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  • The LA Phil, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, in partnership with Sony Classical, presents Salonen's Cello Concerto featuring Yo-Yo Ma
  • Mar. 4, 2019
  • The Los Angeles Philharmonic,
    conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen,
    in partnership with Sony Classical, presents

    Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Cello Concerto,
    featuring Yo-Yo Ma

    Pre-Order: Available now
    Release Date:  March 8, 2019


    Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in partnership with Sony Classical, present a live recording of Salonen’s Cello Concerto featuring Yo-Yo Ma, set for digital and physical release on Friday, March 8, 2019.


    The approximately 30-minute concerto includes scoring for electronics and begins with “a simple thought emerging out of a complex landscape. Almost like consciousness developing from clouds of dust,” in Salonen's words. The second, main movement follows with “slow cello arches... looped to create harmony from single lines.” This is followed by a third movement that is “often dance-like; sometimes gesticulating wildly, perhaps from the sheer joy of no longer having to do with clouds and processes.” Salonen concludes: “Finally, the kinetic energy burns itself out gently, the rapid movement slows down, and the cello line climbs slowly up to a stratospherically high B-flat, two centimeters to the left from the highest note of the piano.”

    Salonen has noted that some ideas for the piece “can be traced back at least three decades, but the actual material for the piece was mostly developed in the summer of 2015, when I decided to spend a few months researching new kinds of textures without a concrete plan for how to use them." Salonen and Ma are long-time friends and collaborators, having worked together on many projects in the 27 years since Salonen first led Ma in a performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1992. Salonen says, “It has been a very great pleasure and honor to write a concerto for one of the most unique life-givers and communicators of our time, Yo-Yo Ma. It has been inspiring to know that his technique knows no limits. Perhaps more important: nor does his imagination.”

    The concerto has been met with critical and popular acclaim: Mark Swed of the 
    Los Angeles Times deemed it “radiant and surprisingly hopeful.” Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times described the piece as “restive, cosmic, and formidably difficult,” and John Von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune noted that the concerto “is as much a showpiece for [Ma’s] stupendous instrumental gift as it is a study in opposing forces – think quiescent clouds of lyricism giving way to punchy hyperactivity, and back again."

    Co-commissioned for Ma by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Barbican Centre, and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Salonen's Cello Concerto premiered on March 9, 2017, with Salonen himself conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

    Esa-Pekka Salonen: Cello Concerto
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
    Yo-Yo Ma, cello
    Recorded live, February 2018, at Walt Disney Concert Hall
    Sound design and electronics by Ella Wahlstrom. 

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    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber, and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music, and pop – at two of L.A.’s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall ( and the Hollywood Bowl ( The LA Phil’s season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from September through June and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education, and community programs.


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    Laura Cohen,, 310 867 3897