Born: 1958, Helsinki, Finland
"Music cannot have its full appeal without its physical aspect. That's not cultural but biological - we want to dance. Music has just as much to do with movement and body as it does with soul and intellect."
Like Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Pierre Boulez, Salonen has managed to compose within the confines of a major conducting career. After training at the Sibelius Academy in Finland, he continued composition studies with Franco Donatoni and Niccolò Castiglioni in Italy. This produced a body of modernist works emphasizing solo virtuosity, leavened with expressive humor. More recently, he has made the orchestra his principal medium in a series of powerfully structured pieces, with a colorful, idiosyncratic style broadened by minimalist influences - particularly in elements of motor energy - and a zeal for immediate impact.
Foreign Bodies (2001), Wing on Wing (2004), Insomnia (2002) Anu Komsi, Piia Komsi, sopranos; Finnish Radio Symphony, Salonen (DG)
LA Variations, Gambit, Giro, Mania, Five Images After Sappho (1996-2001) Anssi Karttunen, cello; Dawn Upshaw, soprano; Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Salonen (Sony Classical)