Last week, Esa-Pekka Salonen handed over the artistic leadership of the LA Phil to Gustavo Dudamel. My tribute:
- He writes nice music that people might want to listen to.
- Unlike some conductors, he has the humility to share the limelight with the orchestra at which he silently waves his arms.
- You know the LA Phil would follow him anywhere. Except back to Finland, obviously.
- I can never remember how to spell his name, but Google always knows who I mean. Suck on that, MTT.
- His musical guidance is the primary reason that there is now a world-class orchestra on the West coast of the United States, and he has shown repeatedly that an arts organization can be vibrantly creative and financially viable.
- He spent sixteen years in LA and became a better, more down-to-Earth artist for it. How many people can say that?
- He was responsible for the first genuinely loud thing I ever heard in Davies Symphony Hall.
- Every time I say his name in a meeting, there is a short silence while people try to work out if I just said something rude.
- He’s now conducting the Philharmonia – an orchestra not known for polite restraint at the best of times. I’m expecting some exciting performances which, thanks to their various live recording arrangements, I might just get to hear.
- He described the cult of conductor worship as “empty hype“.
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