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Thursday, 14 October, 1999, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
American accent at the Proms
Leonard Slatkin
Slatkin takes on Britain's most visible conducting job
American Leonard Slatkin is to be handed one of the most famous batons in Britain when he takes over as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

He will succeed Sir Andrew Davis in the post with effect from October 2000.

The first American to hold the prestigious post, he will appear regularly with the orchestra at the BBC Proms each summer, and preside over the jingoistic Last Night of the Proms.

Slatkin is no stranger to Britain
The 55-year-old is currently Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, Conductor Laureate of the St Louis Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor with London's Philharmonia.

Slatkin has appeared regularly with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, taking them to Glasgow earlier this year for the first time in 32 years to appear in the BBC's Music Live festival.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra is acknowledged as one of the world's most adventurous orchestras.

It has long been associated with the performance of new and neglected British repertoire and is a major commissioner of new works.

His first season will coincide with the BBC Symphony Orchestra's move to promote its London seasons at the Barbican Centre.

His first appearance as chief conductor will be on 22 October 2000, when the Orchestra will celebrate its 70th birthday.

Sir Andrew Davis at the flag-waving Proms finale
Slatkin is no stranger to the network, having presented Radio 3's recent successful 10-part series Discovering Music with Leonard Slatkin.

An accomplished broadcaster, Slatkin will be much involved in the presentation of concerts on the network, and as a regular contributor to BBC radio and television.

"The BBC Symphony Orchestra is at the forefront of ensembles dedicated to bringing the highest quality of music making to the broadest possible audience," said Slatkin.

"I look forward to building new directions, as well as continuing the traditions of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and its distinguished line of conductors."

Dr John Evans, Head of BBC Classical Music, added: "I am delighted that we have attracted a conductor of Leonard Slatkin's international standing to the BBC's flagship orchestra.

"The extraordinary range of Leonard's repertoire, his passionate commitment to new and innovative programming and his instinctive flair for communicating with audiences make him an ideal figure for an orchestra committed to the public service ethos through broadcasting."

See also:

12 Sep 98 | Entertainment
Pomp at the Proms
30 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Films score Proms first
09 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Angel in the park
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