Asa-Pekka Salonen was born in Finland in 1958. He studied music at the the conservatory in Helsinki and in 1980 wrote his first large-scale orchestral work, Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra. This was followed by his second orchestral work, Giro and a series of solo works for alto flute (1982), piano (1985) and cello (1986).
Salonen moved to the United States and is currently musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Recent work includes L.A. Variations (1996), Gambit and a song-cycle for soprano and 14 instruments, Five Images After Sappho(1999).