Esa-Pekka Salonen honored with 2024 Polar Music Prize

Composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen has been named today as the recipient of the 2024 Polar Music Prize. The award will be presented on May 21 in Stockholm in the presence of the Swedish royal family.

Esa-Pekka Salonen, one of Finland’s most established conductors and composers, tirelessly works to redefine classical music in the 21st century. His career has encompassed performances with some of the world's best orchestras, opera houses, and festivals along with many major awards. Currently serving as the Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Salonen also holds the title of Conductor Laureate for the London’s Philhamonia Orchestra. He has previously conducted orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was Music Director from 1992 until 2009, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The Polar Music Prize has been recognizing and celebrating musical excellence for over three decades, and being considered one of the most prestigious awards in music. Founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, best known as the manager of the Swedish ABBA, the prize is annually bestowed upon one contemporary musician and one classical musician for significant achievements in music or musical activity crossing over musical boundaries. Alongside Esa-Pekka Salonen, this year's award has been granted to Nile Rodgers. Composer Kaija Saariaho from Finland received the Polar Prize in 2013. Other notable past recipients of the prize include Paul McCartney, Björk, Patti Smith, Yo-Yo Ma, and Pierre Boulez, among others.

Salonen continues to compose commissioned works for top-tier performers, with his next project being a French horn concerto for virtuoso Stefan Dohr. Additionally, he will conduct the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra in spring 2024.