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Saariaho Festival final concert

The Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and her special friendship with cellist Anssi Karttunen


Mar 16 2025

The Saariaho Festival’s closing concert spotlights the unique friendship between cellist Anssi Karttunen and Kaija Saariaho. The highlight is the cello concerto Notes on Light. After the premiere in 2007, The Boston Globe wrote enthusiastically: ‘At work from the start is Saariaho’s sensitive ear and highly individual feel for orchestral colour’. Asko|Schönberg brings fresh dimensions to Saariaho’s world with a work by her last ‘student’ Vasco Mendonça, and a window into her fascination with Japan. 

Anssi Karttunen, who paid tribute to Oliver Knussen at the Muziekgebouw in 2023, and Kaija Saariaho have known each other since the time they both moved to Paris in the 1980s. They became good friends and Karttunen has been involved in all of Saariaho’s cello works ever since. The 2006 cello concerto Notes on Light is the ultimate musical expression of their connection. ‘Saariaho uses many of her signature extended techniques, including notes purposefully crushed with the bow until they resemble noise’, wrote The Boston Globe.

Vasco Mendonça

Three Speeches and a Technique

Kaija Saariaho

Notes on Light

Mioko Yokoyama

New work - wereldpremière

Kaija Saariaho

Quatre Instants


Ernest Martínez Izquierdo conductor
Anssi Karttunen cello
Barbara Kozelj mezzo soprano

Kaija Saariaho (photo Maarit Kytöharju)

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Mar. 16 2025




Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ

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