Artistic Direction

Golden Lion for lifetime Achievement to Kaija Saariaho

As part of the Festival Choruses 2021, dedicated to vocal dramaturgies in contemporary compositional production, the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho will be awarded the Leone d'oro (Golden Lion) for the extraordinary technical and expressive level achieved in her choral scores and for the originality of her treatment of the voice.
The Leone d'oro award ceremony is scheduled for 17 September at 12 in the Sala delle Colonne at Ca' Giustinian. The award ceremony will be followed by a meeting with Kaija Saariaho.

The inaugural concert of the Biennale Musica will be held at the Teatro la Fenice on 17 September 2021 at 8 p.m. and will feature the Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice conducted by Ernest Martinez-Isquierdo. The programme will include the first Italian performance of "Oltra Mar" for choir and orchestra, composed by Kaija Saarihao in 1999 and the first Italian performance of an orchestral work by Hans Abrahamsen composed in 2011, based on the orchestration of Claude Debussy's "Children's Corners".

Kaija Saariaho is one of the greatest living composers and one of the most performed composers in the world, as confirmed by a survey conducted by BBC Music Magazine in 2019. Her music possesses the power of generating unprecedented acoustic frescoes and original sound narratives.  Her first opera "L'amour de loin" was produced by the Metropolitan Opera in New York In 2000, and won the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 2011. Since this first great success, Kaija Saariaho has been composing other operas, always for important institutions, achieving great success and presenting countless new productions all over the world.

Kaija Saariaho will be awarded the Leone d'oro in recognition of her vast production for voice, vocal ensemble and choir, and especially of her piece "Oltra mar", for choir and orchestra, composed in 1999, which is considered an absolute masterpiece in the field of contemporary music production. "Oltra mar", which in old French means "Across the sea", presents a complex yet transparent harmonic writing,  through the synthesis of unprecedented and metamorphic orchestral colours of impressionist ascendancy.
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