If he were single and if he wore a proper white tie instead of those bad black Nehru jackets he inexplicably favors as concert attire, E-Pek (for those of you who didn't use to babysit his kids, Maestro Esa Pekka Salonen) would come dangerously close to being a perfect man: really talented, really smart, with a sense of humor, rich, famous, and seriously handsome (for an older guy). He also speaks really good Italian.
Then, props to Deborah Borda, who paid hommage to Esa-Pekka Salonen's impossible-to-overstate influence on the LA Phil:
The 2008-09 season, Salonen's last as Music Director, since he chose to concentrate on composing (blonde moptop and boyish smile and all, he'll nevertheless turn a secksy 50 in June), will include seven world premieres and residencies by John Adams, Yefim Bronfman, Peter Sellars and Dawn Upshaw. The Wiener Philharmoniker (led by Zubin Mehta) will make their Disney Hall debut. Kaija Saariaho's "La Passion de Simone" will receive its U.S. premiere. András Schiff will complete his Beethoven piano sonatas cycle.
Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct the SFO in "The Thomashefsky Project". Salonen's last hurrah will take place on April 19, 2009.
Then our Dudi, Gustavo Dudamel, will step in as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and for all his monster talent, his hype, and the obvious love audiences worldwide have poured over his cute wild bushy hair, he will have to demonstrate that he is worthy of the directorship once held, among others, by Carlo Maria Giulini and Otto Klemperer.
Dudi does not need to be afraid; he will only need, every once in a while, to remember the giants who came before him. Salonen's one of them.