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Salonen Extends Orchestra Contract : Music: Conductor calls L.A. his focal point and his home as he signs on to lead Philharmonic for six years.

October 03, 1995|DANIEL CARIAGA | TIMES MUSIC WRITER

Beginning his fourth season as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen announced Monday that he has extended his contract with the orchestra for six years, through May, 2001.

The new contract calls for Salonen to lead the orchestra in a minimum of 14 weeks of performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Hollywood Bowl annually; he will also conduct tour concerts, youth and neighborhood performances, Green Umbrella concerts and special events.

The orchestra's season begins Thursday, when Salonen will conduct the world premiere performance of Steven Stucky's "Ancora," Beethoven's Violin Concerto--with Russian violinist Vadim Repin (who replaces German soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter)--and the Third Symphony by Carl Nielsen.

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Salonen said Monday that "Los Angeles is now more than ever the focal point of my activities, and the Philharmonic my only titled position. I have concluded my commitments as principal conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony and principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia in London.

"My family and I have made a decision to regard Los Angeles as our home," the Finnish-born conductor said. From a professional point of view, he continued, "the multifaceted nature of the [Philharmonic], and the fact that we can do opera here, [mean] one never has to leave L.A."

He also said he expected to do less guest conducting than before and to devote more time to composition. (Salonen is at work on three orchestral commissions, one due for premiere by the London Sinfonietta in June, the others, which will be performed in 1998, for orchestras in the Netherlands and in Japan.)

At the Monday press conference, the 37-year-old conductor also announced that he has extended his exclusive recording commitment with Sony Classical, with the possibility of three new CDs by the orchestra every season.

Touring plans for the Philharmonic and Salonen include continuing the annual visits to Lincoln Center in New York; a fall, 1996, residency at the Theatre du Cha^telet in Paris; a tour to the Canary Islands and Spain in the winter of 1997 and a return to the Salzburg Festival in Austria in 1998.

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