Kaija Saariaho & Vasco Mendonça

Finnish composer Kaijia Saariaho felt an immediate empathy with her protégé Vasco Mendonça when she chose him from a shortlist of three finalists. “His music is intelligent, well organized and breathes rich cultural knowledge,” she said.

Finnish composer Kaijia Saariaho felt an immediate empathy with her protégé Vasco Mendonça when she chose him from a shortlist of three finalists. “His music is intelligent, well organized and breathes rich cultural knowledge,” she said.

During the mentoring year, music mentor Kaija Saariaho invited Portuguese composer Vasco Mendonça to attend rehearsals and performances of her music in cities across Europe and the United States.

During the mentoring year, music mentor Kaija Saariaho invited Portuguese composer Vasco Mendonça to attend rehearsals and performances of her music in cities across Europe and the United States.

The pair discovered they had a natural affinity – musical and personal – between them, contributing to a very satisfying mentoring year.

The pair discovered they had a natural affinity – musical and personal – between them, contributing to a very satisfying mentoring year.

Saariaho hopes her feedback has given Mendonça ways to estimate his work when composing.

Saariaho hopes her feedback has given Mendonça ways to estimate his work when composing.

Mendonça has also valued Saariaho’s advice on practical matters such as publishing his music and fees for performances.

Mendonça has also valued Saariaho’s advice on practical matters such as publishing his music and fees for performances.

Mendonça set British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Adultery to music.   “Setting poetry – and literary text in general – to music allows such an abstract art as music to be brought back into the world,” he says.

Mendonça set British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Adultery to music. “Setting poetry – and literary text in general – to music allows such an abstract art as music to be brought back into the world,” he says.

The premiere of his new composition, Adultery, for voice, clarinet and cello, was part of Musica nova Helsinki, Finland’s biggest contemporary music festival, in February 2015.

The premiere of his new composition, Adultery, for voice, clarinet and cello, was part of Musica nova Helsinki, Finland’s biggest contemporary music festival, in February 2015.

Mendonça works with the orchestra during rehearsals of his composition, Adultery in Helsinki.

Mendonça works with the orchestra during rehearsals of his composition, Adultery in Helsinki.

Commissioned by Musica nova Helsinki director Anssi Karttunen, Adultery, was accompanied by a dance performance.

Commissioned by Musica nova Helsinki director Anssi Karttunen, Adultery, was accompanied by a dance performance.

Mendonça at a rehearsal of his composition Adultery in Helsinki.

Mendonça at a rehearsal of his composition Adultery in Helsinki.

Vasco Mendonça rehearses Adultery with Diana Theocharidis (choreographer) Aníbal Jiménez, Alina Marinelli and Andrés Rosso (dancers), Ville Konttinen (lighting), Pia Freund (soprano), Mikko Ivars and Anssi Karttunen (cello) and Olli Leppäniemi (clarinet).

Vasco Mendonça rehearses Adultery with Diana Theocharidis (choreographer) Aníbal Jiménez, Alina Marinelli and Andrés Rosso (dancers), Ville Konttinen (lighting), Pia Freund (soprano), Mikko Ivars and Anssi Karttunen (cello) and Olli Leppäniemi (clarinet).