Everything is permissible as long as it's done in good taste." Most critics cite spectral music composers Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail as her largest influences. Her studies and research at IRCAM have had a major influence on her music and her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures are often created by combining live music and electronics. Her work in the 1980s and 1990s is marked by its emphasis on timbre and use of electronics alongside traditional instruments; Nymphéa (Jardin secret III) (1987), for example, is for string quartet and live electronics. It contains an additional vocal element: the musicians whispering the words to a poem by Tarkovsky.
She won the Prix Italia and, in 1989, the Prix Ars Electronica; received commissions from Lincoln Center for the Kronos Quartet and from IRCAM for the Ensemble Intercontemporain; and has been the subject of a pan-European collaborative project to produce a CD-ROM Prisma about her work. In 2000 she won the Nordic Council Music Prize for the work Lonh for soprano and electronics. In the late 1990s Saariaho began to expand beyond electronics, often writing strictly acoustic pieces, focusing increasingly on melody. Although much of her catalogue comprises chamber works, from the mid-nineties she has turned increasingly to larger forces and broader structures, such as the operas L’Amour de loin, premiered at the 2000 Salzburg Festival, and Oltra mar, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic. Her second opera Adriana Mater was commissioned for l'Opéra de Paris' 2006 season.
Her second string quartet, Terra Memoria, was commissioned for the Emerson Quartet by Carnegie Hall for a June 2007 première. The third opera, Émilie, has the life and death of Émilie du Châtelet as its topic. The librettist of all of the three operas is Amin Maalouf. She was awarded the title Musician of the Year 2008 (announced by Musical America, the US publishing company for performing arts), for being "among the few contemporary composers to achieve public acclaim as well as universal critical respect". Invited by Walter Fink, she was the 20th composer featured in the annual Komponistenporträt of the Rheingau Musik Festival in 2010, the second female composer after Sofia Gubaidulina. Music included Sept Papillons for cello solo (2000), played by Anssi Karttunen, and Quatre Instants for soprano and piano (2002), performed by Pia Freund and David Lively.
An orchestral concert with the SWR Sinfonieorchester, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, featured Aile du songe, a flute concerto with soloist Camilla Hoitenga, and Laterna Magica. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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