Rhinegold Photo credit: Benjamin Ealovega

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Finnish National Opera and Ballet appoints Salonen as artist-in-association

4:55, 18th August 2016

Finnish National Opera and Ballet (FNOB) has appointed Esa-Pekka Salonen as its first artist-in-association.

He will assume the newly created, five-year position with the 2016/17 season.

Salonen will take on responsibilities as a conductor, composer, artistic advisor and ambassador. He will also act as an ambassador for the FNOB in developing new partnerships, and will mentor emerging Finnish conductors.

His first podium appearance will be conducting Elektra (2-15 September). Future conducting duties include the four premieres of the FNOB’s new Ring cycle beginning in 2019.

‘We have always been interested in the art and thinking of Esa-Pekka Salonen, whether as a conductor, a composer or a cultural personality. We are pleased that at this point in his remarkable career he is willing to commit to wide-ranging support of Finnish opera and ballet. He will inspire both performers and audiences,’ says Lilli Paasikivi, artistic director of the Finnish National Opera.

Salonen has conducted three of the company’s productions – Gisele (1981)Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin (2004) and Strauss’s Salome (2005) – in addition to a concert in 1999.

He is also principal conductor and artistic advisor with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor laureate with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as Marie-Josée Kravis composer-in-residence at the New York Philharmonic, and artistic director and co-founder of the Baltic Sea Festival.

‘During the last 30 years, the majority of my work as a conductor and composer has taken place abroad. It feels good to finally make long-term plans in my native country, and especially at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, where the flame of artistic ambition is bright and powerful,’ Salonen said.

‘Opera interests me more and more as an art form, and I’m very enthusiastic and excited about the future collaboration with the excellent team of the FNOB.’


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