Tribute to Kaija Saariaho — Conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Aliisa Neige Barrière

With the Orchestre de Paris and Ensemble intercontemporain at the Philharmonie de Paris

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Sophie Cherrier — Flutist

Anssi Karttunen — Cellist

Ensemble intercontemporain

Orchestre de Paris

Aliisa Neige Barrière — Conductor

Esa-Pekka Salonen — Conductor

Program notes

In honor of the great Kaija Saariaho, who left us in 2023, her illustrious compatriot Esa-Pekka Salonen and her daughter Aliisa Neige Barrière lead a stirring all-Finnish program at the Philharmonie de Paris with works by Sibelius, Magnus Lindberg, and—of course—Saariaho herself, joined by the Orchestre de Paris and the Pierre Boulez-founded Ensemble intercontemporain, longtime collaborators of Saariaho.

The program's first half pairs Saariahio with the best-known Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius, whose moving tone poem The Oceanides evokes a mythologically-inflected vision of the sea. Saariaho's Aile du songe, conducted by her daughter Barrière, is a showcase for flutist Sophie Cherrier, inspired by the ever-present breath of the instrument and what she called its "timbral possibilities that befit my musical language." Notes on Light, on the other hand, gives Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen a chance to show the possibilities of Saariaho's favorite instrument in a sonic universe uniquely her own. The evening closes on Magnus Lindberg's Kraft, a "sound barrage for large orchestra" (The New York Times) whose use of electronics—in its composition and performance—reflects the spirit of innovation and fearless risk-taking for which the Ensemble intercontemporain and Kaija Saariaho are known and celebrated.

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