Saariaho awarded BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award
14th February 2018
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Contemporary Music category goes, in its tenth edition, to Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho on the basis of ‘a contribution to contemporary music that is extraordinary in its individuality, breadth and scope.’ From her earliest works, the jury continues, Saariaho has exhibited ‘a seamless interweaving of the worlds of acoustic music and technology,’ a quality which the new laureate remarked, after hearing of the award, had come to her quite naturally. When she started studying music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, she was frustrated at the acoustics of the venues she would attend to hear live performances. Wondering if it was possible to alter characteristics like the volume of the instruments, she began recording them and processing the sound for subsequent playback.
About the Award The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards recognise and reward world-class research and artistic creation, prizing contributions of singular impact for their originality and significance. The name of the scheme is intended to denote not only research work that substantially enlarges the scope of our current knowledge – pushing forward the frontiers of the known world – but also the meeting and overlap of different disciplinary areas and the emergence of new fields.