The Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir is Composer-in-Residence at NJORD Biennale 2018 and a number of her compositions will be performed at the festival, by some of the best Danish and Nordic musicians and ensembles.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir (born 1977) is one of the strongest artistic voices on the international music stage at the moment, and despite her young age she har already garnered great attention and recognition  - most recently in a residency with the New York Philharmonics.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir can be said to work in an aesthetic middle ground between the symphonic tradition and the conceptual universe of sonic art, which often includes a visual component. Her music draws audiences into its core, and lets them become part of it, in its own quiet yet insisting manner.

The great expanses of nature, the contours of landscapes and the structure of plants are often at the centre of Thorvaldsdottir´s music – especially as they appear in the scenery of her native Iceland.

She works with grand, sonic structures that reflect a vast archive of gathered sound material showcasing her unique sensibility for listening to nature. The music portrays a fluid world of sounds with a mysterious, lyrical atmosphere and there is a strong sense of Thorvaldsdottir´s love for tonal structures in the contemplative and meditative works.

The young Icelandic composer is also inspired by the knuckled roots, so called rhizomes, that spread beneath the earth's surface only to appear above ground in new and surprising shapes.This inspiration is evident in the gradual development of the music, where different materialities engage with and transform each other, and where diverging elements are caught by the different instruments of the ensemble and organically grow in new directions.

At NJORD Biennale 2018 Thorvaldsdottir´s music is presented in new Nordic cross-artistic collaborations. The festival will be the largest presentation of her work in Denmark to date.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir holds a master's degree and a PhD in composition from the University of California, San Diego.

She has received a number of awards and distinctions, for example the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2012, the Icelandic Music Awards in 2011, 2012 and 2016 and in 2015 she was chosen as the New York Philharmonic's Kravis Emerging Composer - an award that includes writing an original composition for the well renowned orchestra.



"When you see a long sustained pitch, think of it as a fragile flower that you need to carry in your hands and walk the distance on a thin rope without dropping it or falling. It is a way of measuring time and noticing the tiny changes that happen as you walk further along the same thin rope. Absolut tranquility with the necessary amount of concentration needed to perform the task."

- Anna Thorvaldsdottir,
in the score of the piece 









Anna Thorvaldsdottir 
Photo: Saga Sigurdardottir

NJORD | Jan 30 – Feb 02 2020 | Copenhagen

NJORD is Copenhagen's biennale for new Nordic music and art. The biennale brings together composers, visual artists, musicians, poets, and directors in Nordic collaboration on a number of cross-artistic projects.