January 9, 2020 music

Shanti Lalita was asleep when Hurricane Maria nearly ripped off the bedroom window of her fourth-floor apartment in the San Juan neighborhood of Santurce. It was 5:00 a.m., and the 27-year-old cellist and composer was napping between bouts of vigilance as the category-five storm that ravaged the island with wind speeds reaching up to 155 miles per hour. Lalita screamed, she recalls, then sprung into action to save her instruments and other belongings. 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…