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News - Saariaho Awards

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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Kaija Saariaho has been named judge for the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2015. The Award is an annual orchestral composition competition for younger composers. Its uniqueness lies in that only one judge (as opposed to a committee) is responsible for all selections for that year.

The judges for each year are selected by a ballot among the competition advisors (Oliver Knussen, Kent Nagano, Kazushi Ono, Sir Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen) and three former judges (Tristan Murail, Salvatore Sciarrino and Toshio Hosokawa) from a list of candidates supervised by Shin-ichiro Ikebe, composer /music director.

For more information visit Award website




The prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize of DKK 600,000 will be awarded to Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Since its inception in 1959, the Léonie Sonning Music Prize has established itself as a paramount event in Danish music life. The prize is awarded annually to an internationally acknowledged composer, musician, conductor or singer.

Saariaho will be presented with the award at a concert on May 5 2011 at the DR Concert Hall in Copenhagen, with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds. In addition, a Saariaho concert will be held on May 4 2010 at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen, with the Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen conducted by Pierre André Valade.

Saariaho is the eleventh composer who is awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize – and the second female composer. Previous laureate composers include Stravinskij, Lutoslawski, Britten, Sjostakovitj, Messiaen, Boulez, Ligeti, Nørgård, Gubaidulina, Kurtág and Arvo Pärt.Saariaho has received several honours and prizes for her music: In 2000 Saariaho received the Nordic Council Music Prize for the work Lonh. In 2003, she received one of the most prestigious composition awards in the world, the American Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition; also the Prix Italia, Musical America Composer of the year 2008.

On receiving the award, Kaija Saariaho quotes:

I am very happy to receive the prestigious Sonning Music Prize, and honoured to follow those prestigious predecessors. I am especially glad that this honour comes from a Nordic country, as I feel that my music is not there as much - except in Finland – compared to other European countries or North America.


May 4 2011, The Black Diamond, Copenhagen

Composer portrait of Kaija Saariaho
Die Aussicht (1996)
Je sens un deuxième cœur (2003)
Solar (1993)
Miranda's Lament (1997)
L'Aile du songe (2001)
Camilla Hoitenga, flute
Signe Asmussen, vocal
Kaija Saariaho, sound engineer
Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen
Pierre André Valade, conductor

May 5 2011, DR Concert Hall, Copenhagen

Saariaho: Adriana Songs for mezzo soprano and orchestra
Saariaho: Laterna Magica (premiered in August 2009 by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Simon Rattle)
Stravinsky: The Firebird
Lilli Paasikivi, mezzo soprano
The Danish National Symphony Orchestra
John Storgårds, conductor
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