Iceland’s music world is buzzing with excitement after several big news headlines this fall! From an Emmy-winning Icelandic composer being honored at the World Soundtrack Awards, to an exciting recording studio opportunity, read on to learn everything you need to know about the country’s music scene right now.
1. Hildur Guðnadóttir wins big at the World Soundtrack Awards
Congratulations are in order for Emmy Award–winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who has been honored as the Television Composer of the Year at the World Soundtrack Awards! Guðnadóttir received this award for her work on the score of HBO’s Chernobyl. She dedicated the award to her mother, singer and radio personality Ingveldur G. Ólafsdóttir, who taught her the importance of music. At the end of her acceptance speech, Guðnadóttir declared in Icelandic, “Mamma, þetta er fyrir þig,” or “Mom, this one’s for you.” This is the third year in a row that an Icelandic composer has won an award at the ceremony. In 2017 and 2018, the late Jóhann Jóhannsson won in the category of Film Composer of the Year. Both Jóhannsson and Guðnadóttir collaborated on music for the films Mandy and Mary Magdalene.
2. Record in Iceland featured on Billboard
Check out Record in Iceland’s incredible feature in Billboard Magazine! Record in Iceland is a government-backed initiative that offers international artists who record music in Iceland a 25% rebate on all their recording costs! These expenses include travel, accommodation, studio rates and the cost of hiring an engineer. Created by Iceland Music, the initiative will be formally presented at the Iceland Airwaves festival this coming November. Don’t miss your chance to experience any Icelandic recording studio of your choosing – from Greenhouse Studios, where Kanye West recorded in 2016, to Syrland Studio, which has hosted both Of Monsters and Men and Bjork! More information about this exciting opportunity can be found in the online Q&A packet which includes application details and eligibility requirements.
3. Vikingur Ólafsson named Gramophone Artist of the Year 2019
Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson was named 2019 Artist of the Year at the Gramophone Awards following his album of solo works for keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach. About the project, Ólafsson says he “put together this album by ear – allowing myself to highlight unexpected thematic familiarities and connections.” Learn more about Ólafsson’s interpretation of Bach’s works in his piece on Rhinegold Publishing.
4. Daníel Bjarnason’s new work features three LA Phil Music Directors past and present
Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason has created a new work that features three iconic LA Phil Music Directors: Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Gustavo Dudamel. The work, titled From Space I saw Earth is inspired by the Apollo 11 moon landing and space race. While writing a work shared by three unique conductors was challenging, Bjarnason believed splitting the orchestra this way was critical to the integrity and themes of the work. Check out his interview on LA Phil to learn more about his inspiration behind the piece!
5. International Night at M for Montreal features Valdimar and Warmland
In conjunction with Icelandair and Iceland Airwaves, Iceland Music will be presenting International Night of M for Montreal! On Friday, November 22, this exciting evening will feature the bands Warmland and Valdimar, alongside several bands from Wales, Ireland and France. Warmland, an Icelandic duo new the the scene, brings their “extra-dimensional, psych-pop” songs from their latest album Unison Love, and Valdimar, a 6-piece group founded in 2009, will take over the stage with their alternative rock and indie sound. The event is free, and will take place from 12:00 PM to 11:30 PM at the Casa del Popolo and La Sotterenea stages.
Which of these music updates are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!