Known as both a composer and conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen is principal conductor and artistic advisor for the Philharmonia Orchestra and music director designate of the San Francisco Symphony; the 2020–21 season is his first as music director. He is also artist-in-association at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and recently joined the faculty of the Colburn School, leading the Negaunee Conducting Program. He is the conductor laureate of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was music director, 1992–2009. He co-founded the annual Baltic Sea festival, serving as artistic director from 2003 to 2018.
In 2019–20 Mr. Salonen tours the Philharmonia Orchestra across Europe and Asia and completes Weimar Berlin: Bittersweet Metropolis, a series celebrating Weimar-era German composers such as Weill, Hindemith, and Berg. He begins his first Ring Cycle with the Finnish National Opera, conducting Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. In February he conducts two weeks of programming with the San Francisco Symphony. In recent years he has experimented with groundbreaking ways to present music with the first major virtual-reality production from a UK symphony orchestra, the award-winning RE-RITE and Universe of Sound installations, and the iPad app The Orchestra. His Grawemeyer Award–winning Violin Concerto was featured in a 2014 international Apple iPad ad campaign.
Also this season, 11 of Mr. Salonen’s works are programmed around the world, including Nyx at the Aspen Music Festival; his Piano and Violin Concertos at the Philharmonic Orchestra of Hradec Králové and Santa Cruz Symphony, respectively; and his Cello Concerto at the SWR Symphony Orchestra and Tampere Philharmonic. He conducts his Cello Concerto on tour with the Philharmonia, with Truls Mørk as soloist, and his Violin Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony, with original soloist Leila Josefowicz. He conducts the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic orchestras in the premiere of Gemini, comprising the newly composed Castor alongside the 2018 Pollux.
As the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 17 years, Mr. Salonen is widely credited with revitalizing the organization; this season he brings his Weimar programming to the orchestra.
Esa-Pekka Salonen’s extensive recording career includes Dutilleux’s Correspondances with the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France (Deutsche Grammophon) and Lutosławski’s orchestral works with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Recent recordings include his Cello Concerto with Yo-Yo Ma (Sony), Stravinsky’s Persephone (Pentatone Music), and a 61-disc box set of all Salonen’s recordings for Sony.