News from around the world

Anna Thorvaldsdóttir

The Icelandic composer's new orchestral installation receives its first performances on 1 June 2024 at the Reykjavík Arts Festival


On 1 June 2024, Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdóttir's major new orchestral installation piece, Metaxis, will receive its first performance from the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (ISO) conducted by Eva Ollikainen at Harpa Concert Hall, as part of the opening celebration of the 2024 Reykjavík Arts Festival and of the festival's collaboration with Harpa and the ISO. Metaxis will be performed from 4-4:30pm and 5-5:30pm in the foyer of Harpa; both performances are free and open to the public but booking is necessary. Ticket bookings open on 20 May 2024.

Thorvaldsdóttir describes Metaxis as 'an installation for deconstructed orchestra and space'. Audiences will have the unique opportunity to explore the music from different perspectives, as they wander through Harpa's iconic foyer and feel how their experience of the music changes with every step. The musicians will be spread out over the different levels of the building, blending together in myriad ways and creating a unique sound world with innumerable textures.

Thorvaldsdóttir says:

From a musical perspective, in addition to the work's purely artistic aspect, the idea is to give the audience an insight into certain distinctive core elements of the music. My own method and style of orchestration and progression is quite organically ‘holistic', in that it might at times not be obvious how all the different parts come together to make up the whole. The music is often built as various layers of sounds, nuances and harmonies that move between instruments and groups and Metaxis provides a distinctive opportunity for the audience to perceive how these layers literally move between different locations in the space as the materials move between the groups and performers. The audience is also invited to take an active part in exploring the various elements, layers and perspectives in the musical language by literally walking within the musical landscape and to spatially explore how the various materials relate to each other and how they move between performers, creating not only a flow in the music but also a literal flow through the space.

Thorvaldsdóttir's music is composed as much by sounds and nuances as by harmonies and lyrical material - it is written as an ecosystem of sounds, where materials continuously grow in and out of each other, often inspired in an important way by nature and its many qualities, in particular structural ones, like proportion and flow.

Publicity for the first performance of Anna Thorvaldsdóttir's 'Metaxis'
Publicity for the first performance of Anna Thorvaldsdóttir's 'Metaxis'

The composer's 2023-2024 season (September 2023 until June 2024) includes performances of her music across at least twenty-one countries, including Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

Her music is widely recorded, and all of her orchestral works are available on the Sono Luminus label. Most recently, Sono Luminus released Anna's latest portrait album, Archora / Aiōn, which was recorded by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eva Ollikainen. The label's previous releases include Catamorphosis as part of the album Atmospheriques in 2023; Metacosmos in 2019; Aeriality, originally released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2014 and re-released in a remastered version on Sono Luminus in 2022; and Dreaming, originally released on a portrait album by Innova Recordings in 2011 and re-released on Sono Luminus in 2020.

Anna's work is frequently performed internationally and has been commissioned by many of the world's leading orchestras, ensembles and arts organizations, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Danish String Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the BBC Proms and Carnegie Hall.

Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. Photo © Anna Maggý
Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. Photo © Anna Maggý

Composer-in-Residence with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra 2018-2023, Anna was in 2023 also in residence at the Aldeburgh Festival and the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music. She holds a PhD from the University of California in San Diego, and is currently based in the London area of the UK.

Further information:

Posted 10 May 2024 by Keith Bramich



 << Home              More news >>