Finnish orchestral conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen was born in Helsinki on 30 June 1958, and grew up listening to the music of Beethoven and Bruckner. Hearing Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony whilst in his early teens kindled his interest in composition. He studied horn and composition at the Sibelius Academy, and conducting with Jorma Panula. With fellow composer Magnus Lindberg he formed the new music appreciation group Korvat auki ('Ears open') and the experimental music ensemble Toimii ('It works'). He continued his composition studies with Franco Donatoni, Niccolo Castiglioni and Einojuhani Rautavaara.
His conducting début was with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1979, conducting his own compositions. His conducting career was launched in 1983 when he took over a performance in London of Mahler's Symphony No 3 from Michael Tilson-Thomas at short notice.
In 1992 he became the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra's tenth music director, and during a seventeen year tenure, he has launched festivals of music and collaborated with the orchestra to record music by Stravinsky, Lutoslawsky and Kaija Saariaho - Salonen's colleague from the Sibelius Academy.
A selection of M&V articles about Esa-Pekka Salonen
Ensemble. Different Women - 'Electra' and 'Elena' at Aix-en-Provence, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Great Evening - Beethoven and Dallapiccola from Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, heard by Bill Newman
Ensemble. Stunning Portrayals - Debussy and Bartók, reviewed by Bill Newman
Ensemble. Beautifully Played - Bill Newman attends two orchestral concerts at London's Royal Festival Hall
Ensemble. Faith and the Devil - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on Janácek and Strauss at the Salzburg Summer Festival
CD Spotlight. Powerfully Atmospheric - Arvo Pärt's Symphony No 4, heard by Patric Standford. '... calm, simple and strong.'
Ensemble. Consummate Virtuosity - Bryn Terfel, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Hindemith and Wagner, appreciated by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. A Surefire Winner - A recital by Lin Jiang and Benjamin Martin, recommended by Howard Smith. '... superbly performed.'
Profile. Rich Musical Experiences - American conductor Joel Revzen talks to Maria Nockin