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Esa-Pekka Salonen appointed first-ever Artist in Association at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet

Beginning this season, Salonen will assume a diverse and comprehensive role as a conductor, composer, artistic advisor and ambassador. His five-year engagement begins with the current production of Elektra and continues through 2021.

The Finnish National Opera and Ballet (FNOB) has appointed composer, conductor and creative force Esa-Pekka Salonen Artist in Association, a newly created, five-year position. In this capacity, Salonen will have a broad remit: conducting performances, introducing his compositions into the repertoire and acting as artistic advisor. The Artist in Association relationship includes duties beyond artistic tasks, as Salonen will act as an ambassador for the FNOB in developing new partnerships.

Salonen’s first appearance on the podium will be at the premiere of Elektra on 2 September. He will also conduct the four premieres of the FNOB’s new Ring Cycle beginning in 2019. His other conducting duties will be announced separately for each season.

“We have always been interested in the art and thinking of Esa-Pekka Salonen, whether as a conductor, a composer or a cultural personality. We are pleased that at this point in his remarkable career he is willing to commit to wide-ranging support of Finnish opera and ballet. He will inspire both performers and audiences”, says Lilli Paasikivi, Artistic Director of the Finnish National Opera.

“During the last thirty years, the majority of my work as a conductor and composer has taken place abroad. It feels good to finally make long-term plans in my native country, and especially at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, where the flame of artistic ambition is bright and powerful”, says Esa-Pekka Salonen. “Opera interests me more and more as an art form, and I’m very enthusiastic and excited about the future collaboration with the excellent team of the FNOB.”

The FNOB will also appoint a conductor to lead performances throughout the season and oversee the continuous improvement of the orchestra.

Another aim of the new venture is for Salonen to mentor emerging Finnish conductors: the young and talented Klaus Mäkelä has been appointed as Salonen’s assistant for the upcoming Ring Cycle.