It’s easier to find a maestro when you have a maestro,” one impatient National Symphony Board member told me at the 75th anniversary gala Saturday evening. Music director Leonard Slatkin’s contract will not be renewed at the end of the 2007-08 season. Quiet speculation about his replacement began at the gala: Lorin Maazel, the current New York Philharmonic music director, or former director emeritus of the same New York Philharmonic Kurt Mazur, former Cleveland Orchestra music director Christoph von Dohnanyi, Raphael Fruhbeck de Burgos, James Conlon and Stephane Deneve, all of who have been guest conductors. Word is that Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser has an eye on someone more international, such as Alexander Vedernikov, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Theatre. He has also guest-conducted the NSO, but some of the musicians say they aren’t so keen on him, whereas they like Slatkin. They say Slatkin has a good work ethic and uses rehearsal time well. Slatkin learned that honestly, since he’s the son of Hollywood studio musicians.
KenCen boss on Forbes list
Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen Schwarzman made Forbes’ list of the richest Americans. He’s No. 93 at $2.5 billion. He says he’s excited about the Chinese festival, which kicks off at the KenCen Saturday evening with fireworks. “The Chinese invented fireworks, the paper too, and the gunpowder,” he said.
Finding meaning in lost & found
What have you lost and found? Fourteen contemporary American novelists read original personal essays on that topic at the 25th annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction dinner at the Folger Shakespeare Library Monday evening. Former TV newsman Roger Mudd emceed the event and the topic had a wide range of meaning for each of the eclectic group of writers.
Beyond losing luggage … and an election
Jane Stanton Hitchcock, author of “Social Crimes” and “One Dangerous Lady,” wrote about losing and finding keys; Richard McCann, co-director of the creative writing program at American University, talked about one of the first gay bars he visited in D.C. with a pink neon sign saying “Lost and Found.” It was located where the new baseball stadium is proposed to be built. Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition, lost hair and found that hair can grow in the most astonishing places; he lost a punch line and found that if a story is honest, you don’t need the punch line; lost the arrogance of youth and found the arrogance of midlife jadedness. New Yorker Hilma Wolitzer lost 10 pounds and found the same 10 pounds; she lost her parents and found her grandchildren.
“What I lost was my innocence while reporting hard news for more than 30 years,” Bob Madigan said. “What I found was that innocence while covering the good news in Washington as WTOP Radio’s Man About Town.”
And so it goes … far beyond lost baggage at Dulles airport or losing an election.
Contract on Percy house
Longtime Georgetown residents, former Sen. Charles Percy and his wife, Lorraine, have listed their house on 34th Street near R Street for $3,995,000. They’re moving to Collington, Va. At press time, there was a contract on the Georgetown manse.
Sen. John Warner, Reps. Tom Davis and Jim Moran, and Carol and Clem Lascaris, Alan and Diane Kay, Gary and Gail Nordheimer, Frank and Marcia Carlucci at the Wolf Trap Gala on Friday evening. … “Mellow Yellow” Donovan lunching with Govinda Gallery owner Chris Murray discussing art at Cafe Milano Friday. … TV talker John McLaughlin and Fred Malek conversing on baseball at Washingtonian Magazine’s 40th anniversary party. … And across the room at Washingtonian, former Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., and former GOP Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf talking Native American gambling. “It’s costing the state of Mississippi a half a million dollars a day with the casinos closed” due to hurricane damage, said Fahrenkopf, now president and CEO of the American Gaming Commission.