Esa-Pekka Salonen

The Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen joined San Francisco Symphony as music director in 2021, following tenures with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

From an early age, Esa-Pekka Salonen knew music was his destiny. Yet he never dreamed that one day he’d be an internationally renowned composer and conductor.

Born in Helsinki, Finland, to a businessman father and homemaker mother, Salonen took up the French horn, studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and began conducting when his band of young musicians was in need of one. He clearly had a knack for it.

San Francisco Symphony's Opening Night Gala 2022

Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and architect Frank Gehry, who worked together in Los Angeles during the construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, attended the opening of San Francisco Symphony’s 2022–2023 season at Davies Symphony Hall.

SF Symphony Performance Approvals

Salonen conducts Felix Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with SF Symphony during its 2022 Opening Night Gala Concert.

Salonen presenting at the Apple Distinguished Educators conference in Amsterdam in July 2015 (Courtesy of Esa-Pekka Salonen).jpg

Salonen presenting at the Apple Distinguished Educators conference in Amsterdam in July 2015.

Salonen grilling in Aix-En-Provence in July 2019 (Courtesy of Esa-Pekka Salonen).jpg

Esa-Pekka Salonen on a summer 2019 respite and at the grill in Aix-En-Provence, France.