San Francisco Symphony names Esa-Pekka Salonen music director, plus eight artistic partners

Posted on: December 6, 2018

“Esa-Pekka Salonen, the coolly brilliant Finnish conductor and composer who is among the world’s most dynamic, versatile and celebrated musical figures, has been named the next music director of the San Francisco Symphony,” writes Joshua Kosman in Wednesday’s (12/5) San Francisco Chronicle. “Salonen, 60, will succeed Michael Tilson Thomas at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, when Thomas steps down.” Salonen begins music director designate immediately, and will exit as principal conductor of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra at the end of the 2020-2021 season. “Salonen has been a guest conductor with the San Francisco Symphony three times…. Salonen will start with a five-year contract…. Salonen is gearing up to explore ways of revitalizing the concert experience…. The initiatives he has spearheaded in Los Angeles [as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic] and London include a range of multidisciplinary approaches involving lighting, dance, theater and virtual reality…. One of Salonen’s first steps has been to assemble a collection of younger artists … with whom he can consult and collaborate on ambitious projects.” The eight artists will serve as creative partners in a new artistic leadership model at the orchestra. “They include such figures as soprano Julia Bullock, composer Nico Muhly, bassist-composer Esperanza Spalding and flutist Claire Chase.”

Posted December 6, 2018

Photo of Esa-Pekka Salonen by Andrew Eccles