Kaija Saariaho receives BBVA Foundation’s Frontiers of Knowledge Award

Composer Kaija Saariaho has been recognized with the BBVA Foundation’s Frontiers of Knowledge Award on the basis of “a contribution to contemporary music that is extraordinary in its individuality, breadth and scope.” 

From her earliest works, the jury continues, Saariaho has exhibited “a seamless interweaving of the worlds of acoustic music and technology,” a quality which the new laureate remarked, after hearing of the award, had come to her quite naturally. 

Read BBVA Foundations’ full profile feature on Kaija Saariaho here

Previous laureates in the category of contemporary music include Pierre Boulez, Steve Reich and Sofia Gubaidulina, to name a few. For the prize each laureate receives a commemorative artwork, a diploma and a cash prize of 400,000 euros.

The jury in the contemporary music category was chaired by Nicholas Cook, Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). The secretary was Pwyll Ap Sion, Professor in Music in the School of Music at Bangor University (United Kingdom).Remaining members were Tom Huizenga, a music producer, reporter and editor for radio network NPR Music; violinist Leila JosefowiczAndrew McGregor, a broadcaster with BBC Radio 3; and Alex Ross, music critic and staff writer on The New Yorker. 

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards were established in 2008 to recognize outstanding contributions in a range of scientific, technological and artistic areas.