Acclaimed Composer Kaija Saariaho Dies of Brain Tumor at Age 70

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Kaija Saariaho, who wrote acclaimed works that made her the among the astir salient composers of the 21st century, died Friday. She was 70.

Saariaho died astatine her flat successful Paris, her household said successful a statement posted connected her Facebook page. She had been diagnosed successful February 2021 with glioblastoma, an assertive and incurable encephalon tumor.

“The multiplying tumors did not impact her cognitive facilities until the terminal signifier of her illness,” the connection said. Her household said Saariaho had undergone experimental attraction astatine Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital successful Paris.

“Kaija’s quality successful a wheelchair oregon walking with a cane person prompted galore questions, to which she answered elusively,” the household said. “Following her physician’s advice, she kept her unwellness a backstage matter, successful bid to support a affirmative mindset and support the absorption of her work.”

Her “L’Amour de Loin (Love from Afar)” premiered astatine the Salzburg Festival successful 2000 and made its U.S. debut astatine the Santa Fe Opera 2 years later. In 2016, it became the archetypal staged enactment by a pistillate composer astatine the Metropolitan Opera since Ethel M. Smyth’s “Der Wald” successful 1903.

“She was 1 of the astir archetypal voices and enjoyed tremendous success,” Met wide manager Peter Gelb said. “It had interaction connected one’s intellect arsenic good arsenic one’s emotions. It was euphony that truly moves people’s hearts. She was genuinely 1 of the great, large artists.”

Born successful Helsinki connected Oct. 14, 1952, Saariaho studied astatine the Sibelius Academy and the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. She helped recovered a Finnish radical “Korvat auki (Ears Open) successful the 1970s.

“The occupation successful Finland successful the 1970s and ’80s was that it was precise closed,” she told NPR past year. “My procreation felt that determination was nary spot for america and nary involvement successful our music—and much generally, modern euphony was heard overmuch less.”

Saariaho started enactment successful 1982 astatine Paris’ Institute for Research and Coordination successful Acoustics/Music (IRCAM), a halfway of modern euphony founded successful the 1970s by Pierre Boulez. She incorporated electronics successful her composition.

“I americium funny successful spatialization, but nether the information that it’s not applied gratuitously,” she said successful a 2014 speech posted connected her website. “It has to beryllium necessary—in the aforesaid mode that worldly and signifier indispensable beryllium linked unneurotic organically.

Inspired by viewing Messiaen’s ″St. Francois d’Assise” astatine the 1992 Salzburg Festival, she wrote “L’Amour de Loin.” She went connected to constitute “Adriana Mater,” which premiered astatine the Opéra Bastille successful 2006 and “Émilie,” which debuted astatine the Lyon Opéra successful 2010.

Saariaho received the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award successful 2003 and was selected Musical America’s Musician of the Year successful 2008. Kent Nagano’s signaling of “L’Amour de Loin” won a 2011 Grammy Award.

Saariaho’s last work, a trumpet concerto titled “HUSH,” is to premiere successful Helsinki successful Aug. 24 with Susanna Mälkki starring the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The announcement of Saariaho’s decease was posted by her husband, composer Jean-Baptiste Barrière; lad Aleksi Barrière, a writer; and girl Aliisa Neige Barrière, a conductor and violinist.