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Two Symphonies and a Toccata – Iceland Symphony Orchestra

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Two new symphonies will be performed at this Iceland Symphony concert dedicated to new and recent Icelandic music. Þorsteinn Hauksson has lived on the European mainland for years and has been nominated three times for the Nordic Prize in composition. His Symphony Two (2014) is in eight short movements that call to mind Japanese haiku, where fleeting thoughts and ideas are sketched out. John Speight has been active as a composer, singer, and teacher since he moved to Iceland in 1972. He has written close to 200 works of various sizes and shapes, including concertos and symphonies. When the Iceland Symphony premiered his cello concerto in 2014, one critic called it an “awe-inspiring experience.” John wrote his fifth symphony over the period from 2009 through 2016. It is in four movements, with three intermezzi dedicated to close friends of the composer.

Karólína Eiríksdóttir’s Toccata is a somewhat older work, a powerful composition written for Orkester Norden in 1999. Iceland Symphony composer-in-residence Anna Þorvaldsdóttir wrote Illumine for the famous French group Ensemble Intercontemporain. Anna-Maria Helsing’s work with the Iceland Symphony has been highly successful, as she knows Icelandic music well, having conducted Karólína’s opera Magnus Maria throughout the Nordic region a few years ago. This concert is a must-see for anyone who keeps abreast of developments in new Icelandic music.

Anna-Maria Helsing

  • Program

    Karólína Eiríksdóttir Toccata
    Þorsteinn Hauksson Symphony Two
    Anna Þorvaldsdóttir Illumine
    John Speight Symphony no. 5