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2017/2

A couple of events announced in the last section have happily taken place:

Orgoras Speaks came out on a CD from Neos, together with works by Adriana Hölzsky and Nikolaus Brass (Neos 11708).

The Icelandic version of the music theatre piece Play Alter Native (text by Finn Iunker) was staged on October 7 and 8 in Hafnarborg, the arts centre in the town of Hafnarfjordur, next to Reykjavik. In my translation the work Is called Annarleikur. I was extremely happy with the collaboration with the performers: The youngsters in the Reykjavík Girls Choir, their leaders Sigrídur Soffía Haflidadóttir and Gudrun Árný Gudmundsdóttir, actors Arnór Dan Kristinsson and Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir, baritone Jón Svavar Jósefsson and the ensemble: Anna Petrini, recorders, Kristín Thora Haraldsdóttir, viola, Katie Buckley, harp and Frank Aarnink, percussion. The show was sold out on both days and we really hope to be able to repeat it sometimes in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got the news that the Freiburg based ensemble recherche will be performing The Elves’ Accent in Hombroich on May 19th next year.

Pregnant is due to be issued on CD soon next year, performed by Ensemble 20/21, and two choir pieces are coming out in Iceland this month (November 2017), namely Vid gaefunnar dyr and Eg veit eina baugalínu, both of them based on traditional tunes, although the former is by most standards my own construction. This will be on a CD produced by the highly professional Kammerkór Nordurlands (Northern Iceland Chamber Choir).

I don’t know if CDs are going to remain a relevant form of distribution, but good recordings with a carefully edited booklet are certainly precious, and I am fortunate to have these three brand new recordings available within a while.

I have started work on a new chamber piece, a commission for next summer’s Skálholt Music Days. It is written for the solo violin of Marco Fusi and the Caput Ensemble. Premiere sometime in June. I will have to give more news of the project of this piece since it is conceived in a particular – dare I say…new? – way. Further details will have to wait.

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2017/1

A number of projects have slowly been taking form and this year will be a very busy one.

Njáls Saga got implemented and restaged in February, with the joint direction of Svante Aulis Löwenborg and myself. The crew was the same. There were two shows in Oslo and four back in Gothenburg, at the good old Cinnober venue, where it sold out a couple of evenings.

Object of Terror had two prestigious performances, one at the Elb Philharmonie in Hamburg, with the NDR Kammerorchester, on February 10, and at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles on April 12, with members of the LA Phil. Conductors were, respectively, Jonathan Stockhammer and Daníel Bjarnason.

The recording of Orgoras Speaks, made at the WDR in Cologne in 2009, was made public on Youtube, with a video featuring images by artist Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir (Orgoras video). This piece will furthermore shortly be released on a CD with a couple of other recordings the Zelinsky/Smeyers duo has done as soloists. The CD will be edited and distributed by the German Neos label, which has been building up an impressive catalogue.

My big choir piece, Elsku Borga mín, is being recorded in May and is to be issued as a small book containing the CD, a USB key with the 5.1 version (very appropriate for this piece) and the video by Jeannette Castioni, together with some articles about the piece and its background. Hopefully all this will be ready in October 2017. The project has received some funding, among others from the Iceland Academy of the Arts.

Since a while back I have been planning to stage my children’s music theatre piece, Play Alter Native, on a text by Finn Iunker, in Icelandic. We are getting closer to this goal, and this should happen in some form in the town of Hafnarfjörður in October this year. There will be more news of that in due time.

It seems the news section is missing a report from 2016. I don’t know if this has to do with my being appointed professor at the Iceland Academy of the Arts from August 2016. I have been dedicating quite some time to writing articles, and my musical output has temporarily diminished. However, my post is not full time and a number of revised and new orchestral works should be slowly but surely pouring out in the following months.

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2015 / 2

My new stage work, Njáls Saga, was premiered at the Cinnober Theatre in Gothenburg on September 27.  It is a continuous voicescape which makes use of Ludvig Uhlbors' transcription from the homonymous mideval Icelandic saga.   In the version now on stage the duration is just over an hour.

During the later working stages some changes were made to the production team so my previous news-post on this matter is not exact.  The final layout of the production team is as follows: Text, scenography and costumes: Ludvig Uhlbors; Lights: Svante Aulis Löwenborg; Music, libretto and stage direction: Atli Ingólfsson; Sound and music performance: Anton Svanberg.  On stage there were: Árni Bergur Zoega, bass, Fabian Silén, baritone, Martin Alexanderson, baritone and Örnólfur Eldon Thorsson, tenor.

I guess the big news here is that, besides the music and the libretto, I was responsible for the direction.  A first time for me, but an experience I would be ready to repeat.  The piece will be staged ten times until October 18.  Some guest performances in other cities are being planned but no confirmation can be given yet.

I am very grateful for the great work all those involved have done and special thanks go out to the organiser and producer Svante Aulis Löwenborg who, together with Anna Forsell, co-director of Cinnober Theatre, made all this happen.

 (photo: Rakel Erna Skarphedinsdottir)

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