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News - The Los Angeles Philharmonic premieres and tours Esa-Pekka Salonen's 'Pollux'

Thursday, April 12, 2018
'Esa-Pekka Salonen makes old forms like concertos and symphonies sound fresh again'.

New York Magazine
 
 

Esa-Pekka Salonen has written a new piece called Pollux, which Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel will premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall, April 13-15. The piece was co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Gustavo Dudamel, Music and Artistic Director, and Barbican Centre, London. The LA Phil then takes Pollux on tour to Boston, Washington, DC, New York, London, and Paris from the end of April to the beginning of May. In addition to Salonen's 17-year relationship with the orchestra as their Music Director, leading to the opening of Disney Hall and the revitalisation of the orchestra as well as downtown LA, he now has a long-standing relationship with the LA Phil as a featured composer.

Salonen describes the composition process of Pollux: 'My material seemed to want to grow in two completely opposite directions. Finally, I realised that these very different musical identities (I had referred to them as brothers in my sketches) would not fit into one cohesive formal unit, a single piece. They simply couldn’t coexist. This made me think of the myth of the non-identical twins Castor and Pollux, who share half of their DNA but have some extreme phenotype differences, and experience dramatically different fates…My solution was to write two independent but genetically linked orchestral works. Pollux, slow and quite dark in expression, is the first of them. Castor, extroverted and mostly fast, will follow later'.

The LA Phil and Gustavo Dudamel's performance of Pollux on their tour in London is part of the Barbican Centre's season-long ‘Esa-Pekka Salonen Composer Focus.’ This London premiere is the last concert in the series, which has featured a huge variety of Salonen's symphonic, choral, and chamber works, in addition to the composer in conversation and a screening of a documentary about him. In London, as in LA, Boston, New York, and Paris, Pollux stands alongside Varèse's Amériques and Dmitri Shostakovich's fifth symphony. In DC, Pollux is paired with Beethoven's ninth.

This spring also marked the exciting conclusion of Salonen's three-year Composer-in-Residency at the New York Philharmonic, where he conducted a program of Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Beethoven. On June 8 the orchestra performs Salonen's Foreign Bodies, accompanied by the world premiere of a live video installation by Tal Rosner; Daníel Bjarnason’s Violin Concerto with Pekka Kuusisto, and Obsidian Tear, a dance work set to Salonen’s Nyx and Lachen verlernt, choreographed by Wayne McGregor and performed by members of the Boston Ballet. Foreign Bodies will allow the audience to mix with the musicians, who will give additional impromptu performances throughout the event. Obsidian Tear is also being revived this April-May at the Royal Ballet in London, where it was premiered.

Concerts:

April 13-15
World Premiere at the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Pollux
Edgard Varèse: Amériques
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

 
April 25
Los Angeles Philharmonic in Boston
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Pollux
Edgard Varèse: Amériques
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

 
April 26
Los Angeles Philharmonic in Washington, DC
Kennedy Center

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Pollux
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No 9

Julianna Di Giacomo, soprano
Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano
Michael König, tenor
Davone Tines, bass-baritone
Washington Chorus, Choral Arts Society of Washington, Catholic University Chorus, and members of Washington Performing Arts’ Gospel Choir

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

 
April 27
Los Angeles Philharmonic in New York
David Geffen Hall, New York, NY

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Pollux
Edgard Varèse: Amériques
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

 
May 2
Esa-Pekka Salonen Composer Focus
Barbican Centre, London, UK

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Pollux
Edgard Varèse: Amériques
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

 
May 5
Los Angeles Philharmonic in Paris
Philharmonie de Paris, France

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Pollux
Edgard Varèse: Amériques
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

 
April 14-May 11
Royal Ballet
Royal Opera House, London, UK

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Lachen verlernt and Nyx
Wayne McGregor, choreographer
Franz Liszt: Music
Frederick Ashton, choreographer
Scott Joplin: Music
Kenneth MacMillan, choreographer

 
June 8
Conclusion of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Composer-in-Residency at the New York Philharmonic
David Geffen Hall, New York, NY

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Foreign Bodies
Tal Rosner, video installation
Daníel Bjarnason: Violin Concerto
Esa-Pekka Salonen: Lachen Verlent and Nyx
Wayne McGregor, choreographer

Pekka Kuusisto, violin
Members of the Boston Ballet


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