When you listen to the orchestrals composed by Icelander Anna Thorvaldsdottir, you can almost see the wild and jagged landscapes of where she grew up. The sounds are beautiful, and we’re not the only ones who think so.
On June 5 New York Philharmonic awarded Anna Thorvaldsdottir the Kravis Emerging Composer award, an award that recognizes the up-and-coming Mozarts and Beethovens of today. The Icelandic composer will receive a $50,000 stipend for her artistic achievements, which includes a commission to compose a piece for the Philharmonic to perform in an upcoming season.
“Anna Thorvaldsdottir has one of the most unique and expressive voices in the compositional scene today,” says the Philharmonic’s Music Director Alan Gilbert. “Her uncompromising approach to building soundscapes creates a visceral, pictorial aesthetic that is deeply connected to her Icelandic heritage. It is thrilling to be able to present her with this platform that will allow her music to be even better known in New York.”
Anna’s works have been performed at countless shows and festivals around the world, and her albums Rhízōma and Aerial (both available on iTunes) have attracted positive attention in magazines and newspapers around the globe. Many of her pieces have been performed by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, and she also wrote the score to the Icelandic film XL. She received a PhD in Music Composition from the University of California San Diego, and is married to Hrafn Ásgeirsson, who received his PhD (in Philosophy) at the University of California in Los Angeles. Today, both are back and living in Iceland.
“Aeriality”, composed by Anna Thorvaldsdottir and performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov.
We congratulate Anna for this incredible award by America’s oldest symphony orchestra! Listen to more of her compositions here, and experience the magic in her music for yourself.
Did you know another Icelandic composer recently won a major award for his work? In January, Jóhann Jóhannsson won the Golden Globe for Best Original Score for the film The Theory of Everything. There are always great musical talents coming out of Iceland!