Soprano Simone Osborne was one of the youngest-ever winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions when she won in 2008 at age 21. Born in British Columbia, she sings with the Canadian Opera Company and has also appeared with ensembles from around the world, including the New York City Opera, the Vancouver Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Marilyn Horne, who Osborne cites as a mentor, said Osborne is "half athlete and half artist...She understands that voices need to be brilliant, dark and bright, all at once."
Kaija Saariaho is a prominent member of a group of Finnish composers and performers who are now, in mid-career, making a worldwide impact. She studied composition in Helsinki, Freiburg and Paris, where she has lived since 1982. Her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures are often created by combining live music and electronics. She was named Musician of the Year 2008 by Musical America for being "among the few contemporary composers to achieve public acclaim as well as universal critical respect.”