Esa-Pekka Salonen’s restless innovation drives him constantly to reposition classical music in the 21st century. He is currently the principal conductor and artistic advisor of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and the conductor laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This is his final of three seasons as The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic and his second of five as artist-in-association at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. Additionally, Mr. Salonen is artistic director and cofounder of the annual Baltic Sea Festival, now in its 16th year, which invites celebrated artists to promote unity and ecological awareness among the countries around the Baltic Sea. He serves as an advisor to the Sync Project, a global initiative to harness the power of music for human health.
Mr. Salonen’s compositions move freely between contemporary idioms, combining intricacy and technical virtuosity with playful rhythmic and melodic innovations. The Los Angeles Philharmonic performs all of Mr. Salonen’s concertos in February 2018, with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Yefim Bronfman, and violinist Leila Josefowicz — the musicians for whom the works were written. The Violin Concerto won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award and was featured in a 2014 international Apple ad campaign for iPad. The Barbican Centre in London has a season-long focus on Mr. Salonen’s music, including the European Premiere of a new work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Salonen and the Philharmonia have experimented in groundbreaking ways to present music, with the first major virtual-reality production from a U.K. symphony orchestra; the award-winning RE-RITE and Universe of Sound installations, which have allowed people all over the world to conduct, play, and step inside the orchestra through audio and video projections; and The Orchestra, the much-hailed app for iPad that allows users unprecedented access to the internal workings of eight symphonic works.