Image: Kaija Saariaho, Paris, 12.05.09. Copyright: Priska Ketterer Luzern

Looking to add some new composers to your classical playlist? Here are a few of our suggestions, both modern and ancient. We begin with the present day and South Korean composer Unsuk Chin (*1961). Based in Berlin, she has written haunting pieces for orchestra, voice, chamber ensembles, and electronics. Listen to her Tableaux vivants for orchestra (2014-15):


Lili Boulanger, composer

Lili Boulanger. Source: Wiki Commons.

Veering into the past, meet Lili Boulanger (1893-1918), the sister of famed teacher and composer Nadia Boulanger. Lili was the daughter of French musician and conservatoire teacher Ernest Boulanger and the Russian princess Raissa Myshetskaya. A child prodigy, Lili won the prestigious composition prize, the Prix de Rome, at the age of nineteen for her work Faust et Hélène

A student of Fauré, Boulanger was influenced by her teacher and other Impressionist composers such as Claude Debussy. She was herself an influence on the work of Swiss composer Arthur Honegger.

Lili Boulanger died before her twenty-fifth birthday after suffering from various illnesses throughout her career. She left some beautiful works behind, full of colorful harmonies and delicate melodies.

You can begin your acquaintance with Lili Boulanger‘s work by listening to her Nocturne pour violon et piano (1911):


Jumping back to the present day and more dissonant sound fields, have a listen to Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho‘s work Sept Papillons (2000) pour violoncelle. This is shivery music that draws you in and continues to hover in your mind even after the piece has finished. Saariaho (*1952) was a student at the Sibelius Academy before continuing her studies in Freiburg. Her list of works is extensive and worth exploring in detail.


Our furthest journey back in time today is to visit the music of Hildegard of Bingen, a mystic and composer who was born in 1098 and died in 1179. Hildegard founded monasteries, saw visions, and wrote works of theology but she also composed music, and beautiful music at that. You can enjoy her Spiritus Sanctus  in the recording below:


What are you listening to these days? Post a YouTube link to your recordings of the moment in the comments below or on our Facebook Page!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *