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Dark Music Days 2018

January 25 - 27

Dark Music Days is an annual festival of contemporary and new music which takes place during the darkest period of the Icelandic winter. The festival was founded in 1980 by the Iceland Composers’ Society as a platform for Icelandic composers to present their work. Today the festival is a platform for performing and getting to know new music with an emphasis on new Icelandic compositions and performers in addition to international artists. The Dark Music Days 2018 will present a cross section of pioneering contemporary music from both sides of the Atlantic. The focus lies on works with mixed techniques where the boundaries of contemporary music performance are explored. The following events take place at Harpa:

January 25

Opening Ceremony – Norðurbryggja 16:30
Þórunn Gréta Sigurðardóttir, Chairperson of the Icelandic Composers’ Society and Gunnar Karel Másson, Artistic Director of Dark Music Days 2018 address and welcome guests. Free admission.

Elbag Chamber Orchestra   – Kaldalón 17:00
The Elblag Chamber Orchestra is one of Poland’s youngest ensembles of its kind, founded in October 2007. The Members of the Orchestra are young and talented people, graduates of the best Music Academies in Poland (Gdansk, Warsaw, Katowice), prize winners of solo and chamber music competitions.

ISO Youth Orchestra at Dark Music Days – Open Spaces 17:30
Sila, by John Luther Adams, is composed for a group of performers spread around a large space, where members of the audience can walk around and find themselves a listening spot that suits them. The composer says, “This is music that breathes.” All of the performers are soloists who play their parts at the tempo they consider appropriate. The public is invited to hear Iceland Symphony Youth Orchestra and students from the Iceland Academy of the Arts perform Adams’ inspired piece, under the leadership of Daníel Bjarnason. The event is free and open to the public.

Sæunn and Víkingur at Dark Music Days – Iceland Symphony – Eldborg 19:30
Icelandic contemporary music has been a hot item around the world in the recent term. In February 2017, the “Into Iceland” festival was held in the newly opened Elbphilharmonie Hall in Hamburg, and in April the Los Angeles Philharmonic held a 10-day festival dedicated to Icelandic music. New Icelandic compositions were commissioned for both, and the ISO’s concert at the Dark Music Days festival features the Icelandic premiere of all of them. The conductor is Daníel Bjarnason, the ISO’s artist-in-residence, who acted as artistic advisor at the LA Philharmonic’s Iceland festival.

After Still Park – Hörpuhorn 22:00
Program: Erik DeLuca – Triple Duet and Friends (2018) 10’ – Premiere / Satoshi Ashikawa – Still Park (1981) 12’/ Jesper Pedersen – Tethys (2018) 12′- Premiere

Katie Buckley & Elísabet Waage: harps
Anna Guðný Guðmundsdóttir & Snorri Sigfús Birgisson:  pianos
Frank Aarnink & Matt Evans:  vibraphone and percussion
Anna Signý Sæmundsdóttir: flute
Berglind María Tómasdóttir: flute
Erik DeLuca: guitar
Alison MacNeil: guitar
Jesper Pedersen: synthesizer
A chorus of friends

Free admission. 

January 26

Yrkja: Young Composers – Iceland Symphony – Norðurljós 12:00
In an effort to encourage orchestral works by young composers, the Iceland Symphony now organizes its third composers’ workshop under the guidance of its artist-in-residence, Daníel Bjarnason. Composers Gísli Magnússon and Veronique Vaka Jacques were selected by a five-member committee made up of composers and members of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. They began working with the orchestra last autumn, and have thus developed their skills in writing for symphony orchestra. Both works will be premiered at this concert. Free admission.

January 27

Trondheim Sinfonietta – Norðurljós 19:00
Trondheim Sinfonietta celebrates their 20th birthday with the expanding Norwegian spectral music of L. Thoresen and Hilmar Thordarsons magical conducting-glove-system CONDIS. Rzewski’s Main Drag leads to endless party.

Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra & The Elblag Chamber Orchestra – Norðurljós 21:00
The Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra is joined by the Eblag Chamber Orchestra from Poland under the direction of Bjarni Frímann Bjarnason at the Dark Music Days’ final concert. The program consists of premieres only, three world premieres and two Icelandic premieres.