Works Discography

Kaija Saariaho (1952-2023)

"...among the few contemporary composers to achieve public acclaim as well as universal critical respect." (Musical America, Composer of the Year Award 2008)

Kaija Saariaho was a prominent member of a group of Finnish composers and performers whose music is making a worldwide impact. She studied composition in Helsinki, Freiburg and Paris, where she lived from 1982. Her studies and research at IRCAM had a major influence on her music and her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures were often created by combining live music and electronics.

Although much of her catalogue comprises chamber works, from the mid-nineties she turned increasingly to larger forces and broader structures, such as the operas L’Amour de loin, Adriana Mater and Emilie. Around the operas there have been other vocal works, notably the ravishing Château de l’âme (1996), Oltra mar (1999), Quatre instants (2002), and True Fire (2014). The oratorio La Passion de Simone, portraying the life and death of the philosopher Simone Weil, formed part of Sellars’s international festival ‘New Crowned Hope’ in 2006/07. The chamber version of the oratorio was premiered by La Chambre aux echos at the Bratislava Melos Ethos Festival in 2013.

Saariaho claimed the major composing awards in The Grawemeyer Award, The Wihuri Prize, The Nemmers Prize,The Sonning Prize, The Polar Music Prize. In 2018 she was honoured with the BBVA Foundation’s Frontiers of Knowledge Award. In 2015 she was the judge of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award. Always keen on strong educational programmes, Kaija Saariaho was the music mentor of the 2014-15 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and was in residence at U.C. Berkeley Music Department in 2015.

Only The Sound Remains, her most recent opera collaboration with Peter Sellars, was premiered in Amsterdam in 2016. In the same year her first opera L'Amour de loin was presented in its New York premiere by the Metropolitan Opera in a new production by Robert Le Page. The Park Avenue Armory and New York Philharmonic presented a celebration of her orchestral music with visual accompaniment.

February 2017 saw Paris come alive with her work when she was featured composer of Radio France's Festival Présences.

Her last opera, Innocence, received its world premiere at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in July 2021.


(C) Wise Music Classical

More information:
Official Website
Chester Novello
ARTICLE: The New York Times
AUDIO: Kaija Saariaho talks about her work

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...à la fumée, for alto flute, cello and symphony orchestra (1990)
Adjö (1982/85)
Aure for violin and viola
Caliban's Dream (1992)
Calices for violin and piano (2009)
Cendres (1998) for alto flute, cello and piano
Changing Light for soprano and violin
Ciel d'hiver for orchestra
Cinq reflets de 'L'Amour de loin' (2001)
Clarinet Concerto "D'OM LE VRAI SENS" (2010)
Cloud Trio (2009) for violin, viola and cello
Couleurs du vent
Die Aussicht (1996)
Die Aussicht for soprano and string quartet
Dolce tormento
Dreaming Chaconne (2010)
Du cristal for symphony orchestra (1989-1990)
Du gick, flög (1982)
Du gick, flög for soprano and cello
Fall (from Maa)
Fleurs de Neige for string quartet
From the Grammar of Dreams (1988)
Graal th√©√Ętre, for solo violin and chamber orchestra (1997)
Grammaire des rêves (1988)
II. Sempre dolce, ma energico, sempre a tempo (from Cloud Trio)
Il pleut (1986)
Je sens un deuxième coeur (2003) for viola, cello and piano
L'Amour de loin (from Cinq reflets de l'amour de loin)
Laconisme de l'aile
La Passion de Simone
Laterna Magica (2008)
Leino Songs (2007)
Lichtbogen, for nine musicians and live electronics (1986)
Lonh, for soprano and electronics (1996)
Maa - Ballet Music in Seven Scenes (1991)
Memento mori (from Orion)
Mirage (2007; chamber version) for soprano, cello and piano
Mirage, for soprano, cello and orchestra (2007)
Miranda's Lament (1997)
Mirrors I
Mirrors II
Mirrors III
Nej och inte (1979)
NoaNoa, for flute and electronics (1992)
Nocturne for violin solo (1994)
Nocturne for viola
Notes on Light, for cello and orchestra (2006)
Nymphéa for string quartet and electronics (1987)
Nymphéa Reflection (2001)
Oi kuu
Oi kuu, for bass clarinet and cello (1990)
Oltra mar (1998-99)
On fire (from Notes on Light)
Orion, for orchestra (2002)
Petals (1988)
Preludi-Tunnustus-Postludi (1980)
Première Station (from La Passion de Simone)
Presentiments (from √Čmilie Suite)
Près, for cello and electronics (1992)
Quatre instants (2002)
Quatre instants (2002) (Orchestral version)
River (from True Fire)
Sept papillons, for solo cello (2000)
Serenatas (2008) for percussion, cello and piano
Six Japanese Gardens, for percussion and electronics (1995)
Solar (1993)
Sombre I-III
Spins and Spells for cello solo (1997)
Spins and spells (1996)
Sua katselen (from Leino Songs)
Suomenkielinen sekakuorkappale (Piece for mixed choir in Finnish) (1979)
Terra Memoria for String Orchestra (2009)
Terra Memoria for string quartet
Tocar for violin and piano (2010)
Trans for harp and orchestra
True Fire for baritone and orchestra
Ultime Station (from La Passion de Simone)
Vent nocturne for viola and electronics (2006)
√Čmilie Suite
…de la Terre for violin and electronics
full discography

Discography (extract)

Kaija Saariaho

70 Years

(Digital album)


ODE 1407-2

Released 01/2023

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Kaija Saariaho

True Fire for baritone and orchestra

Ciel d'hiver for orchestra

Trans for harp and orchestra

Gerald Finley, bass-baritone

Xavier de Maistre, harp

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Hannu Lintu, conductor

ODE 1309-2

Released 05/2019

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Esa-Pekka Salonen

Kaija Saariaho

Works for Solo Cello

Wilhelmina Smith, cello

ODE 1294-2

Released 03/2019

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Finland 100

A Century of Finnish Classics

5 CD collection celebrating 100 years of Finland's independence

Orchestral Works I & II


Vocal Works

Chamber Music

Various Finnish artist, orchestras and conductors

ODE 1300-2Q


Released 11/2016

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