Esa-Pekka Salonen composed LA Variations in 1996 on commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with a dedication to
Ernest Fleischmann, then Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
Salonen and the Philharmonic premiered the piece in January 1997 at subscription concerts at the Music Center and
have since performed it in New York (May 1997), at the Hollywood Bowl (August 1998), and on their subsequent European
tour that August and September, in London, Brussels, Lucerne, Cologne, and Frankfurt. The work was performed on a
special Green Umbrella concert at UCLA’s Royce Hall in January 2000, and in 2003 it was encored at the Hollywood Bowl
prior to an Edinburgh Festival concert and the second of three Opening Galas for the new Walt Disney Concert Hall. At each
performance, audience reaction has been extremely enthusiastic, beginning with standing ovations at the Los Angeles
Press comments have been consistently favorable, e.g., “It is music of immediate appeal and relevance that doesn’t
need to overthrow Minimalism to get there. This is an important step in musical culture at the end of the century…” (Los
Angeles Times). “Intoxicatingly varied and imaginative…lots of humor.” (USA Today). “Splashy and stylish debut, calculated
to impress.” (Newsday). “This Dionysian hymn to the orchestra is a work of pure enjoyment of sonority, elaborated by a
mind as free as it is rigorous. The seductiveness and dynamism of this music have an immediate effect, and are clad in a
language whose originality is far above scholastic squabbles.” (Le Soir).