Esa-Pekka Salonen is principal conductor and artistic advisor of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was music director from 1992 until 2009. The 2016–17 season is his first of five as artist-in-association of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. Mr. Salonen is also artistic director and co-founder of the annual Baltic Sea Festival, now in its 14th year, which invites celebrated artists to promote unity and ecological awareness among the countries around the Baltic Sea.
In the 2016–17 season Mr. Salonen conducts the premieres of a piano concerto by Haukur Tómasson, a concerto for four horns by Tansy Davies (and reprises the work in its New York Premiere with the New York Philharmonic), and Stravinsky’s newly rediscovered Funeral Song, thought to have been lost in the Russian Revolution. With the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mr. Salonen co-curates the Reykjavík Festival, bringing Iceland’s contemporary music scene together with the orchestra for four days. At Carnegie Hall he conducts three concerts with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, which he led in Richard Strauss’s Elektra, one of the most critically praised productions of The Met’s 2015–16 season.
Esa-Pekka Salonen’s compositions combine intricacy and technical virtuosity with playful rhythmic and melodic innovations. In the 2016–17 season the New York Philharmonic will give the New York Premiere of his new Cello Concerto, with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist; rejoin Mr. Ma in the European Premiere of the Cello Concerto on the EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour; and give the New York Premiere of Mr. Salonen’s Wing on Wing, which was written for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s inaugural season at the Frank Gehry–designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and includes recordings of Southern California’s plainfin midshipman fish and distorted samples of Mr. Gehry’s voice. The Cello Concerto will also be performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Salonen.
Mr. Salonen and the Philharmonia continue their groundbreaking experimentation with how to present music with a digital takeover of the Southbank Centre, featuring the first major virtual-reality production from a U.K. symphony orchestra, as well as the Philharmonia’s 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. Mr. Salonen also drove the development of a much-hailed app for iPad, The Orchestra, which allows the user unprecedented access to the internal workings of eight symphonic works. He also serves as an advisor to the Sync Project, a global initiative to harness the power of music for human health.