London’s Philharmonia Orchestra has announced that its Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen will stand down at the end of the 2010-21 season. He has served 13 years at the orchestra’s helm, only the sixth conductor to occupy the role in the ensemble's 75-year history. ‘I have been unbelievably fortunate to conduct the great orchestras of the globe: a simultaneously inspiring and humbling part of my night job. Though since my debut 35 years ago – surprising no one more than me – and in my 10 years as Principal Conductor, I find myself returning again and again to the Philharmonia,’ Salonen said.
Double bass-player and the orchestra’s Chair, Michael Fuller said that ‘Right from the first moment in 1983, the Philharmonia has had an extraordinary chemistry with Esa-Pekka and, to this day, making music with him is one of the great privileges of being a member of this Orchestra. The amazing concerts, projects and tours we have done during his time as Principal Conductor are high points in all our musical lives.’
Salonen becomes the Music Director Designate of the San Francisco Symphony today and will formally take over as Music Director in 2020. He will succeed Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco.
The Philharmonia's principal conductors have been Otto Klemperer, Riccardo Muti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Christoph von Dohnányi and Salonen who will continue his relationship in a role that will be announced in due course.