The Finish composer was presented the prize for her recording of L’Amour De Loin, which was produced by Martin Sauer.
The L’Amour De Loin recording features Russian singer Ekaterina Lekhina and Marie-Ange Todorovitch of France singing alongside the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, led by conductor Kent Nagano, the former music director of the Los Angeles Opera and Daniel Belcher.
They beat off stiff competition, which included the Royal Opera House Orchestra in London and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Based around a reinterpretation of the early biography of the 12th-century troubadour Jaufre Rudel, L’amour de loin takes a number of topical themes into its performance including love from afar, the qualities of ideal love and the relations between east and west.
The artist, who is included on Chester Novello’s roster, first premiered the opera in Salzburg in 2000 in a production by Peter Sellars. Following its original performance, Saariaho received widespread acclaim and even won a prestigious Grawemeyer Award.
Her studies at IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique / Musique) have often been cited as having a large influence on her music, and Kaija’s work can often be characterised by its combination of live music and electronics.
Although much of her back-catalogue is full of chamber works, Kaija has turned increasingly to larger productions such as the opera and vocal works.
Saariaho has produced several other vocal works, with Chateau de l’ame (1996), Oltra Mar (1999) and the Quatre Instants (2002) among notable compositions.
The winners of the 109 separate categories contained in the Grammy Awards were announced on Sunday February 13th, with the annual prize ceremony celebrating outstanding achievements in the music industry over the past year.