Part of the Listen to This Audio Guide
During the last of Esa-Pekka Salonen's seventeen seasons as the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the orchestra set up a commemorative website titled Celebrate Salonen. Many hours of audio and video can be found in the Media section of the site, including footage of Salonen's very first rehearsal with the orchestra, back in 1984 (go to Video and scroll down to One Minute, Maestro). I first interviewed Salonen in 1994, for the New York Times. I also prepared a Salonen discography. An hour-long documentary by Maggy Fellman (first part below, rest available on YouTube) gives a close look at Salonen during his last years in Los Angeles.
Salonen got his start as a conductor while working with fellow young Finnish composers in the collective Ears Open! (pp. 109-110). Here is the ferocious opening of Magnus Lindberg's 1985 piece Kraft, with a conventional orchestra augmented by all manner of junk-metal percussion:
Salonen conducting the Swedish Radio Symphony; Finlandia 372 [out of print].
Kaija Saariaho, another member of Ears Open!, also benefited from Salonen's advocacy. This is the opening of Saariaho's 1990 orchestral piece ...à la fumée, with electronically modified alto flute and cello:
Salonen conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ondine 804.
Salonen made his L.A. debut in 1984, conducting Witold Lutosławski's Third Symphony. Here are two extracts from this late-twentieth-century masterwork, a fusion of avant-garde and Romantic traditions:
Salonen conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sony 66280.
The section "Augurs of Spring" from Salonen's classic L.A. showpiece, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring:
In this video you can see Salonen conducting first Sibelius's Fifth Symphony and then his own L.A. Variations:
The final minutes of the first movement of John Adams's Naïve and Sentimental Music, which Salonen and the L. A. Phil premiered in 1999 (p. 114):