“Classical music composing is really slow,” says Salonen. “And it’s intensely lonely.” Salonen may spend hours developing a small section of a piece that lasts only a few seconds when performed. He uses the Pianist Pro app to play pieces of music into composition software on his Mac. Then, thanks to the processing power of iPad Air, he can open the same complex score in Notion to make changes and play them back. The playback function allows Salonen to hear the piece as it evolves, something that wasn’t possible before without assembling an orchestra to perform it.
“I have this total freedom to go back and forth between my full studio and the most portable setup I can imagine,” Salonen says. That compactness and power is especially important as he travels the world, shuttling between performances and rehearsals.
Once the score is finished, it goes to the orchestra to be played for the first time. “That’s the scariest bit, actually, the first rehearsal,” he says. “That is the first time you hear your piece come to life. Classical music is all about the live experience. The beauty of the uniqueness of the moment. Knowing that when you go to a concert you hear something that will never be played exactly the same way again.”