Esa-Pekka Salonen: 10 tips to becoming a conductor – by Alison Feeney-Hart

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Esa-Pekka Salonen

Esa-Pekka Salonen is the principal conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. His career took off when he stood in at the last minute for a sick conductor when he was just 25. Almost 25 years later, he was recently named conductor of the year.

1. Love the music

I think the most important thing is passion, you really have to love the music. You have to love the music more than you love yourself in a way. I didn't have any great dreams of conducting as a kid but I loved music for sure.

I was highly suspicious of conductors, they seemed to be attention grabbing people who looked kind of disgusting with their combed hair and unreal clothes. But when I started, it was something that came quite naturally to me and I discovered that I rather enjoyed it.

So it wasn't a childhood dream that finally became a reality, it was more like going with the flow and lots of seemingly random events.

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