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Esa-Pekka Salonen, who was born in 1958 in Helsinki, studied at the Sibelius Academy in the Finnish capital. His subjects included horn with Holger Fransman, conducting with Jorma Panula, and composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara. He made his conducting debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1979 and was named head of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1985, where he remained for ten years. From 1992 to 2009 Salonen was Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and since the 2008-09 season he has been Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, where, at the beginning of his career, he had also served for nine years as Principal Guest Conductor. Since 2003 he has been Artistic Director of the Baltic Sea Festival, which he cofounded. As a guest conductor, Salonen has appeared with many acclaimed ensembles on both sides of the Atlantic and has performed in opera productions at such venues as the Salzburg Festival, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala in Milan, and the Opéra National of Paris. In the 2012-13 season he focused on the works of Witold Lutoslawski, who was born 100 years ago; at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in July, he also conducted a production of Strauss’s Elektra staged by Patrice Chéreau. Especially valued as an interpreter of contemporary music, Salonen has additionally won international acclaim as a composer, garnering such distinctions as the UNESCO Rostrum Prize and the Grawemeyer Award. His works have been performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic and, in 2011, at the Festival Présences in Paris. Salonen, who has won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Conductor Award, is an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, an Honorary Doctor of the Sibelius Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on April 10, 1993 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Nielsen.