Mattila, who drew raves for her performance in the title role of Strauss's Salome at the Metropolitan Opera last year, is making her Philharmonic debut.
Quatre Instants is based on four poems, in French, by the Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf. Mattila debuted a version for vocal and piano in Paris in April 2003; she gave the premiere of the orchestral version with the Finnish Chamber Orchestra and conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste at Finland's Tammisaari Summer Concert Festival on August 1, 2003.
Saariaho is one of the wave of leading composers, conductors, and performers who have emerged from Finland in recent years. Her most successful work is the opera L'Amour de loin, another collaboration with Maalouf, which premiered at the Salzburg Festival in 2000.
Also on the program are Sibelius's tone poem The Bard, which the Philharmonic plays for the first time, and Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony. Sakari Oramo conducts. The program is repeated on November 12 and 13.