Saariaho's Circle Map wins British Composer Award

Saariaho's Circle Map wins British Composer Award
© Priska Ketterer
Circle Map by Kaija Saariaho won the International Award category in the 12th annual British Composer Awards held in London on December 2.

The judging panel commented:

Once in a while a new work comes into being that points to new sound worlds for the orchestra. Taking pre-recorded 13th century texts by the Persian poet Rumi and transforming them electronically, the composer places them at the core of this seductive and compelling work from which a whole orchestral landscape spirals out. Simultaneously intimate, epic and mysterious in effect, the composer brings to life the underlying meaning of the texts with a deftness and individuality that marks out a truly distinctive and original compositional voice. This is a composer at the height of her powers.

The work is written for large orchestra, incorporating electronics using a text by Rumi. Circle Map was composed in 2012 as a result of a co-commission from Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.

Circle Map has enjoyed many performances already, with more planned for 2015 and 2016. See the calendar here. The piece has been recorded by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, on the RCO Live label.

About the British Composer Awards…

The British Composer Awards are unique in making contemporary music, jazz and sonic art the focus of their annual celebration. Created by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) in 2003, the Awards seek to promote the art of composition, to recognise the creative talent of composers and sound artists, and to bring their music to a wider audience. To qualify works must have been completed within five years of the award period and have recieved a UK premiere performance - either live or broadcast - in the year leading up to 31 March. With the exception of the International Award, composers must have been born in the UK or resident for at least 5 years. Each category is judged by a different jury, with members appointed by BASCA. The majority of these music professionals are composers working in collaboration with performers, conductors, promoters and festival directors.

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