The Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho is to receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement “for the remarkable technical and expressive level she has achieved in her choral scores and for her original use of the voice”.
The motivation for the award reads: “As part of her vast production for voice, vocal ensemble and chorus, Kaija Saariaho is awarded the Golden Lion for Oltra mar in particular, considered an absolute masterpiece. Oltra mar, which in ancient French means ‘across the sea’, is a harmonically complex but transparent composition, and a synthesis of unusual metamorphic orchestral colours influenced by Impressionism. One of the major living composers whose works are among the most widely performed in the world, Kaija Saariaho’s music has the gift of power and immediacy and generates original acoustic tapestries and unprecedented sonic narrations”.
Tom Service in dialogue with Kaija Saariaho.