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Esa-Pekka Salonen to carry Olympic torch for London Games

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Esa-Pekka Salonen is pretty good at wielding a conductor’s baton, but how will he fare wielding an Olympic torch?

The conductor (and former music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) is scheduled to carry the torch for a mile on July 26, the next-to-last day of the flame’s journey from Greece to London for this year’s Summer Games. He will be one of the 8,000 official torch-bearers, some of whose names were announced this week by London’s Olympics committee.

The torch is scheduled to begin the British leg of its journey on May 19 at Land’s End in Cornwall, England, and travel to multiple cities and villages -- including the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey. The flame is expected to arrive in London on July 27.

Salonen currently serves as music director of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. Other notable torch-bearers for the Summer Games include billionaire Lakshmi Mittal and Dinah Gould, a Londoner who will be 100 by the time the flame reaches her. Salonen, by comparison, will be a relatively youthful 54 when he bears the torch.

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Salonen, who remains conductor laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is scheduled to return to Walt Disney Concert Hall in December to conduct his former orchestra.

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-- David Ng


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