03, December 2014

Kaija Saariaho’s Circle Map wins British Composer Award

Circle Map by Kaija Saariaho won the International Award category in the 12th annual British Composer Awards held in London on December 2.The judging panel commented:

Once in a while a new work comes into being that points to new sound worlds for the orchestra. Taking pre-recorded 13th century texts by the Persian poet Rumi and transforming them electronically, the composer places them at the core of this seductive and compelling work from which a whole orchestral landscape spirals out. Simultaneously intimate, epic and mysterious in effect, the composer brings to life the underlying meaning of the texts with a deftness and individuality that marks out a truly distinctive and original compositional voice. This is a composer at the height of her powers.

The work is written for large orchestra, incorporating electronics using a text by Rumi. Circle Map was composed in 2012 as a result of a co-commission from Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.

Circle Map has enjoyed many performances already, with more planned for 2015 and 2016. See the calendar here. The piece has been recorded by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, on the RCO Live label.