Esa-Pekka Salonen on composing/conducting balancing act

Posted on: May 7, 2015

In Saturday’s (5/2) San Francisco Chronicle (subscription required), Joshua Kosman interviews conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. “His 17 years at the helm of the Los Angeles Philharmonic … demonstrated his skills at orchestra building…. And he’s an important composer, turning out innovative and virtuosic orchestral scores…. ‘I had 17 years on the hot seat,’ he says. ‘When I woke up in the morning, my first thought was about the institution, and when I went to bed, my last thought was about the institution.’ … His life has become settled, he says, since moving back to Los Angeles with his family a year ago…. He says he’s got the balance of composing and conducting down to a comfortable 50-50 split…. That will enable him to tackle two large upcoming projects connected with his composer residency with the New York Philharmonic: a new orchestral work to be conducted by [Alan] Gilbert in June 2016, and a cello concerto for Yo-Yo Ma. After that he’s planning to undertake an ‘operatic project,’ whose details are under wraps…. Asked whether there’s anyone who serves as a career model for him … Salonen points to Pierre Boulez…. ‘When you look at the sum of what he has achieved, it’s enormous.’ ”

Posted May 7, 2015