Skip to page content
  • WDCH
  • Sep. 29, 2007
  • Sibelius Unbound Covers Four Weeks of Programming, Spanning Symphonic, Chamber, and Youth Orchestra Concerts, plus the World Premiere of Steven Stucky's Radical Light

    Residencies in London and Paris, and Concerts in Spain Cap Festival

    September 29 through October 26, 2007 in Los Angeles

    October 29 through November 12, 2007 in Europe

    Kicking off the fifth season at Walt Disney Concert Hall is a comprehensive look at Jean Sibelius for the first time by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Sibelius Unbound explores the legacy, influence and musical drama of the Finnish composer through symphonic, chamber, youth concert and other musical disciplines.

    "For a Finn, I discovered Sibelius relatively late in life; but getting to know his style and musical language has been a life-long journey of study and reflection," says Esa-Pekka Salonen. "In my early twenties, I thought his music represented everything I disagreed with compositionally, and made a point to avoid him. I have gained a deeper understanding and admiration of his music over the years, so now seems an appropriate time to share the true originality and power of this great composer's work."

    Jean Sibelius' music is synonymous with Finnish national identity. The core of Sibelius' repertoire is his symphonies, and Salonen surveys his seven symphonies and other orchestral works, which are contextualized by Salonen's own Wing on Wing and the world premiere of Steven Stucky's Radical Light for orchestra, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Stucky's Radical Light is a one-movement, 17-minute piece. Salonen and Stucky were each influenced by Sibelius; their works plus music by Edvard Grieg and Magnus Lindberg are coupled with the Sibelius pieces.

    Sibelius Unbound features a chamber music performance of his music and other Scandinavian composers, a Toyota Symphonies for Youth program and a concert by the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra. Following the local concerts, Salonen and the Philharmonic take the Sibelius Unbound programs on tour with residencies in Paris and London, where Finnish soprano Karita Mattila joins the orchestra for songs by Saariaho. Concerts follow in Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon.

    Sibelius Unbound explores the musical influence of the Finnish master through a number of diverse concerts:

    • Preceding the festival, newly appointed Assistant Conductor Lionel Bringuier begins his tenure with the orchestra leading two Toyota Symphonies for Youth concerts with music by Sibelius (September 29 and October 6, 2007).

    • Salonen leads the Philharmonic in Sibelius' famed Finlandia and Symphony No. 2, as well as his own Wing on Wing, with soprano Anu Komsi in her Walt Disney Concert Hall debut (October 12, 13 and 14, 2007).

    • Members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform a chamber music program of music by Sibelius and other Scandinavian composers including Grieg, Nielsen and Sallinen (October 16, 2007).

    • Salonen conducts the world premiere of Steven Stucky's Los Angeles Philharmonic-commissioned work, Radical Light, paired with Sibelius' Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7 (October 18 and 19, 2007).

    • The festival continues with Salonen conducting Sibelius Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3, and Pohjola's Daughter (October 20 and 21, 2007).

    • Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra and pianist Juho Pohjonen in a program that includes Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 5 and Sibelius' Lemminkäinen Suite (October 23, 2007).

    • Tenor Ben Heppner makes his Walt Disney Concert Hall debut with the orchestra and Salonen in songs by Sibelius (orchestrated by John Estacio), on a program with Sibelius Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6 (October 25 and 26, 2007).

    • Salonen and the orchestra take the Sibelius Unbound repertoire to Europe in the Fall, presenting the festival programs at residencies in London at the Barbican Centre and in Paris at the Salle Pleyel. Single concert dates in Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon are also included in a two-and-a-half-week tour. Finnish soprano Karita Mattila joins the Philharmonic for a London-only performance of Saariaho's songs (October 29 - November 12, 2007).

    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. The 2008/2009 season will be his final as music director with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. 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 Ligeti, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Berlioz, and Beethoven, and 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.

    Winner of the 49th Besançon Young Conductors Competition, pianist and cellist LIONEL BRINGUIER was awarded the unanimous decision of the Besançon jury, the "Prix du Public" as audience favorite, as well as the top vote of the musicians of the festival orchestra, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. Born in Nice, France in 1986, Bringuier began his musical studies at the Academy of Nice at the age of five and gave his first cello recital before the Countess of Paris at the age of nine. At thirteen, he was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (C.N.S.M.) in the cello class of Philippe Muller and furthered his academic work in chamber music, choral singing and jazz studies. In 2000, he began his conducting studies at the C.N.S.M., where he continues today under the tutelage of Zsolt Nagy. He has also participated in master classes with Peter Eötvös and Janos Fürst. In June 2004, he obtained from the C.N.S.M. his diploma in cello with "Mention Très Bien à l'unanimité" as well as a "Mention Très Bien à l'unanimité" in conducting. Other distinctions include the "Médaille d'or à l'unanimité avec les felicitations du jury à l'Académie Prince Rainier III de Monaco", the "médaille d'or" from the Lord Mayor of Nice as well as first prize in a competition organized by the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra in Ostrava. Bringuier is also a prizewinner of the Swiss Foundation Langart and the Cziffra Foundation. He is currently assistant conductor of the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris since January 2005, and regularly conducts this orchestra in concerts, and became "Chef Associé" of the Orchestre de Bretagne in December 2006.

