Kaija Saariaho and Jean-Baptiste Barrière in New York

July 21, 2016 | By Francerocks

This fall, a number of New York venues will present collaborations between two celebrated contemporary composers, Kaija Saariaho and Jean-Baptiste Barrière. Their operas, concerts, and residencies will take place between early October and mid-December.

Kaija Saariaho is a prominent Finnish composer based in Paris since 1982. Her studies and research at IRCAM (Paris, France) have had a major influence on her music. By combining live music and electronics, she creates her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures. Her music is now making a worldwide impact.

Although much of her catalogue comprises chamber works, from the mid-nineties she has turned increasingly to larger forces and broader structures, such as the operas “L’Amour de loin” and “Adriana Mater” and the oratorio “La Passion de Simone”.

The first “Kaija Saariaho event” taking place in New York this fall will be on October 13 and 14 at the Park Avenue Armory: a portrait of this amazing composer with the New York Philharmonic, including video art by Jean-Baptiste Barrière.

> More info: http://www.armoryonpark.org/programs_events/detail/circle_map

Then for the centennial of Mannes School of Music, one of the special events hosted will be a residency of Kaija Saariaho: two performances of the oratorio “La Passion de Simone” at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater and an ambitious series of artistic and pedagogical events of international and interdisciplinary scope.

“La Passion de Simone” is a major work crafted by composer Kaija Saariaho and writer Amin Maalouf, a contemporary Passion play on the ‘luminous trajectory’ of philosopher and activist Simone Weil, who devoted her life to the oppressed and met an untimely death in 1943. The work was first commissioned and directed by Peter Sellars in 2006. The French music theatre company La Chambre aux échos commissioned the composer a new, chamber setting and premiered it in 2013. This critically acclaimed production, created by director Aleksi Barrière (Jean-Baptsite Barrière’s son) and conductor Clément Mao-Takacs, has been touring in Europe since. To bring it to New York City for the East Coast premiere of this version, La Chambre aux échos has united forces with the renowned International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and Mannes School of Music.

> “La Passion de Simone” at Lynch Theatre (Lincoln Center) on November 19 and 20.

Several other Kaija Saariaho’s concerts will take place in New York this fall, including two premieres with Jean-Baptiste Barrière’s music and videos:

-  On November 3, 7:30PM at Tishman Auditorium: a double portrait-concert Saariaho/Barrière with the flute player Margaret Lancaster:

- On November 10 and 12 at Symphony Space: premiere by Jean-Baptiste Barrière for choir, electronics and video, presented by the C4 choir.

Last but not least, “L’Amour de loin”, Kaija Saariaho’s medieval romance has its Met premiere on December 1. Since its premiere at the Salzburg Festival in 2000, this is one of the most highly praised operas of recent years. The Metropolitan Opera presents a dazzling new production by Robert Lepage including amazing electronics production supervised by Jean-Baptiste Barrière. Susanna Mälkki leads the performances, which will star Susanna Phillips as Clémence, Eric Owens as Jaufré, and Tamara Mumford as the Pilgrim who carries messages of love between them. 

> More info: https://www.metopera.org/Season/2016-17-Season/amour-de-loin-saariaho-ti...
> Kaija Saariaho’s website: http://saariaho.org/
> Jean-Baptiste Barrière’s website : http://www.petals.org/Barriere/JBB.html

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