• WDCH
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic Creates New Honor for Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • Apr. 19, 2009
  • Appointment as Conductor Laureate is a Philharmonic First

    Sunday, April 19, 2009: Chairman of the Board of the Los Angeles Philharmonic David Bohnett and President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Borda today announced from the stage of Walt Disney Concert Hall the appointment of Esa-Pekka Salonen as Conductor Laureate, honoring the longest serving Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic . This is a first in the 90 year history of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    The announcement came just prior to Esa-Pekka Salonen’s last concert as Music Director – an all Stravinsky program – marking his 973rd concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Upon hearing the news, Salonen said, “When the Board asked me if I would accept the position of Conductor Laureate I was overwhelmed. This organization has been at the very center of my musical life for 17 years. I am very proud and honored that they would even consider me for such a prestigious title and it gives me great pleasure to accept. The Los Angeles Philharmonic will always play an important role in my life and this is a symbol of our continuing relationship.” This is the first time that Esa-Pekka Salonen has been recognized in such a way.

    Deborah Borda commented, “Salonen’s tenure has been extraordinary not only for its longevity but for its legacy. Esa-Pekka has literally shaped the orchestra into the ensemble we know today. As acknowledgement of our profound gratitude to him and to signify our continuing connection, the Board of Directors today appoints Esa-Pekka Salonen as Conductor Laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.”

    As Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen took a bold visionary approach that has established the Philharmonic as one of the world’s most renowned and accomplished orchestras. His stunning tenure included the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall, historic collaborations with the world’s greatest artists, celebrated tours of America, Europe and Asia, and a passionate advocacy for new music and new audiences. He will return as Conductor Laureate in the 2010/11 season.

    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 he made his American debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1984. He was recently appointed Principal Conductor of London's Philharmonia beginning this season, his last 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.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association 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. Gustavo Dudamel begins his tenure as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in fall 2009.

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  • contact:

    Sophie Jefferies, sjefferies@laphil.org, 213.972.3422; Lisa Bellamore, lbellamore@laphil.org, 213.972.3689; Lisa White, lwhite@laphil.org, 213.972.3408; Leah Price, lprice@laphil.org, 213.972.3406; Photos: 213.972.3034