    ANU KOMSI continues to be praised for her versatile musicianship and for her dynamic coloratura voice. Equally at home on both opera and concert stages, she has appeared regularly all over Europe and in the United States. Komsi is a versatile recitalist and chamber musician with a repertory ranging from renaissance music to cutting-edge contemporary music. Her repertoire includes over 40 operatic roles including Lulu, Zerbinetta, Norina, Stravinsky´s Nightingale, Gilda, Queen of the Night, Mysteries of Macabre by Ligeti, Philomela by James Dillon and one of her biggest successes recently has been the virtuoso role in Morton Feldman´s Neither, highly acclaimed in the international press. At Lincoln Center Festival 2007 Komsi sang George Benjamin´s "Into the Little Hill", a role specially written for her. Her collaboration with Esa-Pekka Salonen began in 1988 with the world premiere of Floof, including a recording (Warner) and since the premiere approximately 30 performances all over the world. A recent challenge for Komsi is to spearhead a new Opera Company in her hometown Kokkola. She is founder and Artistic Director of the Kokkola Opera on the Finnish West Coast. In the 2007/2008 season, Komsi will tour Europe with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Salonen, and sing her debut with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Oramo during the 2007-2008 season.

    SIBELIUS ACADEMY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA is the only music university in Finland and one of the biggest in Europe. In addition to providing the highest level of education in the field of music, the Academy engages in performance and creative art and research and is committed to fostering Finland's musical culture and cultural heritage. It also seeks active collaboration with Finnish society and participates in the development of culture.

    The history of the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra is as old as the Sibelius Academy itself (founded in 1882), but professional training did not start until 1916. The orchestra has been in its present form since the 1960's and over the years has welcomed many distinguished conductors such as Atso Almila, Paavo Berglund, Sir Colin Davis, Jussi Jalas, Arvid Jansons, Eri Klas, Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. The orchestra has also been conducted by the talented students of the Conducting Class at the Sibelius Academy, including Mikko Franck, Sakari Oramo, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and Osmo Vänskä. The orchestra is a member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras, which comprises the most distinguished pre-professional symphony orchestras in the European Union.

    The musicians of the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra are between 18 and 26 years old and engaged in the Master of Music Degree Program in Music Performance in the Department of Orchestral Instruments. The orchestra puts on four to five productions every academic year with different programs and conductors. The repertoire includes a symphonic repertoire as well as opera and music theatre. The orchestra has gone on many successful tours in Europe, China, Japan, and the USA. It has performed in Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Athens, London, Birmingham, Berlin, Vienna, Tokyo, Beijing, and New York's Carnegie Hall.

    One of the brightest young instrumental talents to emerge from Finland today, JUHO POHJONEN has attracted great attention as one of the Nordic country's most intriguing and talented pianists. Pohjonen's studies began in 1989, when he entered the Junior Academy of the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki. He has studied with Meri Louhos and Hui-Ying Liu at the Sibelius Acdemy, where he is currently completing work on a Master's degree. Pohjonen has won numerous prizes in both Finnish and international competitions and given recitals in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, Germany, Russia, and the United States. He is also an accomplished chamber musician and has been widely praised for his interpretations of music from Bach to Esa-Pekka Salonen.

    BEN HEPPNER is recognized worldwide as the finest dramatic tenor before the public today. He excels in the most challenging roles, from Wagner's Tristan and Lohengrin to Verdi's Otello and Berlioz's Aeneas. Heppner makes more than 25 concert appearances throughout Europe and North America in the current season, beginning with recitals throughout Ontario, Canada and a Gala Concert at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa. Heppner sings Sibelius songs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen with performances at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the Barbican Centre in London. Heppner joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Mahler's Eighth Symphony for James Levine's first concerts as the Orchestra's Music Director. Ben Heppner can be heard on RCA Red Seal on several solo discs, including My Secret Heart, Dedication, Ben Heppner sings German Romantic Opera, and Great Tenor Arias. Heppner studied music at the University of British Columbia. He first gained national attention in 1979 as the winner of the Canadian Broadcasting Company Talent Festival. Ben Heppner is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

    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.


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


    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2007 AT 11 AM


    Los Angeles Philharmonic

    Lionel Bringuier, conductor

    Northern Light: The Music of Sibelius

    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2007 AT 8 PM

    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2007 AT 2 PM

    SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2007 AT 2 PM


    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Anu Komsi, soprano

    TBA, soprano

    SIBELIUS Finlandia

    SALONEN Wing on Wing

    SIBELIUS Symphony No. 2

    TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2007 AT 8 PM


    NIELSEN Serenata in vano

    SIBELIUS String Quartet, "Voces intimae"

    SALLINEN String Quartet No. 3, "Some Aspects of Peltoniemi Hintrik's Funeral March"

    GRIEG String Quartet in G minor, Op. 27

    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2007 AT 8 PM

    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2007 AT 11 AM


    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    SIBELIUS Symphony No. 4

    STUCKY Radical Light (LAP commission; World premiere)

    SIBELIUS Symphony No. 7

    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2007 AT 8 PM

    SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2007 AT 2 PM


    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    SIBELIUS Pohjola's Daughter

    SIBELIUS Symphony No. 3

    SIBELIUS Symphony No. 1

    TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2007 AT 8 PM

    (as part of Sibelius Unbound)

    Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra

    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Juho Pohjonen, piano

    LINDBERG Chorale

    PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 5

    SIBELIUS Lemminkäinen Suite

    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2007 AT 8 PM

    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2007 AT 8 PM


    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Ben Heppner, tenor

    SIBELIUS Symphony No. 6

    SIBELIUS Songs (orch. Estacio)

         "Vilse" Op. 17, No. 4

         "Illalle" Op. 17, No. 6

         "Soluppgång" Op. 37, No. 3

         "Var det en dröm?" Op. 37, No. 4

         "Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte" Op. 37, No. 5

         "Säv, Säv, Susa" Op. 36, No. 4

         "Svarta Rosor" Op. 36, No. 1

    SIBELIUS Symphony No. 5


    London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon

    October 29 through November 12, 2007

    Tickets ($15 - $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 all information, please call 323.850.2000.

    # # #

  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422,; Rachelle Roe, 213.972.7310,