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Acclaimed composer Kaija Saariaho dies at age 70 of mind tumor

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Kaija Saariaho, who wrote acclaimed works that made her the among the many most outstanding composers of the twenty first century, died Friday. She was 70.

Saariaho died at her condo in Paris, her household mentioned in an announcement posted on her Facebook web page. She had been identified in February 2021 with glioblastoma, an aggressive and incurable mind tumor.

“The multiplying tumors didn’t have an effect on her cognitive amenities till the terminal section of her sickness,” the assertion mentioned. Her household mentioned Saariaho had undergone experimental therapy at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris.

“Kaija’s look in a wheelchair or strolling with a can have prompted many questions, to which she answered elusively,” the household mentioned. “Following her doctor’s recommendation, she stored her sickness a non-public matter, with the intention to preserve a Positive mindset and maintain the main focus of her work.”

Her “L’Amour de Loin (Love from Afar)” premiered on the Salzburg Pageant in 2000 and made its U.S. debut on the Santa Fe Opera two years later. In 2016, it turned the primary staged work by feminine composer at Metropolitan Opera since Ethel M. Smyth’s “Der Wald” in 1903.

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Saariaho didn’t prefer to be regarded as a feminine composer, slightly a girl who was a composer.

“I might not even like to discuss it,” she mentioned throughout an interview with The Related Press after a piano rehearsal on the Met. “It needs to be a disgrace.”

Born in Helsinki on Oct. 14, 1952, Saariaho studied on the Sibelius Academy and the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. She helped discovered a Finnish group “Korvat auki (Ears Open) within the Seventies.

“The issue in Finland within the Seventies and ’80s was that it was very closed,” she advised NPR final yr. “My era felt that there was no place for us and little interest in our music — and extra typically, trendy music was heard a lot much less.”

Saariaho began work in 1982 at Paris’ Institute for Analysis and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM), a middle of up to date music based within the Seventies by Pierre Boulez. She included electronics in her composition.

“I’m occupied with spatialization, however beneath the situation that it’s not utilized gratuitously,” she mentioned in a 2014 dialog posted on her web site. “It needs to be crucial — in the identical approach that materials and kind have to be linked collectively organically.

Impressed by viewing Messiaen’s ″St. Francois d’Assise” on the 1992 Salzburg Pageant, she wrote “L’Amour de Loin.” She went on to compose “Adriana Mater,” which premiered on the Opéra Bastille in 2006; “Émilie,” which debuted on the Lyon Opéra in 2010.

Her newest opera, “Innocence,” was first seen on the 2021 Aix-en-Provence Pageant. Placing a highlight on gun violence, the work was staged in London this spring and is scheduled for the Met’s 2025-26 season.

“That is undoubtedly the work of a mature grasp, in such full command of her sources that she will be able to focus merely on telling a narrative and illuminating characters,” Anthony Tommasini wrote in The New York Occasions.

Saariaho obtained the College of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in 2003, was chosen Musical America’s Musician of the Yr in 2008. Kent Nagano’s recording of “L’Amour de Loin” received a 2011 Grammy Award.

Saariaho’s last work, a trumpet concerto titled “HUSH,” is to premiere in Helsinki in Aug. 24 with Susanna Mälkki main the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The announcement of Saariaho’s demise was posted by her husband, composer Jean-Baptiste Barrière; son Aleksi Barrière, a author; and daughter Aliisa Neige Barrière, a conductor and violinist.



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