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Esa-Pekka Salonen



Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen made his Royal Opera debut in 1995 conducting Mathis der Maler. He made his Royal Ballet debut in 2016 conducting the world premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Obsidian Tear, set to Salonen’s orchestral work Nyx.

Salonen was born in Helsinki. He was Principal Conductor of Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra 1985–95 and Music Director of Los Angeles Philharmonic 1992–2009, where he is now Conductor Laureate. He has been closely involved with the Philharmonia since 1984 and is currently Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor for the orchestra. In 2014 he became the first Creative Chair of the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zürich, and he is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Baltic Sea Festival. He regularly performs as a guest conductor with orchestras including Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and for such opera companies as the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

Salonen is Composer in Residence with the New York Philharmonic. His most popular compositions include Floof, LA Variations, Foreign Bodies, Insomnia, Wing on Wing, his Piano Concerto and his Violin Concerto. His works have been commissioned by ensembles including Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Norddetuscher Rundfunk, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic, and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. His many awards include the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Opera and Conductor awards, the Litteris et Artibus Medal, the Pro Finlandia Medal, the Helsinki Medal and the Nemmers Composition Prize. His is an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

News and features

Ballet Essentials: Obsidian Tear / The Invitation / Within the Golden Hour

24 May 2016
Ballet Essentials: <em>Obsidian Tear</em> / <em>The Invitation</em> / <em>Within the Golden Hour</em>

Our quick introduction to this mixed programme of works by great British choreographers — Kenneth MacMillan, Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor.

Watch: Wayne McGregor rehearses Obsidian Tear with The Royal Ballet 

4 May 2016
Watch: Wayne McGregor rehearses <em>Obsidian Tear</em> with The Royal Ballet 

Join Wayne McGregor in rehearsal for his new ballet.