born on 14/10/1952 in Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Kaija Saariaho (Finnish pronunciation: [kij sriho]) (née Laakkonen, born 14 October 1952) is a Finnish composer.
Kaija Saariaho studied composition in Helsinki, Freiburg and Paris, where she has lived since 1982. Her studies and research at IRCAM have had a major influence on her music and her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures are often created by combining live music and electronics. Although much of her catalogue comprises chamber works, from the mid-nineties she has turned increasingly to larger forces and broader structures, such as the opera Lamour de loin, premiered at the 2000 Salzburg Festival (with a US premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in 2002), and Oltra mar for chorus and orchestra, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic. Her second opera, Adriana Mater, was commissioned for the Opéra National de Paris 2006 season. Her second string quartet, Terra Memoria, was commissioned for the Emerson Quartet by Carnegie Hall for a June 2007 premiere. The third opera, Émilie, has the life and death of Émilie du Châtelet as its topic. The librettist of all of the three operas is Amin Maalouf.
Life and work
Kaija Saariaho was born in Helsinki, where she attended the Helsinki Rudolf Steiner School, a school with a strong arts and music curriculum, for thirteen years and studied violin and piano at the Sibelius Academy. She later studied in Freiburg (under Brian Ferneyhough and Klaus Huber) and at IRCAM in Paris. Most critics, however, cite spectral music composers Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail as her largest influences. Her work in the 1980s and 1990s is marked by its emphasis on timbre and use of electronics alongside traditional instruments; Nymphéa (Jardin secret III) (1987), for example, is for string quartet and live electronics. It contains an additional vocal element: the musicians whispering the words to a poem by Tarkovsky. In the late 1990s Saariaho began to expand beyond electronics, often writing strictly acoustic pieces, focusing increasingly on melody.
Saariaho was influenced by post-serialism, but she grew to find it too restrictive: "You were not allowed to have pulse, or tonally oriented harmonies, or melodies. I don't want to write music through negations. Everything is permissible as long as it's done in good taste."
She has won the Prix Italia and, in 1989, the Prix Ars Electronica; received commissions from Lincoln Center for the Kronos Quartet and from IRCAM for the Ensemble Intercontemporain; and has been the subject of a pan-European collaborative project to produce a CD-ROM Prisma about her work.
In 2000 she won the Nordic Council Music Prize for the work Lonh for soprano and electronics.
She was awarded the title Musician of the Year 2008 (announced by Musical America, the US publishing company for performing arts), for being "among the few contemporary composers to achieve public acclaim as well as universal critical respect".
Invited by Walter Fink, she was the 20th composer featured in the annual Komponistenporträt of the Rheingau Musik Festival in 2010, the second female composer after Sofia Gubaidulina. Music included Sept Papillons for cello solo (2000), played by Anssi Karttunen, and Quatre Instants for soprano and piano (2002), performed by Pia Freund and David Lively. An orchestral concert with the SWR Sinfonieorchester, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, featured Aile du songe, a flute concerto with soloist Camilla Hoitenga, and Laterna Magica.
