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Kaija Saariaho (Composer)

Born: 14th October 1952, Helsinki, Finland

Nationality: Finnish

Kaija Anneli Saariaho is a Finnish composer based in Paris, France. During the course of her career, Saariaho has received commissions from the Lincoln Center for the Kronos Quartet and from IRCAM for the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the BBC, the New York Philharmonic, the Salzburg Music Festival, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and the Finnish National Opera, among others. In a 2019 composers' poll by BBC Music Magazine, Saariaho was ranked the greatest living composer.

Saariaho studied composition in Helsinki, Freiburg, and Paris, where she has lived since 1982. Her research at the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM) marked a turning point in her music away from strict serialism towards spectralism. Her characteristically rich, polyphonic textures are often created by combining live music and electronics.

Further Reading: Saariaho

 Interview, Gerald Finley on Kaija Saariaho's True Fire

The bass-baritone talks to Katherine about recording the Finnish composer's song-cycle on texts by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Seamus Heaney and Mahmoud Darwish, written for him in 2014 and released on Ondine earlier this month.

Popular Works: Saariaho

All Works: Saariaho

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  • Holst - The Planets
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  • Saint-Saëns, Moussa & Saariaho: Orchestral Works
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  • Saariaho: Chamber Works for Strings, Vol. 1
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