One of the leading and most original international compositional voices of her generation, Saunders’ music has been recognised with numerous awards including most recently a GEMA Music Prize for Instrumental Music, the British Composer Music Award for Orchestra 2016, the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Chamber Music 2017, and the prestigious Mauricio Kagel Music Prize 2015.
Saunders was born in London in 1967 and studied composition in Edinburgh with Nigel Osborne and with Wolfgang Rihm in Germany. She lives in Berlin. Since 2012 she is Professor for Composition at the Academy for Music Theatre and Media Hannover, and is a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts and the Sachsen Academy of Arts in Dresden.
Since 2003 she has pursued an intense interest in the sculptural properties of organised sound: “chroma” (2003-2013), “Stasis” (2011) and “Stasis Kollektiv” (2011/16) are expanding spatial collages of up to twenty-four chamber groups and sound sources set in radically different architectural spaces; “Insideout”, a 90-minute collage for a choreographed installation, was her first work for the stage and was created in collaboration with Sasha Waltz. In 2016 an extended choreographic version of her Violin Concerto “Still” (2011/16) was choreographed by Antonio Rúz and performed by dancers from Sasha Waltz & Guests together with Carolin Widmann, the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and Sylvain Cambreling.
2013 - 2017 she wrote an expansive series of solos for individual performers, simultaneously pursuing further her interest in concertos, writing in 2014 “Void” for double percussion, the trumpet concerto “Alba”, and most recently “Skin” (2015/16) for soprano and large ensemble.
“Skin”, the first in a series of three compositions with soprano, will be followed by a 60 minute spatial installation composition for the Berlin Philharmonie in 2017, and by a dance and music theatre work for Cologne Opera for 2021.
As of May 2017