Globe-trotting, super-busy conductor-composer Esa-Pekka Salonen is also a teacher. In that role, the San Francisco Symphony music director continues to work with young artists, including conductors.
Last week, the Colburn School in Los Angeles named new Salonen Fellows of the Negaunee Conducting Program, a course of study in the school’s Conservatory of Music for aspiring young conductors. Salonen Fellows — on full scholarships to cover tuition, room, and board — are tutored by Salonen at Colburn and at the SF Symphony, receiving podium experience on and off campus to prepare them for professional careers.
The new Salonen Fellows, selected by the conductor for the 2021–2022 academic year, are Molly Turner and Kyle Dickson, who is assistant conductor of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. They will join current Salonen Fellow Ross Jamie Collins, who was selected for the inaugural 2019–2020 program.
Salonen, currently taking a month off — probably composing — is due back in San Francisco to lead the opening concerts of the new season beginning Oct. 1. He is also the principal conductor and artistic advisor for London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, working there with the award-winning RE-RITE and Universe of Sound installations; he remains conductor laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and cofounder of the annual Baltic Sea Festival. In between all that, Salonen also manages to find time for working in his native Finland, where he led the very first COVID-themed opera soon after the pandemic’s outbreak. (And there is also Salonen Beer.)
Colburn School President Sel Kardan welcomed the second class of Salonen Fellows to the Negaunee Conducting Program, saying “In the tradition of the Colburn School’s personalized approach to learning, the Fellows will have the unprecedented opportunity to nurture their craft under the visionary guidance of Esa-Pekka Salonen.”
The Fellows will study with Salonen, serve as preparatory conductors for the flagship Colburn Orchestra, and assist Salonen around the world. One of them will conduct the Concerto Forum Showcase, an annual public concert that features soloists from the Conservatory of Music, another will conduct the orchestra for the finals of the Primrose International Viola Competition. As part of his role as faculty at Colburn, Salonen will coach Conservatory students preparing for orchestral auditions and conduct the Colburn Orchestra as part of its annual performance series.