Kaija Saariaho does not mess around. She creates powerful concert music and opera which often combines acoustic instrumentation and electronics to express her textural, spectral inspired compositions. Having spent her formative years studying in Helsinki, Saariaho’s earlier output was set within the strict confines of serialism, only moving to a spectral approach following a period of research at IRCAM. Saariaho’s complex, highly polyphonic, and richly textured music has been admired and recognized throughout the music community for many years, achieving some of the highest possible accolades including a Grammy Award for Best Opera in 2011, a Polar Music Prize in 2013 and most recently a BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Contemporary Music.
Now for a bit of push-back on the general tone so far. We (and the panelists in the video) have mentioned how technology can create some dangerous grey areas when it comes to education — such as removing the vital social aspects of learning and of music practice in general, and also subjecting education to frameworks often designed by non-musicians or engineers lacking a diversity of musical knowledge, awareness, and respect (and thus unable to build tools that allow for all modes of musical expression).