Esa-Pekka Salonen is coming to the end of his run at the L.A. Philharmonic, and the tributes are mounting. This weekend the L.A. Times landed a package of stories on the maestro and put up an online gallery of the Salonen years in Los Angeles. Here's music critic Mark Swed:
In November 1984, a reserved, unknown, 26-year-old Finnish composer made his U.S. debut by conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He looked like a teenage movie star and tended to stare at his feet when he spoke in public. He was dynamic and startlingly confident on the podium, but, as he once put it, he was "absolutely not warm" by L.A. standards.
In 1992, still baby-faced and matinee-idol material, he became the music director of the orchestra....
The Esa-Pekka Salonen who will conduct his last concert as the Los Angeles Philharmonic music director next Sunday afternoon is an open, communicative, imaginative artist -- among the most beloved of our town and time. His funny name is, here, a household name. His image is an iconic L.A. image that has been plastered on billboards, east side and west, for years. And he is widely hailed as having produced the most successful model anywhere for making a traditional symphonic orchestra an accessible part of a modern city's fabric.
Here's a New York Times review.