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Kaija Saariaho, guest composer

Winter skies, aurora borealis, nocturnal silences, forest sounds... the music of Kaija Saariaho (Helsinki, 1952) is inextricably linked with the universe. Although she has been living in Paris since 1982, this Finnish composer feels a deep connection with nature. This relates closely to her having been born and raised in a Scandinavian country where the inhabitants have a more direct, to some extent primal, relationship with their culture. It is natural, then, for Saariaho's music to carry in its DNA this indelible feature.

After studying in Helsinki and Freiburg, Saariaho lives in Paris, following her training at the Institute for Research and Coordination of Acoustics and Music (IRCAM), founded by Pierre Boulez. There she researches and experiments with electronics, which she mainly uses to achieve the acoustic effects that the confined space of concert halls does not offer.

Her relationship with the city of Barcelona is longstanding, as well as her admiration for the architectural work of Antoni Gaudí and Modernism, capable of transforming natural forms into architectural elements, something we also find in the Palau de la Música Catalana by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. In a way, Kaija Saariaho's music seeks to achieve similar effects. Character, something to which she attaches great importance, is easily recognisable in her work, despite the abstract nature of her music. Through its timbre and acoustic effects, Saariaho manages to open a broad palette of colours that burst like the scent of a perfume when it first hits the nose.

The charm of her music lies in its ability to evoke both a deeply attractive sensuality thanks to its connection with nature, and at the same time the cold of Scandinavia, specifically Finland, where darkness and snow are so present for a good part of the year. Certainly, this contrast, inherent in the Scandinavian climate, is one of the attractions of the music that we shall present at the Palau in a variety of projects and formats ranging from choral to symphonic, chamber music and opera, including a new production of Saariaho’s work Only The Sound Remains. This is a chamber opera very appropriate for the dimensions of the unique walled garden that is the Palau de la Música Catalana.

Committed to the development of new forms of musical composition, and the support of new generations of composers, Kaija Saariaho believes that "as long as there is a passion for music, despite technology, it will not disappear." In a season with many perspectives and passions, it simply remains to say that even on the darkest night of Scandinavian winter, "only sound remains"...

Concerts with works of Kaija Saariaho

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