Salonen — who has made the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra into one of the most exciting symphonic ensembles in the U.S. during his 14 years as its music director — succeeds Christoph von Dohnšnyi, now 77, who will have held the post for 10 years.
There's a kind of poetic justice in Salonen's appointment, as The Guardian's Martin Kettle points out: it was a 1983 performance with the Philharmonia, as a short-notice substitute leading Mahler's Third Symphony, that brought the then-25-year-old Finn to the wider music world's notice as a major conducting talent.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic's management confirmed to PlaybillArts that Salonen will keep his position with that orchestra. He is rumored to have turned down more than one attractive offer in recent years to remain in Los Angeles.
The Philharmonia Orchestra was founded in London in 1955 by the record executive Walter Legge, who intended it to be primarily a recording ensemble for the EMI label. When Legge tried to disband the orchestra in 1964, the musicians and conductor Otto Klemperer immediately reconstituted it as the New Philharmonia Orchestra. (The group regained rights to the original name in 1977.) In addition to Klemperer and Dohnšnyi, previous chief conductors of the Philharmonia have included Riccardo Muti and Giuseppe Sinopoli.