Detroit Symphony Orchestra music director Leonard Slatkin is resting in a hospital in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, after undergoing an angioplasty and stent procedure on Sunday to unblock a clogged artery following a heart attack.

Speaking via e-mail today from his hospital bed, Slatkin, 65, said he had experienced chest pains during the week before a concert with the Rotterdam Philharmonic but dismissed them as indigestion.

“At the Sunday concert, I started having trouble with chest pain and I was sweating more than usual,” said Slatkin. “Again, I thought it would go away but it stuck around. I sort of collapsed in the dressing room and a medical team from the hall was sent in. Five minutes later I was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.”

Whoa. Pretty amazing.

But it’s so true that we are trained to continue no matter what. I’ve rarely seen a musician leave the stage during a performance. And when I have, it’s been a string player (**Please read dk’s comment; she makes a good point about strings). Really. I’ve never seen a conductor, wind player or percussionist exit the stage during a performance. (Well, except when the musician has an off stage part!) I think we have two things going on: we really do believe “The show must go on,” and we are all one on a part (or podium) and feel as if we simply can’t leave.


So … are readers out there making sure they have their annual doctor visits? (I was a good girl; I just had mine.) 🙂


  1. Another factor: when string players leave the stage it’s often because they broke a string, and why stay if you can’t keep playing?

    Um, doctor visits? I’ve been to the ER 3 times in the past 2 weeks – does that count? 😉 (for one parent or the other, not me!)

  2. Too true; and we have our reeds right there … if one breaks, we pull out another one. (And in my case, I pull out yet another awful one.)

    SO sorry about the visits. You are in a most difficult time. 🙁