With this engaging title, Slatkin’s third volume about the music industry (after Leading Tones), the renowned conductor combines a handbook for music directors with thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on musical organizations. Slatkin’s long tenures leading the St. Louis and National Symphonies, among other positions, provide ample fodder for a series of short chapters on learning repertoire, creating and rehearsing balanced programs, dealing with orchestral musicians and soloists, finding agents and managers, and hearing auditions. Attention is also paid to the role of the arts in schools and the impact of changes in marketing, and in recorded, visual, and online media on the profession. Excerpts from Slatkin’s own blog posts, which span from May 2020 to January 2021, consider how orchestras and other institutions are coping in light of the pandemic; responses from his audience add interest.
Though it has much practical value, Slatkin’s latest title isn’t a nuts-and-bolts guide to the conductor’s craft; rather it’s an informative, witty exploration of the role of maestros in developing their ensembles. It will appeal to anyone curious about classical music and those seeking to make careers in the performing arts.— Library Journal
Do we really need orchestras anymore? It’s questions like this one that Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra conductor laureate Leonard Slatkin poses in his newest book, Classical Crossroads. In it, Slatkin offers insights on how to solve the dilemmas facing classical music in the new millennium.— St. Louis Magazine
Leonard Slatkin has become one of the strongest writers we have about today's music world. This book is a real document in splendidly clear and lively prose. Notable is his perceptive and sobering analysis of what permanent changes in musical life we all might expect post-COVID.— William Bolcom, Grammy Award-winning composer, National Medal of Arts, Pulitzer Prize
Slatkin’s version of the 'new' American orchestra is one that looks more like 'us', plays more music written by 'us', and is led by more of 'us'. Classical Crossroads is chock full of real-world wisdom and is refreshingly hopeful, even optimistic, about the forces that will lead us to the next chapter in American music—a deep love of the musical arts themselves. — Jeff Beal, five-time EMMY winner, American composer, House of Cards
Leonard Slatkin has always been a most generous and sharing colleague. Classical Crossroads is truly an extension of his generosity, humor, insight, and immense experience. As a fellow American musician, Slatkin’s direct approach and honest appraisals, balanced with his humility and humor, resonate deeply with me. — Marin Alsop, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra
Classical Crossroads is catnip for passionate fans of classical music who wish to know what really happens behind the scenes, how it’s all organized, and where it may be headed. Any professional or aspiring artist can learn from the wealth of knowledge laid out in these pages, often spiced with humane, wry humor.— Garrick Ohlsson, Grammy Award-winning pianist, winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition