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Siatkin, Leonard (Edward)

Siatkin, Leonard (Edward)

Siatkin, Leonard (Edward) , prominent American conductor, son of Felix Siatkin ; b. Los Angeles, Sept. 1, 1944. He received music training in his youth, studying violin, viola, piano, and conducting, as well as composition with Castelnuovo-Tedesco; after attending Ind. Univ. (1962) and Los Angeles City Coll. (1963), he received valuable advice from Susskind at the Aspen (Colo.) Music School (1964); then studied conducting with Morel at the Juilliard School of Music in N.Y. (Mus.B., 1968). In 1968 he joined the St. Louis Sym. Orch. as asst. conductor to Susskind, and was successively named assoc. conductor (1971), assoc. principal conductor (1974), and principal guest conductor (1975). He made his European debut in London as a guest conductor with the Royal Phil, in 1974. He was music adviser of the New Orleans Phil. (1977–80); also music director of the Minn. Orch. summer concerts (from 1979). In 1979 he became music director of the St. Louis Sym. Orch.; took it on a major European tour in 1985. In 1990 he also became music director of the Great Woods Performing Arts Center in Mansfield, Mass., the summer home of the Pittsburgh Sym. Orch., and in 1991 of the Blossom Music Center, the summer home of the Cleveland Orch. On Oct. 10, 1991, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. conducting La Fanciulla del West. In 1992 he was awarded the Elgar Medal. He was named music director designate of the National Sym. Orch. in Washington, D.C., in 1994. After completing his tenure with the St. Louis Sym. Orch. in 1996, he thereafter served as its laureate conductor. In 1996 he assumed his new post as music director of the National Sym. Orch. On Oct. 24, 1997, he led it in the opening of its refurbished concert hall at the Kennedy Center. From 1997 he also was principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia Orch. in London. In 2000 he became chief conductor of the BBC Sym. Orch. while retaining his position with the National Sym. Orch. He appeared widely as a guest conductor of major orchs., both in North America and Europe, demonstrating particular affinity for works of the 19th and 20th centuries.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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