On October 21, Azusa Pacific University’s Symphony Orchestra performed the U.S. premiere of Stockholm Diary, an original piece by world renowned composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, at Citrus College's Haugh Performing Arts Center. Salonen is the 10th conductor to head the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is currently in his 17th and final season leading the orchestra.
Los Angeles Times music Critic Mark Swed attended the performance to review the piece and the Symphony Orchestra, consisting of 50 musicians and directed by Christopher Russell.
Swed wrote of the performance, "The string writing is highly virtuosic, and clearly a professional performance is called for. But Russell is a forcefully dramatic conductor with a strong technique, and the young string players proved compelling."
Though Salonen did not attend the event, Russell worked alongside him in preparation for conducting the piece.
"The strings swirl, sail into the stratosphere utilizing vaporous harmonics and bounce around in pizzicato passages. Perhaps a hint of Scandinavian anxiety could be found in the explosive climax, but not in the hands of these enthusiastic and impressively ambitious players, whose instinct is for exultation. The concertmaster, Kan Wang, handled her difficult solos with disarming ease," wrote Swed.
Read the entire Los Angeles Times review.