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Salonen and Ax
Esa-Pekka Salonen was born on June 30, 1958 in Helsinki, Finland. Salonen is well known orchestral conductor and composer apart from being the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Londons Philharmonia Orchestra and Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Salonen attended Sibelius Academy in Helsinki where, along with Jorma Panula, he studied conducting and horn and composition. He studied composition with some of todays finest composers including Magnus Lindberg, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Osmo V?nsk?.
With all these composers, Salonen formed new-music appreciation group Korvat auki which means Ears Open in English and Toimii that means It Works in English.
Although Salonen saw himself as a composer still he conductor his own composition for the first time in 1979, while being accompanied by Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Salonen also took Michael Tilson-Thomas place as a conductor in 1983 when he conducted Symphony No. 3 by Mahler along with Philharmonia Orchestra in London.
Salonen was appointed the conductor to conduct Mahlers Symphony on a very short notice; in fact Salonen didnt even get a change to read the score before he had to conduct it. That performance made Salonens breakthrough and he earned his share of appreciation as a conductor.
From 1984 till 1995, Salonen worked as a principal conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, while working as a principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London from 1985 till 1994.
Also in 1984, Salonen made his U.S debut as a conductor of Los Angeles Philharmonic, which earned him fame and admiration in U.S as well, and ever since his debut, he has been conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic every season.
In 1989, Salonen was offered the post of Music Director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which he accepted and officially took the post in 1992 and remains the music director of the orchestra, up till today.
November 2000 would mark Salonens 25th anniversary of his premiere with the orchestra, however he has announced that he would not be conducting to celebrate the occasion, instead he would be giving up his post to Gustavo Dudamel by the end of 2008-09 season, although Salonen does plan to conduct the orchestra some time in future.
Salonen is giving up his post of Music Director of the orchestra to devote more of his time towards composition and opera. Salonen is married to a former musician of Philharmonic Orchestra, Jane Price and he has two daughters, Ella Aneira and Anja Sofia, and one son, Oliver.
Emanuel Ax was born on June 8, 1949 in Lvov, Ukraine to the survivors of Nazi concentration camp survivors, Joachim and Hellen Ax. Learning under the supervision of his father, Ax got his first piano at the age of 6. Almost two years later his whole family moved to Warsaw, Poland, and at that time Ax was 8 years old.
When he turned 10 years old, the whole family relocated to Winnipeg, Canada. While growing up in Canada, he commenced his study for music and also performed as the member of Winnipegs Junior Musical Club. Later on, Ax studied music at Julliard School, after his family relocated yet again, this time to New York City, in 1961.
At Julliard School, Ax studied music under the supervision of Mieczyalaw Munz. In last few seasons, Ax has given three world premieres of Seeing by Christopher Rouse, Century Rolls by John Adams and Red Silk Dance by Bright Sheng, and flaunted his support towards contemporary composers. Apart from that he also performed the compositions by Hans Werner Henze, Joseph Schwantner, Beethoven, and Mozart.
Ax also formed up a quartet with violinists Isaac Stem and Jaime Laredo and with Yo-Yo Ma, with whom Ax usually performs his duo recitals. The quartet performed at recorded the compositions by Schumann, Mozart, Faure, Beethoven and Brahms.
The quartet, however, broke up following the death of Isaac Stem in 2001. Ax also won two Grammy Awards for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra), once in 1995, and once in 2004.
He also won 5 Grammy Awards for Best Chamber Music Performance, in 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993 and 1996. He was also honored with Sanford Medal by Yale University.
Salonen and Ax would be performing live together on January 9, 2009 in Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, then again on the following day at the same venue. Salonen and Ax would give their final performance together on January 11, 2009 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles.