Ending months of speculation, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen said Tuesday that he would lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic for at least three more years.
"There's no other orchestra in the world that is doing this well in terms of gaining new ground, finding new audiences, doing a vast variety of things," Salonen said. "I thought, I have to be part of this."
Salonen's contract, which was to expire at the end of the coming season, will continue through 2008, with an "evergreen clause" allowing further extensions. Salonen made his announcement at a Walt Disney Concert Hall news conference to detail the orchestra's 2005-06 season.
Philharmonic Assn. President Deborah Borda said the evergreen clause is a standard one that would permit "renewal on an annual basis, with proper notification."
"This clearly signals Esa-Pekka and the Philharmonic Assn.'s desire to continue to partnership and work together," Borda said. "What this clause provides for is appropriate notice so that we can continue to plan and move ahead."
A composer as well as a conductor, Salonen, 46, reportedly has been torn between the demands of the two professions.
"It's a continuous struggle," he said. "But I also realized that for me to deal with the composing issue is to curb my guest conducting, to concentrate on this, which is artistically the most fulfilling thing I do anyway, and just stay home."
He added: "I just wanted to be sure when I extend my contract, I extend it because of the artistic potential I see in the relationship and not because of having a good life here and wanting to keep it going."
Salonen, now in his 13th season as music director of the Philharmonic, will conduct during 11 weeks of the coming 30-week season. Seven of those will be for the previously announced "Beethoven Unbound" project -- a cycle of all nine of the Beethoven symphonies juxtaposed with modern works.
Highlights of the season, which begins Sept. 29 and runs through June 4, 2006, include a two-week "Minimalist Jukebox" festival directed by John Adams. It will include his own music as well as works by Louis Andriessen, Philip Glass, Arvo Part and Steve Reich.
Adams, who also participated in the news conference, spoke of the impact the style had on him.
"I was a young, 25-year-old composer and my language was still in the course of being formed," he said. "Minimalism was just a tremendous breath of fresh air."
The season will also include Christmastime concert performances of Adams' oratorio "El Nino"; four world premieres, by Thomas Ades, Anders Hillborg, Magnus Lindberg and Roger Reynolds; and U.S. and West Coast premieres by Ades, Andriessen, Niccolo Castiglioni, Unsuk Chin and Salonen.
Ades and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will be here in separate residencies.
Conductors making their Philharmonic debuts will include some rising young European stars. In addition to Ades, there will be Stefan Asbury, Andrey Boreyko and Jonathan Nott.
Returning conductors will include Marin Alsop, James Conlon, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Charles Dutoit, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Andras Schiff and Zubin Mehta.
Among the artists appearing with the Philharmonic for the first will be violinist Anthony Marwood and guitarist Eliot Fisk.
Returning artists will be pianists Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, Martha Argerich and Pierre-Laurent Aimard; violinists Hilary Hahn and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg; sopranos Dawn Upshaw and Barbara Bonney; mezzo-soprano Jill Grove; and baritone Willard White.
Visiting groups will include the National Symphony, led by Leonard Slatkin; Les Arts Florissants, led by William Christie; and the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, led by John Eliot Gardiner.
Among crossover events, there will be a jazz "Art of Guitar" series, which will include a tribute to the music of Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, and Upshaw singing Osvaldo Golijov's folk-song-based cycle, "Ayre."
There will be four organ recitals, plus a Halloween-night organ-accompanied screening of F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent film "Nosferatu." But the only organ and orchestra program will be the season's final concert, featuring Poulenc's Organ Concerto.