Interview: Kaaija Saariaho

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(Photo credit: Priska Ketterer)

Kaaija Saariaho’s music is entrancing – sometimes disorienting. It’s lyrical and colorful. It often combines intricate textures with electronic elements, that can be delicate and ethereal or just loud and thick. Performances of her music have been steadily growing throughout the United States since the early 2000s, and earlier this year the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with Gustavo Dudamel and baritone Gerald Finley, commissioned and premiered her song cycle “True Fire.” In March of 2016 the Dutch National Opera will premiere her next opera “Only the Sound Remains.”

Saariaho’s work earned the admiration from audiences and critics, and she’s been the recipient of major prizes including the Polar Music Prize in 2013, the Nemmers Prize in 2011, and in 2003 the Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition for her opera “L’amour de loin,” an opera Anthony Tomassini of the New York Times named best new work of 2000. She is in Louisville as a guest for the 30th Anniversary of the Grawemeyer Award and sat down with Daniel Gilliam to talk about her career and music.

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Featured Album: Anne Akiko Meyers’ Serenade



Awarded Billboard’s 2014 top-selling classical instrumentalist, Anne Akiko Meyers‘ latest recording, Serenade: The Love Album, drastically contrasts with most of her other recordings. Serenade: The Love Album showcases not only her virtuosic violin playing, but her love of modern and cinematic music. Executive produced by Meyers herself, the album also features the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Keith Lockhart.

The album begins with Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade, a five-movement piece based upon the Plato’s Symposium. This piece sets a tone for the rest of the album, what Ms. Meyer’s considers to be a tribute to her parents 50th wedding anniversary. Rather than choosing pre-existing arrangements for violin and orchestra to complete the album, Ms. Meyers herself commissioned seven arrangers to arrange the rest of the album’s music. The other ten arrangements are world premieres and and beautifully carry the message of love. The highlights from the rest of the album include George Gershwin’s Summertime and Wish Upon A Star composed by Leigh Harline.

You can receive a copy of her new album when you contribute $15 or more during our Fall Membership Drive, October 12-17, 2015. Call (502) 814-6565 or give online.

Video: Jooyoung Kim Plays Liszt

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Live In-Studio: Guitarist Ekachai Jearakul


In 2014, Thai guitarist Ekachai Jearakul won the prestigious International Concert Artist Competition from the Guitar Foundation of America. He’ll be in Louisville to play at the University of Louisville, and perform a live in-studio here at Classical 90.5 on October 6th at 2pm.

Free and open-to-the-public. Doors open at 1:45pm.

VAN Beethoven hits the road Friday


The Los Angeles Philharmonic VAN Beethoven truck will tour Los Angeles, Sept. 11 – Oct. 18, 2015, offering five minutes of Beethoven Fifth in immersive, 360-degrees. Visitors will be welcomed aboard the customized VAN Beethoventruck, complete with carpet and seating from Walt Disney Concert Hall, where they’ll put on the Oculus headset and be transported to the iconic venue. The immersive visual private experience is augmented by a soundtrack that adapts to the viewer’s perspective; whether the viewer is in front of the orchestra, behind or standing amidst the symphony, the music will subtly shift to reflect listener-specific positions and enhance the feeling of being up-close-and-personal with the renowned orchestra.

VAN Beethoven will visit diverse communities throughout Los Angeles, including parks, cultural festivals, museums, and more, providing access to audiences that otherwise may not be able to attend.

Read more here.


All images courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.