KUSC-FM will broadcast Esa-Pekka Salonen’s final concerts


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Classical music station KUSC-FM (91.5) is honoring outgoing Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Esa-Pekka Salonen with special programs throughout April, including live broadcasts of his final performances and a documentary commemorating the maestro’s 17 years with the orchestra.

There will even be a rebroadcast of Salonen’s first appearance as a guest conductor with the orchestra, from 1984.


And when Salonen turns over the baton to Gustavo Dudamel, so too will a changing of the guard take place behind the mic. Gail Eichenthal -- who has presided over KUSC’s broadcasts of the L.A. Phil since 1978, when she became the first woman to host a broadcast series of a major American orchestra -- is giving up that part of her job. She will remain at the station as program director and will continue to co-host ‘Arts Alive.’ She also vows to ‘pop up from time to time’ on other programs.

‘It’s been a wonderful ride and it feels like the right time to turn over the microphone and give somebody else a chance to have this marvelous experience,’ Eichenthal said. ‘I continue to be close to the orchestra. That won’t end.’

Her final broadcast will coincide with Salonen’s grand finale on April 19. Brian Lauritzen, a producer and on-air voice since 2006, will replace Eichenthal starting April 26, when KUSC launches its 2009 season of 12 L.A. Phil concerts recorded at Disney Hall.

After the jump: A rundown of KUSC’s Salonen-related programming.

Here’s what KUSC has planned:

‘E-P in L.A.: Reinventing the Los Angeles Philharmonic’: A two-hour documentary featuring interviews with collaborators such as Frank Gehry, Peter Sellars, Deborah Borda, Ernest Fleischmann, musicians and commentary from Salonen. Airing Sunday, April 5, 4 p.m.

‘Live from Walt Disney Concert Hall: Esa-Pekka Salonen and the L.A. Phil’: A live broadcast of Salonen’s new Violin Concerto featuring violinist Leila Josefowicz. Airing Saturday, April 11, 8 p.m.

‘Esa-Pekka Salonen’s 1984 L.A. Phil Debut Concert’: Salonen’s first performance as guest conductor featuring Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, Ravel’s Piano Concerto and the West Coast premiere of Lutoslawski’s Symphony No. 3. Airing Sunday, April 12, 4 p.m.


‘Live from Disney Hall: Salonen’s Grand Finale’: A live broadcast of the conductor’s final performance in his current role. Airing Sunday, April 19, 2 p.m.

Live streaming will be available through the KUSC website.

-- Alicia Lozano

Photo credits:

Salonen: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times

Eichenthal and Lauritzen: Mark Berndt