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2014/1

On March 7th and 9th in Cottbus Cottbus Diptych I: Profile was premiered, conducted by Markus Frank. The orchestra did a very good job in what was a very delicate and strange form. The second part, Cottbus Diptych II: Slur, will be performed in Cottbus on April 11th and 13th, Ivan Repusic conducting.

In between the aforesaid performances I had the pleasure of attending the premiere of Pregnant, for sax quartet, string trio and percussion, at the remarkable Ludwig Museum in Cologne on April 3rd. It was a joint commission from the Musikhochschule in Cologne and Deutschlandfunk for the latter’s Forum neuer Musik. It was performed by the Musikhochschule’s Ensemble 20/21, conducted by David Smeyers, an outstanding and ambitious combination.   This piece will be played again at the Kasseler Musiktage in October.

As if that weren’t enough, I must also announce the birth of a violin solo commissioned by Icelandic violinist Sif Tulinius. It will be premiered in Iceland in the autumn.

In the meanwhile, some of my choir arrangements continue to be performed such as Vid gaefunnar dyr, included in a tour programme by Kammerkór Norðurlands (Northland Chamber Choir) at the end of March.

I am hoping to compose a bit less in the following weeks and catch up on correction and improvement projects which grow alongside the creative work but tend to be neglected.

Soon enough I will however be busy again on a new music-theatre project with Cinnober Theater in Gothemburg, the third one. I will give news of that in due time.

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2013/2

I enjoyed a very useful and agreeable Sound Lab residency in Cottbus in September (see previous post), for which I thank conductor and Music Director Evan Christ and the Orchester des Staatstheaters Cottbus. This is a new and generous approach to modern music making for the orchestra: Invite the composers and have them actually interact with the orchestra in rehearsal sessions, without having to finalise everything. I believe I did find and test some ideas which will become part of the two pieces to be composed for the concerts in March and April. The working title is Cottbus Diptych, thus, two parts premiered separately but part of a ten minute Diptych form.

During my stay the orchestra also perfomed Mani once more at the final concert of the Brandenburg summer concert series. A rather packed Johanneskirche in Trebbin hosted the event, which was also broadcast on RBB. Mani will be performed yet again at the ISCM festival in Vienna on November 13, by the Webern Symphony Orchestra this time, in the Sendesaal of the Radiokulturhaus in Vienna at 19:30.

Ensemble 61 gave the American Premiere of my quintet The Elves’ Accent in Saint Paul, Minnesota on June 1st.

Radioflakes for accordeon might probably claim Norwegian citizenship…if it weren’t just a piece of music. Oslo is the city of Frode Haltli who commissioned it and in Oslo – at the Music Academy - it will be played on October 22 by Luca Pignatta, who prepared it’s performance with Haltli. 

Here is a link to Chiara Telleri's performance of the small and lyrical Trattofor oboe, composed for the ten year anniversary of FontanaMix Ensemble in Bologna, of which I am cofounder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7eAo0M9fBc

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2013/1

The past few months have been a very busy period.

I should have reported earlier on the concert Caput gave with my music on November 30, announced in my last news post. In short a very enjoyable experience for me, and for many a good occasion to get to know my music since these pieces aren’t that often performed in concert here in Iceland. The soloists deserve special praise: Guido Bäumer, saxophone in Brain Trill, Anna Guðný Guðmundsdóttir, piano in O versa and Borgar Magnason, contrabass in Cono di fede. The ensemble was outstanding as always, this time conducted by Guðni Franzson.

Guðni Franzson also conducted the Icelandic premiere of Orgoras Speaks in the Nordic House, Reykjavík, on March 14th. Soloists were the ‘owners’ of the piece, Beate Zelinsky and David Smeyers from Cologne. This marvellous performance secured the piece’s position as one of my very favourite creations.

Time must tell if the same will hold for the piano concerto premiered on April 19 by Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov. The Icelandic title is: Lokalagið úr kvikmyndinni Í draumi sérhvers manns er fall hans falið. Let’s attempt a translation: Final Theme from the film In each mans dream his downfall lurks. This rather lengthy title bears a reference to a poem by major Icelandic modernist poet Steinn Steinarr, but the film quoted in the title actually doesn’t exist. The following link to the performance should be active until the beginning of May 2013 (my piece starts at 19:55 minutes. http://www.ruv.is/sarpurinn/ur-tonlistarlifinu/21042013-0  It was a mighty good performance by Iceland’s greatest talent at the piano and very well received indeed.

The Cottbus Symphony Orchestra has appointed me as one of two composers in residence for the ’13-’14 season (Luis Pena being the other composer). This is part of the orchestra’s Cottbus Sound Lab project, terminating in the premiere of two new orchestra pieces by each composer. It comprises our stay in Cottbus the whole month of September to explore the orchestra during some rehearsal sessions. It is a great opportunity to be able to test some ideas and orchestration before employing them in a score (or abandoning them...). My two new orchestra pieces will be premiered in April and May 2014.