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Esa-Pekka Salonen, iPads, and Turning 50

Esa-Pekka Salonen, c. Benjamin Suomela

Esa-Pekka Salonen, c. Benjamin Suomela

Wednesday at 8:00 pm


He was hailed as a wunderkind when he seized the reigns of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at 34, half the age of other prominent conductors. Many observed that his boyish good looks made him seem even younger, but the people of Los Angeles quickly discovered this much-hyped maestro to be an intense and serious musician.

“This sense of having reached a watershed was heightened by the fact that I turned 50, the kind of number that brutally wipes out any hallucinations of still being young.”

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Violinist Leila Josefowicz

 

In 2009, seventeen years later, the Finnish conductor stepped down from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to focus on composition. “It felt like a seismic shift in my life, and during the composing process of “Violin Concerto” I felt that I was somehow trying to sum up everything I had learned and experienced up to that point in my life as a musician. This sense of having reached a watershed was heightened by the fact that I turned 50, the kind of number that brutally wipes out any hallucinations of still being young.”

But like any seismic shift, one never knows how the earth will settle beneath one’s feet. New technologies emerged, and Salonen had begun a new relationship as principal conductor and artistic adviser of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra in 2008.

Today, halfway through his fifth decade of life, he circles the globe as guest conductor, making regular stops in LA and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With the Philharmonia he issued “The Orchestra” app for iPad in 2012. This year, Salonen became the subject of an Apple commercial featuring his Violin Concerto (2009) and Leila Josefowicz as soloist. According to Alex Ross of The New Yorker, the Apple commercial collected over 100,000 views in a day. Apple also produced a slick web feature, including a free download of the concerto.

Since his departure from the position of music director in Los Angeles, Mr. Salonen has premiered only two of his own compositions, an orchestral piece called NYX, and a choral setting of Dona Nobis Pacem.

Esa-Pekka Salonen now serves as conductor laureate to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He returned to LA’s Disney Concert Hall to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its opening with violinist Leila Josefowicz and the Violin Concerto. Hear that concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Wednesday, October 21 at 8:00 pm

More on Esa-Pekka Salonen.

 

 

 

 

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