13, March 2013

Saariaho Birthday Commissions

Last October Chester Music composer Kaija Saariaho celebrated her 60th birthday. Anssi Karttunen, her great friend and long term collaborator, conceived an idea for a gift to which all her friends, supporters and colleagues could contribute. Chester Music set up a fund from which two young, talented composers were commissioned to write new works which will be premiered during the 2014-15 season.

Kaija Saariaho has now chosen the two composers from a shortlist nominated by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Luca Francesconi, Steven Stucky and Anssi Karttunen, all of whom work closely with Saariaho. Louis Chiappetta has been commissioned to write a 10 minute orchestral piece which will be premiered by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Peiying Yuan will write a String Trio which will be premiered by the Zebra Trio. The exact details of these performances are yet to be announced.

Saariaho puts a great deal of effort into creating new opportunities for emerging composers. She gives masterclasses all over the world, including at Carnegie Hall, Santa Fe Creative Dialogue and CNSM de Paris. Saariaho says: “The birthday gift I received from my friend Anssi Karttunen, my publisher Chester Music and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra was the finest possible and made me very happy.”