Print

2018/1

The preparation of a complex publication containing the multi-track recording my choir work Elsku Borga mín ,the related video work by Jeannette Castioni and a series of articles around the subject, is well underway. It will be curated by art historian Margrét Elísabet Ólafsdóttir. It has received the support from the Iceland University of the Arts and a number of other institutes, as well as the generous support of private donators during the crowd funding effort at Karolinafund. A video about the project (in Icelandic) may be viewed here.

I am just about to start the complex mixing process - there are just a few recording sessions left. We were hoping to publish by mid October, but there are many factors which might delay this. We will just proceed patiently until we have a ready product and something the donators deserve.

The violin concertino announced in the last post is about to be premiered, on July 7. The solist will be Marco Fusi accompanied by the Caput Ensemble. I have to take back the words on a "new direction" from my last post. I have been working on such a thing, but decided it needed more time. This time it will "only" be an ordinary piece, based on the violin solo Etching extended and arranged. The title of the new piece is in Italian: Messaggio dal vetraio, scored for flute, clarinet, percussion, viola, cello and contrabass, along with the solist. It's just about 12 minutes and I look very much forward to hearing it.

On July 20, at the Darmstadt summer courses, the percussion class of Christian Dierstein will perform Sulphur Pulse. I was very happy to receive that news since I haven't heard that piece for a long time and never had a recording of it.

Print

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.

Print

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.