Each year, the Iceland Symphony takes part in the Dark Music Days, a festival of contemporary Icelandic music. This programme features three first performances, as well as other outstanding recent works. Þuríður Jónsdóttir’s flute concerto Flutter, written in 2008, is a masterful work that combines solo flute, orchestra, and cricket and grasshopper sounds. Italian flautist Mario Caroli, who specialises in contemporary performance, premiered the concerto in 2009 with magnificent results. Páll Ragnar Pálsson’s new concerto for flute and bassoon, Crevace, heard here for the first time, was written for the Iceland Symphony’s principal flautist, Hallfríður Ólafsdóttir. Estonian bassoonist Martin Kuuskman has also drawn international attention for his interpretation of new music.
Also receiving its first Icelandic performance is a new orchestral work by the Iceland Symphony’s composer-in-residence, Anna Þorvaldsdóttir. It was written for the New York Philharmonic and premiered there in April 2018 under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen. In yet another indicator of Anna’s stature in the world of music, the Berlin Philharmonic will perform this new work just a few days prior to its Icelandic premiere.
The programme will open in a somewhat unusual way, with the Iceland Symphony Youth Orchestra performing the highly original HandsFree, written by British composer Anna Meredith for the National Youth Orchestra in Great Britain. This striking and entertaining work was premiered to universal acclaim at the Proms in 2012 and has been taking a victory lap around the world since then.
Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Iceland Symphony Youth Orchestra
Iceland University of the Arts Choir
Anna Meredith HandsFree
Anna Þorvaldsdóttir Metacosmos
Þuríður Jónsdóttir Flutter, concerto for flute
Páll Ragnar Pálsson Crevace, concerto for flute and bassoon
Veronique Vaka Lendh
María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir New work