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Sæunn and Shostakovitch – Iceland Sympony Orchestra

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Fate and longing for freedom are the main themes in the passionate works by Beethoven and Shostakovich on this evening’s programme. Beethoven composed the overture to Goethe’s play Egmont, which tells the story of a 16th-century Dutch freedom fighter, Count Egmont. The count leads an unsuccessful uprising against the Spanish monarchy and is sentenced to death. Shostakovich composed his Symphony no. 5 at the height of Stalin’s persecution and the work ended up rescuing his career at a precarious point in time.

Haydn’s Cello Concerto is the incarnation of joy and vivacity. The programme includes the premiere of a new solo cadenza written especially for this performance by composer-in-residence Anna Thorvaldsdottir, herself a trained cellist.

Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir is one of Iceland’s foremost cellists and has received deserved accolades for her passionate and evocative playing. She has performed widely, including regular appearances in Carnegie Hall and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the orchestra’s celebrated Iceland Festival. Recently she was nominated on Iceland’s behalf for the Nordic Council Music Prize.

Karina Canellakis is Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been acclaimed for her inspired conducting, including at the Nobel Prize concert in Stockholm last December. She won the Georg Solti Conducting Prize in 2016, and a year later she took the podium in Eldborg hall for the first time, in an enthusiastically received performance with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Egmont Overture
Joseph Haydn: Cello Concerto in D Major
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony no. 5

Karina Canellakis

Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir