“I’m very lucky to work with the Philharmonic during a period that I’m sure will become known as one of its golden periods,” Esa-Pekka Salonen has said of his appointment as our Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence.
We’re kicking off the three-year tenure September 25–26 with our performance of Salonen’s LA Variations. The great composer-conductor recalls the state of mind that inspired the piece:
I quite often think of a particular morning in Santa Monica in the mid-’90s. I woke up early and went down to the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee. Then I sat there and wondered, why do I feel so strange? And then I realized I was happy, which for a Finnish person is not a normal state of mind. But I also felt profoundly free. I realized that I had been in L.A. long enough to feel free of the European modernist tradition I was brought up in, where everything was forbidden. More or less that day I made the first sketches for LA Variations, which, for me, is a seminal piece. Even today when I hear this piece performed, it takes me back to that very happy morning.
Alan Gilbert will bring great enthusiasm to conducting the September performances:
I love LA Variations. I feel very close to its explosion of energy that is as appropriate to New York as it is to Los Angeles. Of course there will be pressure when I conduct it, with Esa-Pekka sitting in the audience, but turning over a piece to other interpreters is a crucial stage in the life of a great work like this.
And there's much more to come! Learn more about Salonen and his multifaceted residency, and watch a video with his thoughts about it, here.