In Monday’s (11/28) Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed writes, “Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto has won the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. The award is generally considered the most prestigious international honor for a new score; past winners have been several such masters of modern music as Witold Lutoslawski, György Ligeti and Pierre Boulez. A farewell to Los Angeles, the concerto was completed and premiered in 2009 during Salonen’s emotional final weeks as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It has since been played around the world. … The 2012 Grawemeyer, which honors the winner with $100,000, is also further acknowledgement of the L.A. Phil as a leader in contemporary music during Salonen’s 17 years as music director. The orchestra now becomes the only one to have commissioned and premiered two Grawemeyer winners, the other having been Peter Lieberson’s ‘Neruda Songs,’ which Salonen premiered in 2005. As a result, Salonen becomes the only conductor to have led the premieres of two winning scores—the Lieberson and his own concerto. Salonen and the L.A. Phil were also the first to record Lutoslawski’s Third Symphony, which won the first Grawemeyer in 1985, and Salonen was also the first to record Kaija Saariaho’s opera ‘L’Amour de Loin,’ the 2003 winner.”

Posted November 28, 2011