- 197681 studied composition with Paavo Heininen at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki
- 1982 attended courses in computer music at IRCAM, Paris and took up residence there
- 1986 awarded Kranichsteiner Prize at Darmstadt
- 1989 awarded Ars Electronica Prize for Stilleben and Io; one year residency at the University of San Diego
- 1991 composition of ballet music Maa, premiered by Finnish National Ballet
- 2003 awarded the Grawemeyer Award for Lamour de loin
- 2011 Léonie Sonning Music Prize
- 2011 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording
- Verblendungen (1984; orchestra, electronics)
- Lichtbogen (1986; flute, percussion, piano, harp, strings, live electronics)
- Io (1987; large ensemble, electronics)
- Nymphéa (1987; string quartet, electronics)
- Petals (1988; cello, electronics)
- Du cristal... (1989; orchestra, live electronics)
- ...à la Fumée (1990; solo alto flute and cello, orchestra)
- Graal théâtre (1994; violin, orchestra)
- Lamour de loin (2000; opera)
- Orion (2002; orchestra)
- Adriana Mater (2005; opera)
- La Passion de Simone (2006; oratorio/opera)
- Notes on Light (2007; cello concerto)
- Terra Memoria (2007; string quartet)
- Laterna Magica, 2008
- Émilie (2010; opera)
- D'OM LE VRAI SENS (2010; clarinet concerto)
- Graal Théâtre Gidon Kremer; BBC Symphony Orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen Sony SK60817
- LAmour de loin Gerald Finley; Dawn Upshaw; Finnish National Opera; Esa-Pekka Salonen Deutsche Grammophon DVD 00440 073 40264
- Nymphéa Cikada String Quartet ECM New Series 472 4222
- Kaija Saariaho gets lots of love for Love from Afar. The Toronto Star. Retrieved on 2012-02-03.
- Pirkko Moisala, Kaija Saariaho, p. 2
- Die Reinheit der Luft nach dem Regenschauer Gerd Döring in Frankfurter Rundschau, 25 July 2010
- NY Times review by Alastair Macaulay, 23 September 2010, of the American premiere of Maa at Columbia University's Miller Theater
- Suomalaissäveltäjälle Grammy-palkinto (Finnish). Iltalehti. iltalehti.fi (14 February 2011). Retrieved on 14 February 2011.
- Robert Everett-Green (2012-01-27). Kaija Saariaho is looking for love in Canada. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on 2012-02-03.
- Kaija Saariaho's homepage
- Chester Music Composer's homepage
- CompositionToday Saariaho article and review of works
- Sanna Iitti , Kaija Saariaho: Stylistic Development and Artistic Principles International Alliance for Women in Music Journal, 2001
- (French) A biography of Kaija Saariaho, from IRCAM's website.
- Excerpts from sound archives of Saariaho's works
|Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition laureates|
1985 Witold Lutosawski ·1986 György Ligeti · 1987 Harrison Birtwistle · 1989 Chinary Ung · 1990 Joan Tower · 1991 John Corigliano · 1992 Krzysztof Penderecki · 1993 Karel Husa · 1994 Tru Takemitsu · 1995 John Adams · 1996 Ivan Tcherepnin · 1997 Simon Bainbridge · 1998 Tan Dun · 2000 Thomas Adès · 2001 Pierre Boulez · 2002 Aaron Jay Kernis · 2003 Kaija Saariaho · 2004 Unsuk Chin · 2005 George Tsontakis · 2006 György Kurtág · 2007 Sebastian Currier · 2008 Peter Lieberson
|Léonie Sonning Music Prize Laureates|
|1959 – 1980||
Igor Stravinsky (1959) Leonard Bernstein (1965) Birgit Nilsson (1966 ) Witold Lutosawski (1967) Benjamin Britten (1968) Boris Christoff (1969) Sergiu Celibidache (1970) Arthur Rubinstein (1971) Yehudi Menuhin (1972) Dmitri Shostakovich (1973) Andrés Segovia (1974) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1975) Mogens Wöldike (1976) Olivier Messiaen (1977) Jean-Pierre Rampal (1978) Janet Baker (1979) Marie-Claire Alain (1980)
|1981 – 2000||
Mstislav Rostropovich (1981) Isaac Stern (1982) Rafael Kubelík (1983) Miles Davis 1984) Pierre Boulez (1985) Sviatoslav Richter (1986) Heinz Holliger (1987) Peter Schreier (1988) Gidon Kremer (1989) György Ligeti (1990) Eric Ericson (1991) Georg Solti (1992) Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1993) Krystian Zimerman (1994) Yuri Bashmet (1995) Per Nørgård (1996) András Schiff (1997) Hildegard Behrens (1998) Sofia Gubaidulina (1999 ) Michala Petri (2000)
|2001 – 2020|