Kaija Saariaho



Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho is one of the most talented composers of her generation. After studying visual arts at the University of Helsinki, she devoted herself to composition and became interested in computer music at Ircam in Paris.

Her career has been marked by prizes for her most important works, notably the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis for Lichtbogen (1986), a work that reveals Kaija Saariaho’s personal and luminous tonality within the spectral aesthetics, the Nordic Council Music Prize (2000), the Schock Prize (2001), Musical America Composer (2008), LéonieSonning Music Prize (Denmark, 2011)… In 2018, the BBVA Foundation awarded her the Frontiers of Knowledge prize for her contribution to contemporary music. In 2021, she received the Golden Lion of the Venice Music Biennale.

Among her most outstanding works are the diptych for orchestra From Crystal…to Smoke; L’Amour de loin, an opera on a libretto by Amin Maalouf, directed by Peter Sellars, whose recording by Kent Nagano was the subject of the Grammy Award in 2011; a passion on the life of Simone Weil, La Passion de Simone. In 2012, she composed Circle Map, a piece for orchestra and electronic. Her new opera, Innocence, was premiered in July 2021 at the Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence.