Public Radio's nationally broadcast show "St. Paul Sunday Morning" on several occasions.

Mr. Levine has been an active chamber musician, having performed at the Festival Rolandseck in Germany, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Palm Beach Festival, the "Strings in the Mountains" Festival in Colorado, and numerous concerts in the Twin Cities and Milwaukee. He has also been active in the field of new music, having commissioned and premiered works for viola and orchestra from Minnesota composers Janika Vandervelde and Libby Larsen.

Mr. Levine was chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians from 1996 to 2002 and currently serves as President of the Milwaukee Musicians Association, Local 8 of the American Federation of Musicians, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestras. He has written extensively about issues concerning orchestra musicians for publications of ICSOM, the AFM, the Symphony Orchestra Institute, and the League of American Orchestras.

Mr. Levine attended Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland. His primary teachers were Aaron Sten and Pamela Goldsmith. He also studied with Paul Doctor, Walter Trampler, Bruno Giuranna, and David Abel.

He lives with his wife Emily and his son Sam in Glendale.

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