In Monday’s (4/20) Los Angeles Times, Tim Rutten writes, “Esa-Pekka Salonen, the wunderkind turned maestro who changed the face of classical music in Los Angeles, took the podium Sunday afternoon at Walt Disney Concert Hall for the last time as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic—and left, to stormy applause and tearful embraces, as the orchestra’s first ‘conductor laureate.’ Salonen’s 17-year tenure as music director was the longest in the Philharmonic’s nine-decade history … Sunday’s concert—the 973rd in which the Finnish-born composer-conductor has led the Philharmonic—was an all-Igor Stravinsky program, his operatic oratorio ‘Oedipus Rex’ and ‘Symphony of Psalms’ staged as a single work by director Peter Sellars. … The concert was preceded by a brief video tribute to Salonen, who is stepping down to devote more time to his first love, composition. After the orchestra and chorus had taken their positions, but before the conductor had ascended the podium, David C. Bohnett, chairman of the Philharmonic’s board of directors, and President Deborah Borda announced Salonen’s appointment as conductor laureate, a title designed to signal a continuing connection between Salonen and the orchestra. … During Salonen’s tenure as music director, the Philharmonic introduced 54 commissioned works and gave 120 other pieces their world or American debuts.”

Posted April 20, 2009