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  • WDCH
  • May. 23, 2008
  • Cellist Anssi Karttunen Makes His Walt Disney Concert Hall Debut in Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain


    SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2008, AT 2 PM

    The May 24 Concert is Generously Sponsored by Breguet –The Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

    Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in three performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Friday and Saturday, May 23 and 24, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 25, at 2 p.m. The program includes Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain, featuring Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen, and Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.

    Stravinsky started composing Symphony in Three Movements in 1942, but didn’t complete the New York Philharmonic-commissioned work until 1945, during the final days of World War II. While composing, he frequently changed his mind about the shape the work would take, knowing only that it would include a concertante part for solo piano. The second movement comes from Stravinsky’s ill-fated attempt to write music for the film version of Franz Werfel’s novel Song of Bernadette. Though it did not work for the film, the music, which featured a prominent part for the solo harp, became the second movement of the Symphony. For the finale he chose to spotlight both the piano and the harp. Stravinsky described how both film and the war provided inspiration for the Symphony with the statement, “Each episode of the Symphony is linked in my imagination with a specific cinematographic impression of the war…”

    Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain was written in 1970 for Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich. Each of the five movements begins with a fragment of verse from poet Charles Baudelaire, though these are meant to suggest a character or mood for the music, not to provide a programmatic narrative. The first movement, which begins with an extended cello recitative, is remarkable in the unhurried way in which the other instruments are introduced. As the cello becomes more agitated, it begins to interact with a wider variety of discrete orchestral timbres. The second movement relies mainly on a plaintive cello melody placed most often in the high register. The third movement takes a seascape as its point of departure gleaning inspiration from Baudelaire’s line, “You contain, ebony sea, a dazzling dream of sails, or rowers, of flames and masts…” The fourth movement returns to a slow meditative cello-dominated movement and the fifth opens with a raucous explosion.

    Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta with its distinctive choice of instruments – two string orchestras and a percussion battery – and intense expressiveness was written on commission from Swiss conductor Paul Sacher, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of his Basle Chamber Orchestra. The first movement is dominated by a creeping, irregular motif established by the violas of both groups presenting a theme that is actually the subject of a fugue. The second movement features an antiphonal exchange between the two string orchestras exploited to the fullest. The third movement epitomizes the special world that exists for Bartók’s “night music” of atmospheric, endlessly evocative musical combinations. The finale features all the elements for an edge-of-the-seat musical adventure – wildness, percussiveness, syncopation and rapidly changing meters, and the movement ends with the dance theme racing to a dramatic finish.

    Karttunen has worked with outstanding orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, the London Sinfonietta, the NHK Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the SWR Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Ensemble Modern, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Residentie Orchestra, the Dutch Radio Philharmonic, the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Barcelona Opera Orchestra, the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the Danish Radio Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the RAI Torino, the Luxembourg Philharmonic, the Finnish Radio Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, Avanti! and many others. Though he has previously performed with fellow countryman Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, this appearance marks his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall one hour prior to the concerts and are free to all ticket holders. Robert Fink, Associate Musicology Professor at UCLA, hosts.

    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, who was born in Helsinki in 1958, studied at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. In 1979, he made his conducting debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and his American debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1984. He was recently appointed Principal Conductor of London's Philharmonia. In addition, Salonen has won acclaim for his work as a composer. Among the many highlights of Salonen's career with the Los Angeles Philharmonic have been world premieres of works by composers John Adams, Franco Donatoni, Anders Hillborg, William Kraft, Magnus Lindberg, Witold Lutoslawski, Bernard Rands, Kaija Saariaho, Rodion Shchedrin, Steven Stucky, Tan Dun and Augusta Read Thomas, as well as his own works. He has led critically-acclaimed festivals of music by Sibelius, Ligeti, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Berlioz and Beethoven, as well as the Tristan Project. He and the Philharmonic have toured extensively since 1992. In October of 2003, Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic opened Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry. In March 2003, Salonen signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. The following year, DG released a disc devoted to his recent orchestral works, featuring Foreign Bodies, Insomnia and Wing on Wing. In January 2006, Salonen and the Philharmonic recorded their first CD together for DG, the first live recording at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Salonen and the Philharmonic also have four live concert recordings available for download on iTunes from DG Concerts. Before signing with DG, Salonen recorded regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Sony Classical. Salonen is the recipient of several major awards including the Siena Prize from the Accademia Chigiana in 1993, the first conductor ever to receive the prize; the Royal Philharmonic Society's Opera Award in 1995; and their Conductor Award in 1997. In 1998, he was awarded the rank of Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. Musical America named him 2006 Musician of the Year.

    Finnish cellist ANSSI KARTTUNEN is one of the most renowned and versatile musicians in the classical music world today and enjoys a busy career as a soloist and chamber-music player. He performs on modern cello, classical and baroque cellos and on violoncello piccolo. His passionate advocacy of contemporary music and his collaboration with composers has led him to give over 50 world premieres of works by composers such as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Rolf Wallin, Luca Francesconi and Tan Dun. He gave the world premieres of Lindberg's Cello Concerto in 1999 with Orchestre de Paris, Esa-Pekka Salonen's Mania in 2000 with Avanti!, Martin Matalon’s Cello Concerto in 2001 with Orchestre National de France and Francesconi's Cello Concerto in 2004 with RAI Torino. The Boston Symphony Orchestra commissioned a Concerto from Saariaho for Karttunen, which received its world premiere in February 2007 and its European premiere in March 2007 with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He performs at major festivals in Europe including Edinburgh, Salzburg, Lockenhaus, Spoleto, Berlin, Venice, Montpellier, Strasbourg and Helsinki. Karttunen’s discography ranges from the complete Beethoven works for cello and fortepiano (on period instruments) and 20th-century works for solo cello to concertos with London Sinfonietta and Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen. He is a founding member of, a non-profit organisation for the production and sales of CDs on the Internet. He appears on the first contemporary music CD-ROM: Prisma, on music of Saariaho. Deutsche Grammophon issued a DVD of Dun's The Map for cello, orchestra and video, and Sony Classical released the Cello Concertos by Lindberg, Saariaho and Salonen on CD. Karttunen’s teachers included Erkki Rautio, William Pleeth, Jacqueline du Pré and Tibor de Machula. He has served as artistic director of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, the 1995 Helsinki Biennale and the Suvisoitto-Festival in Porvoo, Finland. He was also principal cellist of the London Sinfonietta and has appeared as conductor in Antwerp and led the Los Angeles Philharmonic Cello Ensemble. Karttunen plays a cello by Francesco Ruggeri.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music — Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2008, at 8 PM

    SATURDAY, MAY 24, 2008, at 8 PM

    SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2008, at 2 PM

    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    Los Angeles Philharmonic

    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor


    STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements

    DUTILLEUX Tout un monde lointain

    BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

    The May 24 concert is generously sponsored by Breguet – The Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall one hour prior to the concerts and are free to all ticket holders. Robert Finke, Associate Musicology Professor at UCLA, hosts.

    Tickets ($40 - $142) are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($15) are released for sale to selected Philharmonic, Colburn Celebrity Recital, and Baroque Variations performances two weeks prior to the concert. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full-time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422,; Photos: 213.972.3034