Kaija Saariaho will be the guest of honour at the 40th edition of Musica, the Strasbourg festival for avant-garde music.
The Musica Festival, the annual meeting of avant-garde music in Strasbourg, is celebrating its 40th edition this year, from Thursday 15 September to 2 October. Created in 1983 on the initiative of the French Ministry of Culture and the City of Strasbourg, its aim is to present the most significant works in the musical evolution of the second half of the 20th century and to compare them with current trends. In addition to music, it offers all forms of avant-garde artistic creation, opening up to performing arts performances and cross-disciplinary artistic practices.
This year, Musica will take place in more than forty venues in the city of Strasbourg and will feature the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, Musica’s guest of honour on the occasion of her seventieth birthday (she turns seventy on 14 October). The programme includes a new production of her opera Only the Sound Remains, which will be given two performances at the Maillon Theatre, on 16 and 18 September. On the 17th, the tribute will consist of a screening of Innocence – Kaija Saariaho’s opera premiered at the Festival d’art lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence in 2021 – and a concert entitled Kaija dans le miroir [Kaija in front of the mirror}, which will be held at the Palais des Festivals in Strasbourg and will cover the artist’s career through some of her most outstanding pieces, from Nuits, adieux (1991, for vocal quartet and electronics) to Light Still and Moving (2016, for flute and kantele, the plucked string instrument that is the musical symbol of Finland), including NoaNoa (1992, for flute and electronics), Die Aussicht (1996/2019, for soprano and string quartet), Sept papillons (2000, for cello) and Changing Light (2002, for soprano and violin). Participants in this part of the concert include the French quartet Ardeo and Orfeó Català members Mireia Tarragó (soprano), Mariona Llobera (mezzo-soprano), Matthew Thomson (tenor) and Joan Miquel Muñoz (baritone).
The second and most important part of the concert will feature Tres Coyotes, the band that debuted in 2019 at the Turin Jazz Festival, and which is made up of three great friends of Saariaho: the composer and pianist Magnus Lindberg, the cellist Anssi Karttunen and the legendary Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, a trio characterised by breaking stylistic barriers and overcoming preconceived ideas.