Esa-Pekka Salonen is known as both a composer and conductor. He is music director of the San Francisco Symphony, where he works alongside eight Collaborative Partners from a variety of disciplines, ranging from composers to roboticists. He is conductor laureate for London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He is in the midst of Multiverse Esa-Pekka Salonen, a two-season residency at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, and is composer-in-residence with the Berlin Philharmonic. As a member of the faculty of Los Angeles’s Colburn School, he develops, leads, and directs the pre-professional Negaunee Conducting Program. Salonen co-founded, and from 2003 until 2018 served as the artistic director for, the annual Baltic Sea Festival.
Salonen brings his longstanding affinity for emerging technologies to the San Francisco Symphony. In his first two seasons as music director, he has led a series of signature projects including an AI-infused take on the music of Györgi Ligeti and the Grammy-nominated Throughline, and reshaped the symphony into a powerhouse of the unexpected, equally comfortable with live performance and expansive new-media projects.
In 2023 Salonen premieres his Organ Concerto with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Additional Salonen works this season include kínemá with the New York Philharmonic and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Gemini with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; his Cello Concerto with the Seattle Symphony, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and The Cleveland Orchestra; and LA Variations with the Helsinki Philharmonic.
Esa-Pekka Salonen has an extensive and varied recording career, both as a conductor and composer. His recent recordings include Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs recorded with Lise Davidsen and the Philharmonia Orchestra; Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin and Dance Suite also with the Philharmonia; Stravinsky’s Perséphone featuring Andrew Staples, Pauline Cheviller, and the Finnish National Opera; and a 2018 box set of his complete Sony recordings. His compositions appear on releases from Sony, Deutsche Grammophon, and Decca; his Piano Concerto (with Yefim Bronfman), Violin Concerto (with Leila Josefowicz), and Cello Concerto (with Yo-Yo Ma) all appear on recordings conducted by Salonen himself.