A leading modern composer, born in 1931 in Chistopol in Tatarstan (part of Russia). Her music is allied to that of other Soviet avant-garde composers such as Alfred Schnittke and Edison Denisov. She studied at the Kazan Conservatoire, but was little known outside the Soviet Union until the mid 1980s, when her haunting violin concerto called Offertorium was played by its dedicatee Gidon Kremer.

She travelled to the West in 1985, and settled near Hamburg in 1992. Among her commissions are a string quartet for the Kronos Quartet in 1994, a viola concerto for Yuri Bashmet in 1997, and a work In the Shadow of the Tree for koto, bass koto, zheng, and orchestra. She is renowned for the unusual combinations in her instrumentation.