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Leonard Slatkin (crédit photo : Niko Rodamel)
Orchestre national de Lyon
ONL - L'Orchestre National de Lyon en concert
ONL + choeurs à l'Auditorium
Leonard Slatkin (crédit photo : Niko Rodamel) ©
© Sylvain Ressicaud
© ONL-David-Duchon-Doris

L’ONL parmi les plus grands orchestres au monde

Leonard Slatkin, the Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon

Leonard Slatkin has been Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon since 2011. Here, he tells us of his day-to-day work managing Lyon’s orchestra. 

How did your arrival at the ONL come about?

I had been invited several times to direct the Orchestre National de Lyon and I've always appreciated this orchestra. Then one day, five years ago, the musicians came to see me during a concert in Berlin to ask if I might be interested in the post of Music Director which was about to become vacant. I accepted right away!

What makes this orchestra so special?

It's a major orchestra. The musicians are very talented, enthusiastic and disciplined, which is not always the case with French ensembles. I find that the French brass and woodwind sections have a very special sound all their own with their Vibratos.

I'm also very attached to the whole group. It never fails to amaze me when they play me a happy birthday song on September 1st!

What sort of repertoire do you prefer? 

I always try to propose a very varied repertoire. I grew up in Hollywood and have very eclectic tastes. I also love popular music! In terms of classical music, my main influences are taken from the Russian, French and American repertoires. 

What do you think about the audiences in Lyon?

They’re very young audiences, which is particularly striking in comparison to other cities and countries. I think this is related to the policy practised by the auditorium which has forged a close link with the public. The auditorium’s pricing policy and very modern communication style have contributed to making classical music accessible to all.

Do you like the city?

Yes, I love Lyon, and especially its food … If I could go every day and admire the stalls at Les Halles I'd do it. It's a fascinating sight!


His favourites

The best place to:

Enjoy an andouillette (chitterling sausage) and a quenelle (pike dumpling)?
At Alex’s restaurant near the auditorium. This was the first place I ever tasted a quenelle, and I still have a fond memory of it!

Go for a romantic walk?
Along the river banks with my wife. It's very peaceful and romantic at night, particularly in the springtime or the autumn.

Meet the "real" people of Lyon?
 In the cafés, where they enjoy talking about football or politics!

Have fun and party?
My 19 year-old son will be here soon and I'll tell you after he comes, if he lets me accompany him!

Buy a souvenir of Lyon? 
At Les Halles. This would be a food-related souvenir, one which can survive the trip to the United States… I'm especially fond of the St. Marcellin!

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