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date: 17 August 2019

Saariaho, Kaija (Anneli)locked

  • Kimmo Korhonen
  •  and Risto Nieminen



(b Helsinki, Oct 14, 1952). Finnish composer. After attending the Helsinki University of Art and Design, she studied at the Sibelius Academy, where her teachers included Paavo Heininen (1976–81), and later at the Freiburg Musikhochschule (1981–2) with Brian Ferneyhough, Klaus Huber and others. In 1982 she moved to Paris where she has worked regularly at IRCAM. She has also worked in San Diego (1988–9) and served as visiting professor of composition at the Sibelius Academy (1997–8).

Saariaho's early output from the late 1970s includes many melodious vocal works. With Im Traume for cello and piano (1980), however, her focus shifted from melody to tone-colour, which with harmony became a central element in her music; melodies and distinct rhythmic patterns rarely appear. Characteristics of her works from the 1980s include tonal surfaces worked out in rich detail; sensitive, descriptive lyrical writing; and slow transformations. Her search for new timbres has stimulated a wide-ranging study of new instrumental techniques....

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Musical Times
The New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers