Salonen | Tunnels and Halls

Salonen | Tunnels and Halls
Perhaps it is the exquisite construction of his scores or the sense of grandeur that his music imposes on its audiences, but regardless of its reason, the art of architecture and the works of Esa-Pekka Salonen so easily go hand in hand.

We are of course alluding to Salonen’s Wing on Wing, inspired by the bold and swooping shapes of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, which returns to its home this spring – part of a focus on the composer’s music. But now an exciting new project in London brings together the Dadaism of Salonen’s Karawane, mesmerising light design and the imposing brutalism of the Barbican itself.

Tunnel Visions: Array

On March 17 and 18 the City of London’s Culture Mile presents ‘Array’, a free light and sound installation in Beech Street tunnel (opposite Barbican Underground), with the music of Esa-Pekka Salonen at its heart. For the first time the tunnel will be transformed into an immersive audio-visual performance space, combining cutting-edge projection and sound technology with the Barbican’s distinctive brutalist architecture. The walls and ceiling of the tunnel will become a vast canvas for a newly-commissioned animated digital artwork inspired by Salonen’s contemporary classical masterpiece, Karawane, allowing audiences to explore the work aurally, visually and spatially.

‘Array’ is being created by the Tony Award-winning artists 59 Productions, led by director Richard Slaney and co-produced with the Barbican. Karawane is a work for chorus and orchestra by Esa-Pekka Salonen, one of the Composer Focuses in the Barbican’s 2017/8 season. The work was recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in concert at the Barbican Hall on 10 December 2017 as part of a BBC Total Immersion Day on Salonen’s music. Karawane was written in 2014 and is based on a short poem by Dadaist Hugo Ball. It is in two parts each of which is divided into six movements and is cyclical. At its premiere The New York Times described it as, “...the product of a mature master, working with confidence and patience on a larger canvas. The chorus’s hypnotic incantations have the undergirding of a glistening orchestral landscape, sometimes swaying, sometimes blooming.”

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LA Phil | Composer Salonen

This spring, the Los Angeles Philharmonic present a series of four concerts exhibiting Esa-Pekka Salonen wonderful contribution to the concerto repertory. Beginning on February 8, each of Salonen’s concerti for cello, for piano and for violin will be performed by their premiere performers in a concert of Beethoven and Biber. Yo-Yo Ma performs on February 8, Yefim Bronfman on February 9 and 10, and Leila Josefowicz on February 1 - each under the baton of the composer.

This series of concerts form part of a larger celebration of the Conductor Laureate’s music entitled ‘Composer Salonen’. The following weekend Gustavo Dudamel concludes a concert of Mozart and Beethoven with Salonen’s Wing on Wing, his work commissioned to celebrate the opening of the Walt Disney Hall. Then later in April, Dudamel will conduct the premiere of a new orchestral work by Salonen which opens to Varèse's Amériques and Shostakovich’s Symphony No 5.

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Foreign Bodies

On June 8 the New York Philharmonic presents Foreign Bodies, an evening of multidisciplinary work featuring music by Salonen alongside interpretations by his familiar collaborators choreographer Wayne McGregor and video artist Tal Rosner.

The evening marks the end of Salonen’s tenure as The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence.


Obsidian Tear
Choreography by Wayne McGregor Performed by Members of the Boston Ballet and set to Salonen’s Lachen verlernt and Nyx

Foreign Bodies
Accompanied by the World Premiere of a live video installation by Tal Rosner

Violin Concerto by Daníel Bjarnason
with Pekka Kuusisto in his New York Philharmonic debut

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