Thanks to Friday night traffic, Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen didn't show up until after the all-Scandinavian concert earlier this month had started "It seems to be the kind of thing that everybody deals with," Salonen said dolefully a few days later. He felt he'd failed as a professional, despite efforts by his driver to negotiate the 10 Freeway, Olympic Boulevard and Pico en route from his home in Brentwood, calling the Phil repeatedly on a cell phone.
"I've been stuck in traffic before," Salonen said. "This was the first total defeat."
But his defeat was an opportunity for assistant conductor Yasuo Shinozaki, who came onstage with five minutes' notice to conduct Edvard Grieg's "Peer Gynt" Suite No. 1. It's standard practice to have a conductor standing by in case of such any emergency, though a spokesperson says no one at the Phil can remember a conductor replaced because of traffic.