Kaija Saariaho

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Kaija Saariaho is one of Finland’s internationally best known contemporary composers. She gained world fame in the 2000s with her original and immediately recognisable style that has evolved slowly but surely over the years. She focused on tonal colour at an early date. Electronics and new technology have also been part of her musical makeup for quite some time; she found an important base in the Ircam studios in Paris, her city of residence since 1982. Melody took prominence in her work in the early 1990s and rhythm in the early 2000s. “Rich tonal colour, textures and harmonies and balancing between tone and noise are at the very core of her music,” writes Kimmo Korhonen. Instruments and the human voice exist in parallel in her output, the flute and cello being her favourite instruments. Her operas may be regarded as a sort of crowning achievement or synthesis of her output. The first of these, L’amour de loin, was premiered in 2000.


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