Kaija Saariaho’s busy beginning for 2016

There is no doubt that composer Kaija Saariaho has established herself as one of world’s most important living composers. Her music has been enjoying success both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in the past few months, including, for example, a bunch of performances in New York as well as La Passion de Simone in Berlin. Furthermore, her composer residency at the University of California, Berkeley, evoked an enthused reception in San Francisco area, where several of her orchestral works were performed during  this autumn.

In early 2016, Saariaho is the composer in residence at the Danish festival NJORD (28 January – 1 February). The festival will present several works by Saariaho, contextualizing them with works of other composers as well as with visual art and dance.

Another performance to look forward to is on 15 March, when Saariaho’s new stage work will be premiered at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam. The evening, carrying a title Only the sound remains, combines two short operas inspired by Nôh dramas:  Always strong (original title Tsunemasa) and Feather mantle (Hagoromo) are based on translations by Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenollosa. The main role in both pieces will be sung by Philippe Jaroussky, and the stage performance is directed by Peter Sellars. The accompanying musician group includes also Finnish kantele player Eija Kankaanranta.

It is already announced that Saariaho will compose an opera to Sofi Oksanen’s libretto for Royal Opera in London. The Metropolitan opera in New York will stage Saariaho’s first opera L’amour de loin in 2016-2017 with Susanna Mälkki as conductor. 

In addition to the live performances, Saariaho’s music can be enjoyed with a newly released Ondine CD, Let the Wind Speak, including her music for flute. Flutist Camilla Hoitenga performs Saariaho’s works from 1982 to 2012 with cellist Anssi Karttunen, baritone Daniel Belcher, harpist Heloise Dautry and Da Camera of Houston.