Noted by the New York Times as “Saariaho’s finest interpreter”, Susanna Mälkki will lead a performance celebrating the Finnish composer’s 70th birthday on October 14. The program will include Saariaho’s Verblendungen as well as her Notes on Light which was dedicated to cellist Anssi Karttunen who will be featured in the concert. The orchestra will also play Sibelius’ Symphony No. 4 and premiere Matthew Whittal’s Silence Speaks, commissioned for Helsinki Variations and inspired by a Sibelius Christmas song.

Mälkki was first introduced to Saariaho’s music in 1994 when she performed her Petals at Finland’s prestigious Turku Cello Competition, where she was awarded the best performance of the compulsory work. Since then, the pair have been frequent collaborators and recently worked together on the world premiere of Innocence at Aix-en-Provence which will travel in the coming years to the Finnish and Dutch National Operas, the Royal Opera House in London, San Francisco Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera. 

Lauded for giving audiences “some of the most luminous, beguiling and sheerly sensual experiences they can hope to have”, this celebration of Kaija Saariaho’s impact on the modern musical landscape will be an event you won’t want to miss.

Photo: Jiyang Chen