16 June 2016
The festival takes place in the stunning new Harpa concert hall (pictured)
Icelandic pianist Vikingur Ólafsson is the Artistic Director of Harpa’s flagship festival, Reykjavík Midsummer Music. 4 days, 7 concerts, 18 extraordinary musicians!
For the fifth year in a row, exceptional musicians from all over the world are coming together for Reykjavík Midsummer Music, the award-winning chamber music flagship festival of Reykjavík’s iconic new concert hall, Harpa. It brings extraordinary musicians from the international concert stage together with some of the best performers from Iceland's vibrant music scene. The result is a few bright summer nights of inspired, world class music-making.
Here’s what Ólafsson has to say:
What makes it different?
Every year, the festival is organised around a central theme that runs like a thread through the programme of each concert. The aim is to bring works from different times and places into an exciting artistic whole, to uncover the unexpected connections between them, and to arouse the curiosity of the audience. Reykjavík Midsummer Music is a festival for the curious ear: one may come to one of our concert to hear Robert Schumann, but leave enthralled by Kaija Saariaho. It is a festival of surprise encounters and fresh perspectives.
What is this year's theme?
This year, the festival theme is Wanderer. For the Romantic generation, the everyday act of taking a walk became an artistic, even mystical undertaking. Walking offered an exclusive encounter with nature, a way to experience the sublime. The restless Wanderer is therefore a major theme in the most celebrated works of the era, including those by Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann. In this year's festival, one can enjoy aspects of the Wanderer theme that extend way beyond the Romantic era. They include space exploration, the travels of composers collecting folk songs, the brave journeys of those who venture beyond the boundaries of musical tradition, and, ultimately, the way music sends us off on an unpredictable expedition through our inner landscape. New musical territory will be explored in a literal sense as well, with two world premieres of new works on the programme – one by Áskell Másson, the other by Skúli Sverrisson.
And who is coming to play?
This year's line-up includes Russian violin virtuoso Viktoria Mullova and British cellist Matthew Barley – both of whom are passionate about broadening the musical horizons of their audiences. We are also delighted to welcome two very special pianists from New York: New music pioneer Ursula Oppens, and the much-loved pianist and mentor Jerome Lowenthal. Exciting young stars of the international chamber music scene include violinist Tay Murray and violist Jennifer Stumm. Pianist and artistic director Víkingur Ólafsson has summoned a phalanx of Icelandic musicians of the highest calibre, including Iceland Symphony's leading players: concert master Sigurún Eðvaldsdóttir, cellist Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir and clarinetist Arngunnur Árnadóttir. And it's not all classical – bass guitarist and composer Skúli Sverrisson's musical collaborators include icons from the worlds of jazz, pop, rock and experimental performance art.
Reykjavík Midsummer Music, 16 - 19 June in Harpa, Reykjavík
Artistic Director: Víkingur Ólafsson
4 days, 7 concerts, 18 extraordinary musicians