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Berlin Philharmonic Appoints Esa-Pekka Salonen as Composer in Residence

The Finnish conductor and composer will step into the role for the 2022/23 season.

As current Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Esa-Pekka Salonen is the Conductor Laureate for London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, after serving as Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor from 2008 until 2021. He was also Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic where he serbed from 1992 until 2009, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

He is currently in the Multiverse Esa-Pekka Salonen, a two-season residency as both composer and conductor of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. As a member of the faculty of LA's Colburn School, he leads the pre-professional Negaunee Conducting Program.

He is the cofounder of the annual Baltic Sea Festival and, in 2020, was awarded an honorary KBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music and UK-Finland relations.

At the Berlin Philharmonic, concerts will include a wide range of Salonen’s music from the Dada inspired Karawane, to his most recent chamber piece Saltat Sobrius, and the German premiere of the organ concerto.

As a composer, he has an extensive catalog of compositions, written for a multitude of soloists and ensemble types. In the upcoming season, his works will be performed by Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Ballet, Musique 21, the Seattle Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, among others.

“I write music that touches something in me," Salonen said, in Berlin Philharmonic's announcement. "Initially, I also see myself as a receiver, as a listener. When I write a piece, I first play it in my own head. If the listener in me thinks it is good and interesting, exciting or moving, then I write it down. If I like it myself, there’s a good chance that others, maybe many, will like it too.”

“I want music – and especially my music – to be part of society," he continued. "What I can’t stand are people who take themselves too seriously. There always has to be room for irony and laughter, otherwise life would be unbearable.”

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