December 9, 1993 |
F inlandization. It is a term coined in the Cold War, a name given to the politics of appeasement and conciliation pursued by Finland when the Soviet Union lurked next door. It's best not to make waves when your neighbors are Red. Things change and the term recedes into the remote past. Unless you're a Finnish musician.
February 27, 1992 |
Strange things are happening at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion this week. Unprecedented things. Weird and vaguely wondrous things. Exotically Nordic things. The Music Center Opera is staging its first world premiere. Well, staging may be the wrong word. Try hosting . The centerpiece for this cumbersome, undeniably festive and obviously costly venture has nothing to do with Los Angeles. It isn't even American. It comes--lock, stock and chorus--from Helsinki. Helsinki?
August 3, 1986 |
John Crosby, the cranky visionary who runs the Santa Fe Opera, has always held a torch for the music dramas of Richard Strauss. When Crosby inaugurated his magical, eminently unlikely open theater in the New Mexico desert 30 years ago, one of his first vehicles was "Ariadne auf Naxos."
June 29, 1986 |
This plateau city has been called America's Salzburg for good reason. A good half of summer visitors will tell you: "It's music that brings me here." I love music, but during the year, getting to the hall in time often means a mad rush from work or other engagements. An extended summer weekend musical escape, just listening to great performances, with the option of some leisurely touring or shopping, goes a long way to restore my enjoyment of all that is pleasurable in music.
March 8, 1998 |
The Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg is 39, but like his conservatory comrade Esa-Pekka Salonen, he has the look of a perpetual boy, with sandy Nordic hair grazing a smooth forehead and traces of baby fat still clinging to his cheeks. Time and jet lag have left a delicate webbing around his eyes, but even so, it is easy to imagine him some 35 years ago, sitting on the floor of his family's Helsinki home, playing with the broken computer parts his father, a systems analyst at I.B.M.
February 16, 1992 |
Esa-Pekka Salonen was making a very important debut. The incipient music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic was meeting the ever-supportive ladies who lunch. The time: 10 a.m., a relatively ungodly hour, the morning after his first local concert of the season. The place: a private dining room atop the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. This, not incidentally, had been Salonen's first concert anywhere in four months.
May 30, 1999 |
"The Finnish are coming," screams the Ojai Festival advertising campaign. It's an irresistible marketing hook for the annual musical event: Esa-Pekka Salonen has taken the reins as the 1999 guest music director and liberally stocked the program with artists and works from his home country.
December 27, 1992 |
It was a happy, sad, frustrating, exhilarating, discouraging, encouraging, soothing, frazzling, stimulating, depressing, uplifting, bracing, painful, provocative, dull, exciting, hysterical, lackadaisical, exceptional, humdrum year. Just like 1991.
May 21, 2000 |
After nearly 20 years in Los Angeles, Peter Hemmings still seems a quintessentially proper Englishman. The founding general director of Los Angeles Opera, who will retire next month, doesn't publicly shirk blame or boast. Over lunch recently, he ended many thoughts about his 14 seasons here with the question, "Do you think I was right?" or the doubt, "Perhaps I was wrong."