Dec 6, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead soloist Julia Fischer and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2023 Nobel Prize Concert, held Friday, December 8 at Konserthuset Stockholm. Held annually by Nobel Prize Outreach in association with the Konserthuset Stockholm, the Nobel Prize Concert is part of Nobel Week, a week of cultural and academic programming celebrating that year's Nobel Prize laureates. This year's Nobel Week culminates December 10 with the Nobel Award Ceremony in Konserthuset Stockholm and the Nobel Banquet in the City Hall. The Nobel Prize Concert will be available to stream live at 10:00AM PT/7:00 PM CET and on-demand on the Nobel Foundation's YouTube channel—watch here.
“To bring this musical offering in honor of the greatest human achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine, Literature, and Peace brings me immense pleasure and hope,” says Salonen. “Never before have these minds seemed so urgently needed in the current global context of political, ecological, and social crisis. Having the arts and music as part of this dialogue seems to be immeasurable in its importance.”
This year's program was curated by Salonen, and includes works that are inspired by ecology and nature, tell timeless and ancient stories, and embody humanity’s impulse to dream and to imagine. All of them are cultural achievements in their own right; taken together, they convey the titanic achievements of this year’s Nobel laureates.
The concert program will center on a performance of Johannes Brahms’s Violin Concerto, featuring soloist Julia Fischer in her Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra debut. Also appearing are Luciano Berio’s festive arrangement of Boccherini, Quattro versioni originali della “Ritirata notturna di Madrid” and Maurice Ravel’s second suite of ballet music for the classic love story of Daphnis and Chloé—a piece that evokes pastoral imagery from ancient Greece. Completing the program is American composer Gabriella Smith’s Tumblebird Contrails, inspired by the sounds and ecology of California’s Pacific coast. Salonen has previously performed this piece with the San Francisco Symphony, both at home and on tour in Paris, Hamburg, and Luxembourg; this concert will mark its Swedish premiere.
“With joy, anticipation, and curiosity, I look forward to this year’s concert, where we mix classical works with a piece by contemporary composer Gabriella Smith,” says Laura Sprechmann, CEO of Nobel Prize Outreach. “It will be a magnificent tribute to the 2023 Nobel Prize laureates.”
“It is a great privilege for us to honour, through music, the wonderful work and discoveries of the Nobel Prize laureates, made for the benefit of humankind,” says Stefan Forsberg, Executive and Artistic Director of Konserthuset Stockholm. “Doing so with Esa-Pekka and Julia, who are two of the most admired musicians on the planet, will make this concert a statement of what can be achieved when we decide to do good things together.”
About Esa-Pekka Salonen
Esa-Pekka Salonen is known as both a composer and conductor. He is the Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, where he works alongside eight Collaborative Partners from a variety of disciplines, ranging from composers to roboticists. He is the Conductor Laureate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. As a member of the faculty of the Colburn School, he directs the pre-professional Negaunee Conducting Program. Salonen co-founded, and until 2018 served as the Artistic Director of, the annual Baltic Sea Festival.
Beginning with the Opening Night Gala, Salonen will lead the San Francisco Symphony in twelve weeks of programming in the 2023–24 season. Highlights include world premieres from Jesper Nordin, Anders Hillborg, and Jens Ibsen; projects by Collaborative Partners Pekka Kuusisto and Carol Reiley; the launch of the inaugural California Festival; a tour of southern California; and a program of Ravel and Schoenberg featuring choreography by Alonzo King and staging by Peter Sellars.
He will also conduct many of his own works this season. Among them are a new work commemorating the 20th anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall, premiering with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Karawane, also with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; his Sinfonia Concertante for Organ and Orchestra with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra; and kínēma with the San Francisco Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra.
Salonen has an extensive and varied recording career. Releases with the San Francisco Symphony include recordings of Bartók’s piano concertos, as well as spatial audio recordings of several Ligeti compositions. Other recent recordings include Strauss’s Four Last Songs, Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin and Dance Suite, and a 2018 box set of his complete Sony recordings. His compositions appear on releases from the Sony, Deutsche Grammophon, and Decca labels; his Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto, and Cello Concerto all appear on recordings he conducted himself.
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