Finnish composer awarded highest Danish classical musical honour

Chris July 1, 2010 0

Kaija Saariaho ©Ralph Mecke

Kaija Saariaho, a Finnish composer, has been awarded the celebrated Danish Leonie Sonning Music Prize.

Kaija Saariaho has become only the second female composer to be presented with the Leonie Sonning Music Prize.

The accolade – which has been around in existence since 1959 – is now a major event in the Danish classical music calendar and is given annually to an acclaimed composer, musician, conductor or singer.

On receiving the award, Kaija Ms Saariaho said: “I am very happy to receive the prestigious Sonning Music Prize, and honoured to follow those prestigious predecessors.

“I am especially glad that this honour comes from a Nordic country, as I feel that my music is not there as much.”

Ms Saariaho is no stranger to international awards, having picked up the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2000, the prestigious American Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 2008 and the Prix Italia Musical America Composer that same year.

The latest award will be presented at a concert on May 5th 2011 in Copenhagen.

During her early career, the 57-year-old’s work was best known for the prominence it placed on timbre and the use of electronics alongside traditional instruments.

You can find out more about Kaija at her official site or at musicroom’s Kaija Saariaho artist page