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Kaija Saariaho receives the Venice Golden Lion.

The 65th edition of the International Festival of Contemporary Music of La Biennale di Venezia opens today with the presentation of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, which the festival has decided to award, on the recommendation of the festival’s director, Lucia Ronchetti, to the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, in recognition of the “remarkable technical and expressive level she has achieved in her choral scores and for her original use of the voice”. The award ceremony will take place at midday at the Palazzo Giustinian and in the evening, at 20:00, the Teatro La Fenice will host the Saariaho tribute concert, in which the Spanish conductor Ernest Martinez Izquierdo will conduct the La Fenice Theatre Orchestra in a programme that includes Notes on Light, for cello and orchestra, composed by Saariaho in 2006. The programme is completed with the Italian premiere of an orchestral work by Hans Abrahamsen composed in 2011 and based on the orchestration of Debussy’s piano suite The Children’s Corner.

© Photograph by Priska Ketterer downloaded from the Kaija Saariaho website.