Details Announced for Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Reykjavĺk Festival

Mike Lawson • ChoralNews • August 22, 2016

Share This:

The Los Angeles Philharmonic announced today additional programming details for the Reykjavík Festival (April 2017) in Walt Disney Concert Hall, curated by Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason and LA Phil Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen.

The festival is designed as an exploration of the eclectic Icelandic music scene, highlighting the creativity thriving in Reykjavík and covering a wide spectrum of music, from chamber, choral and symphonic to pop music. For the first time ever, Sigur Rós will perform songs from their albums with an orchestra, marking their LA Phil and Walt Disney Concert Hall debuts. These performances will include a blend of new and old music from Sigur Rós (without orchestra), alongside existing material (with orchestra). Each of these Walt Disney Concert Hall presentations (April 13, 14, 15) will be prefaced by three different symphonic and choral programs including world and U.S. premieres for orchestra.

Schola Cantorum Reykjavík will participate in these concerts. Formed in 1996, they have played an important role in the Icelandic music scene with a repertoire that consists mainly of renaissance, baroque and contemporary music including numerous premiere performances of works by Icelandic contemporary composers. They are particularly renowned for their presentations of Icelandic and Nordic a capella music.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Conductor Laureate and festival co-curator Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead the orchestra in the world premiere (an LA Phil commission) of a new violin concerto from Daníel Bjarnason performed by Pekka Kuusisto (April 13). The orchestra will also present the U.S. premiere of an LA Phil co-commission from Haukur Tómasson, his piano concerto with Icelandic soloist Vikingur Ólafsson (April 14), and the U.S. premiere of Hlynur Aðils Vilmarsson’s BD (April 13). These April 13, 14, 15 programs will also include works from Anna Thorvaldsdottir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir and Jón Leifs, including Leif’s seldom performed Organ Concerto with soloist James McVinnie.

Opening these evenings with chamber music performances are Nordic Affect, a group of period instrument musicians who are united in their passion for viewing familiar musical forms from a different perspective and for daring to venture into new musical terrain, believing that music knows no boundaries.

On April 11 Daníel Bjarnason will conduct a Green Umbrella program of contemporary material with the LA Phil New Music Group, including the world premiere of a work for chamber orchestra and chorus from Þuríður Jonsdottir and the U.S. premiere of Pall Ragnar Pálsson’s work for cello and chamber orchestra with soloist Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir. Both of these pieces are LA Phil commissions.

The final concert of the festival (April 17) features composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, whose background is in Iceland’s alternative music scene; he is also well-known for his film music, including the Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning score for James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything. He will be joined by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble.

The other half of this concert will feature Icelandic record label/collective Bedroom Community’s Whale Watching Tour, a special celebration for the label’s 10th anniversary. Formed in 2006 by Valgeir Sigurðsson, with Nico Muhly and Ben Frost, the label also features Sam Amidon, Daníel Bjarnason, Puzzle Muteson, Paul Corley, Nadia Sirota and James McVinnie. 2015 saw two new additions to the family: Emily Hall & Jodie Landau and wild Up. 

Prior to each of the concerts on April 11-17, pianist, conductor, musicologist, author, journalist and Iceland Symphony Orchestra Program Director Árni Heimir Ingólfsson will present free pre-concert conversations in BP Hall.

The festival also includes the previously announced Toyota Symphonies for Youth concerts on April 1 & 8; additional programming details including visual and installation art and other performances will be announced at a future date.


The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!