25. January 2018

Anna Thorvaldsdottir named new Composer-in-Residence

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has named Anna Thorvaldsdottir as its next Composer-in-Residence. Her tenure with the orchestra began in January 2018, and takes over the position from composer and conductor Daníel Bjarnason, who has held it for the past three years. 

Thorvaldsdottir will play a multi-faceted role within the Iceland Symphony. She will write new works for the orchestra, and the orchestra will also perform some of her other works, such as her new composition Metacosmos, which will be premiered by the New York Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen in April 2018. The Iceland Symphony also has plans to record the work for the Sono Luminus label; their recent release for the label, Recurrence, which also included Thorvaldsdottir's music, received rave reviews. Anna will also be a member of the orchestra's program committee and lead the young composers workshop Yrkja, which the orchestra organizes in collaboration with the Icelandic Music Information Center.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir is one of today's most renowned contemporary composers and has received many honors and awards for her music. Her works have been performed at leading festivals and concert halls such as the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, and at Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Anna received the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2012, the Kravis Emerging Composer Prize awarded by the New York Philharmonic in 2015, and earlier this year she was the recipient of two Lincoln Center awards: the Emerging Artist Award and the Martin E. Segal Award.

Leading ensembles around the world have performed Thorvaldsdottir's music, including the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ensemble Intercontemporain, NDR Elbphilharmonie, Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Crossing, Oslo Philharmonic, and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. Anna's debut portrait album – Rhízōma – was released in October 2011 through Innova Recordings and was very well received and appeared on a number of year end lists, e.g. at TimeOut New York and TimeOut Chicago. Anna's portrait album – Aerial – was released by Deutsche Grammophon in November 2014 and appeared on a number of year end lists, e.g. at New Yorker Magazine, Boston Globe, iTunes Classical, and WQXR's Q2. In the Light of Air was released by Sono Luminus in August 2015, performed by ICE and appeared on a number of year end lists, e.g. at the New York Times, The New Yorker, Boston Globe, NPR Classical, and Chicago Reader. 

Arna Kristín Einarsdóttir, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra's Managing Director, said:

It has been a thrill to follow the international attention that Icelandic music and musicians have received in the past few years, Anna Thorvaldsdottir has played a big part in this, and her career is quite extraordinary. Many of the world's leading orchestras have commissioned and premiered her works; she has received many important honors and awards, and was listed as one of the world's 35 most important female composers of the 20th and 21st centuries by the Washington Post's music critic. It is a great honor for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra to welcome Anna as part of our team and we have high expectations for our collaboration. This is a milestone in the orchestra's history as she is the first woman to be chosen as Composer-in-Residence – it is certainly about time. 

Anna Thorvaldsdottir said:

It will be wonderful to work with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in this way - orchestral music has a very special place with me and I am very much looking forward to working together on the various projects that await us. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has for a long time been at the forefront of contemporary music programming, and the fact that they are able to have an Compser-in-Residence that works with contemporary music invaluably strengthens that aspect of their work. I am very thankful to be able to collaborate with such a wonderful group of people on continuing to make contemporary music a distinctly visible and diverse part of the orchestra's efforts.