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In the 2012/13 season, composer/conductor ESA-PEKKA SALONEN commences his fifth season as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, London. Additionally, after 17 years as its Music Director, the Los Angeles Philharmonic appointed him Conductor Laureate in 2009.
Esa-Pekka Salonen’s artistic collaboration with the Philharmonia Orchestra has been dominated by landmark multi-disciplinary festivals, exploring the music of key 20th-century composers and musical movements in their widest possible cultural, social and historical context. In 2013, the Philharmonia Orchestra marks the centenary of the birth of Witold Lutosławski with Woven Words: “Music begins where words end”, a pan-European portrait of Salonen’s teacher and mentor, Witold Lutosławski. Beyond Lutosławski’s anniversary, 2013 also marks another important centenary, that of the first performance of Stravinsky’s iconic ballet The Rite of Spring. Esa-Pekka Salonen will be celebrating the work, leading the Philharmonia in performances at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris (where it was premiered in 1913) as well as at the Royal Festival Hall in London, almost 100 years to the day after it was first performed. The fall of 2012 will also see Salonen embark on an expansive tour with the Philharmonia through the United States, including a residency at the University of California, Berkeley.
Salonen holds the position of Artistic Director and co-founder of the Baltic Sea Festival, an event that annually invites celebrated orchestras, conductors and soloists to promote unity and ecological awareness among the countries around the Baltic Sea.
As a composer, Salonen’s works are regularly performed and broadcast around the world; Floof and LA Variations have become established as modern classics. His Violin Concerto won the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer prize for Music Composition. Three major retrospectives of his work (the most recent at Festival Présences Paris in February 2011, at the Stockholm International Composer Festival in October 2004 and at Musica Nova, Helsinki, in March 2003) were presented to capacity audiences and were critically acclaimed.
Salonen’s appointment with the Philharmonia cements a relationship that dates back over 25 years. He made his London conducting debut with the Orchestra in 1983, stepping in at the last minute to lead a now-legendary performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. He accepted the position of Principal Guest Conductor, which he held from 1985 to 1994, and has regularly returned to conduct the Orchestra ever since. Some of the Philharmonia’s most ambitious and important projects during this time, from Clocks and Clouds (Ligeti, 1996) to Related Rocks (Magnus Lindberg, 2001-02), took place under his artistic leadership.
In addition to the recordings of his own compositions, Esa-Pekka Salonen has a considerable discography on the Signum label (together with the Philharmonia Orchestra), Deutsche Grammophon, and Sony Classical.
Salonen’s dedication to technology, digital platforms, and outreach has been realized through his work with the Philharmonia Orchestra on a number of innovative projects. Together in 2012, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia’s Digital Department created Universe of Sound, an interactive hi-definition major installation at the Science Museum in London. In recent seasons, the award-winning RE-RITE, first exhibited in London in 2009, has gone on to appear in Portugal, China, and Turkey as well as Germany, returning to London as part of the Rite of Spring Centenary in spring 2013.
At the beginning of the 2010/11 season, Esa-Pekka Salonen began a residency at the Konzerthaus Dortmund. The project Expedition Salonen has woven his life as conductor, composer, and creator into the fabric of the Konzerthaus Dortmund’s artistic life over three consecutive seasons. He has appeared in Dortmund with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, and as part of RE-RITE in the fall of 2011.
During Salonen’s tenure with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was Music Director from 1992 until 2009, his contributions extended far beyond subscription concerts and international tours. The genesis of many unique festivals and collaborations under his leadership included a production of Saint François d’Assise at the Salzburg Festival (1992) and a Stravinsky festival together with Pierre Boulez at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris (1996). Salonen’s orchestral guest appearances are also diverse, and include regular appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony (BRSO), and the North German Radio Symphony (NDR) orchestras, as well as the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.