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In the Final concert of Dark Music Days Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra premieres three pieces written by the Icelandic composers Haukur Tómasson, Kolbeinn Bjarnason and Una Sveinbjarnardottir. The orchestra also plays two pieces by foreign composers, Serenade by the Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, and Magic With Everyday Objects by Missy Mazzoli from the United States, neither of which have been heard before in Iceland. Soloists in Haukur’s piece are Duo Harpverk, Katie Buckley, harp, and Frank Aarnink, cimbalon. Soloist in Kolbein’s piece is Hildigunnur Einarsdóttir, mezzo soprano.
Founded in 1974 under Rut Ingólfsdóttir, the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra initially comprised a dozen young musicians who had returned to Iceland after advanced music studies abroad to perform with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and teach at the Reykjavík College of Music. The ensemble was founded with the dual objectives of giving regular public performances of chamber music from the Baroque era to the 20th century, and providing musicians with varied and challenging opportunities to perform live. The orchestra is renowned for the range of its repertoire and the excellence of its live performances, including the highly popular Christmas Baroque concerts. It has commissioned and premièred many of the most significant works by contemporary Icelandic composers, many of which were composed especially for the ensemble. The Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra has released numerous CDs. Its recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos received the Icelandic Music Awards in 2004. The orchestra has twice been nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize.