If I Win The Lottery Tonight... Leonard Slatkin, Conductor

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Indy Lifestyle Online
THE FIRST thing I'd do if I suddenly won the lottery would be to put an amount of money away for my four-and-a-half-year-old son's education. Then I would try to secure a way of funding more arts education in all public schools in the United States, because I think it's one of the great weaknesses in the system over there at the moment.

Young people in the public sector do not receive as much education in music, painting and drama as they used to, because we have cut the funding for them in favour of science and mathematics. This is despite the fact that exposure to the arts at a young age improves their scores in other subjects. The program would start as soon as children started school and part of the money would have to go towards training people to teach properly.

In a similar vein, we need to make sure the US has more exposure to the higher forms of culture. Unlike countries such as the UK, France and Germany, the States does not have that many options for exposure to great drama and music on radio or television. For some reason, it's just not the way we operate, even though we used to have it all the time.

I'd also buy myself a plane. If I bought a little jet I wouldn't be subject to the ridiculous timetables of the airlines which never fly when I need them to. I hate flying. In fact, I'm petrified of flying. I don't like getting on airplanes at all but if I'm going to do it, I might as well be in my own plane.

I certainly wouldn't quit what I'm doing now. So few people get the chance to do what I do. But perhaps I could be a little more exclusive in what I chose to do, as I wouldn't have to think about how much money I was earning.

Leonard Slatkin is principal guest conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra and launches Part I of "Czech Connections" at the Bedford Corn Exchange, tonight (01234 269 519). "Discovering Music With Leonard Slatkin" is on BBC Radio 3 at 6pm daily from Monday to 1 January.

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