Kaija Saariaho’s career as a composer can be compared to the international success of architect Alvar Aalto. Saariaho’s music is constantly played widely around the world in concert halls, opera stages and festivals. Saariaho has received 24 international awards and recognitions during her career, and in 2020, in a vote organized by BBC Music Magazine, Saariaho was chosen as the world’s most significant living contemporary composer.
The Echoes of the Universe – The Music of Kaija Saariaho follows the completion and performances of Saariaho’s works in different parts of the world, but also highlights the mutual cooperation of her family.
This documentary summarises the life journey of composer Kaija Saariaho, who was already multitalented as a child. Her story moves from a Steiner school through a conservatoire finally to the prestigious Sibelius Academy, where in the late 1970s, a woman’s dream of becoming a composer was still looked down upon. In the early 1980s, Saariaho’s life took a new turn in Paris, when she discovered computer-aided composition and met her partner Jean-Baptiste Barrière. Their children Aliisa and Aleksi are also involved in the arts and sometimes participate in their parents’ projects. The movie features Saariaho’s work from the past decades, which has charmed audiences from New York to Tokyo.
Liina Härkönen (translated by Mira Sairanen)