New York Premiere of
Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s
Performed by Contemporaneous
Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 7:30pm
159 Pioneer Street | Brooklyn, NY
Suggested donation $10
“a distinct, powerful voice” – Time Out New York
Brooklyn, NY – On Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 7:30pm at Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer Street), new music ensemble Contemporaneous will perform the New York premiere of acclaimed Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Streaming Arhythmia (2007). The concert, titled Laws of Nature, is an evening of music that plays with one’s conception of time and space, giving perspective to the brisk pace of everyday life. Each composer ponders the physical and emotional experience of their native landscape, from Iceland to Australia to California. In addition to Streaming Arhythmia, the program will also include the world premiere of a new work by Icelandic-Canadian composer Fjóla Evans, Australian composer Kate Moore’s Days and Nature (2012) with a Contemporaneous-commissioned sound sculpture by Eric Farber, and the world-premiere arrangement of California-native Joanna Newsom’s Sawdust and Diamonds (2006) by Dylan Mattingly.
Streaming Arhythmia, written in 2007 for chamber ensemble, explores the relationship and boundaries between chaos and tranquility on various scales – from the details in the music material and to the overall structure of the work. Icelandic new music ensemble CAPUT recorded Streaming Arhythmia for Anna’s debut album Rhízōma, which was released in October 2011 on Innova Recordings. Rhízōma was chosen for a number of “Best of 2011” lists including Time Out New York and Time Out Chicago. Of the album, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “The depth and sumptuousness of the orchestral writing… turn this into a compelling, even ravishing, creation.”
Anna Thorvaldsdottir is a composer who frequently works with large sonic structures that tend to reveal the presence of a vast variety of sustained sound materials, reflecting her sense of imaginative listening to landscapes and nature. Her music tends to portray a flowing world of sounds with an enigmatic lyrical atmosphere.
Anna was recently the featured composer of Q2 Music’s latest Meet the Composer, Episode #9 Anna Thorvaldsdottir: Composing Is Second Nature. The episode, hosted by Nadia Sirota, takes the listener on a journey through Anna’s childhood in a remote village in Iceland, through her emigration to California, and into her compositional process. Hear the episode: http://bit.ly/Q2_MTC_Thorvaldsdottir.
Recent and upcoming performances of Anna’s music will include In two different places at Gothenberg Concert Hall in Sweden, Ró by Ossia New Music Ensemble at the Eastman School of Music, Aura by the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra at Dark Music Days in Reykjavík, Aeriality by the Schleswig-Holstein Symphony Orchestra in Germany, and various works featured at the Njord Biennale in Copenhagen. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions – most notably, Anna is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work Dreaming, and The New York Philharmonic’s Kravis Emerging Composer Award.
Anna’s music is frequently performed internationally, and has been featured at many major venues and music festivals including Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, the Composer Portraits Series at New York’s Miller Theatre, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival, Klangspuren Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Tectonics, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
Some of the orchestras and ensembles that Anna Thorvaldsdottir has worked with include International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), BIT20, Musiques Nouvelles, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Yarn/Wire, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the CAPUT Ensemble, the Oslo Philharmonic, and Either/Or Ensemble.
Anna’s portrait album Aerial was released by Deutsche Grammophon in November 2014 and appeared on a number of year end lists, including The New Yorker, Boston Globe, iTunes Classical, and WQXR’s Q2 Music. In the Light of Air was released by Sono Luminus in August 2015, performed by ICE, and was included on many “Best of 2015” lists including those of The New York Times, The New Yorker, Boston Globe, and NPR Music’s 50 Favorite Albums across all genres.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir holds a PhD from the University of California in San Diego. When not engaged in music-related activities, she may be found doing yoga or walking in nature, seeking inspiration for music and life. Anna Thorvaldsdottir is married to Hrafn Ásgeirsson, PhD in philosophy, avant-garde saxophone player, and recreational photographer.
For more information, visit www.annathorvalds.com.
Contemporaneous is an ensemble of 21 musicians whose mission is to bring to life the music of now. Recently recognized for a “ferocious, focused performance” (The New York Times) and for its “passionate drive…setting an extremely high bar for other ensembles to live up to” (I Care If You Listen), Contemporaneous performs and promotes the most exciting work of living composers through innovative concerts, commissions, recordings, and educational programs.
Based in New York City and active throughout the United States, Contemporaneous has performed over 80 concerts at a wide range of venues, including Lincoln Center, (le) poisson rouge, Merkin Concert Hall, Baryshnikov Arts Center, St. Ann’s Warehouse and the Bang on a Can Marathon. The ensemble has worked with artists as diverse as David Byrne, Donnacha Dennehy, Yotam Haber, Julia Wolfe, and Dawn Upshaw.
Contemporaneous has premiered more than 60 works, many of them large-scale pieces by emerging composers. Through its commissions and readiness to play challenging music, the ensemble encourages composers to take risks and defy constraints. Contemporaneous’ debut album, Stream of Stars — Music of Dylan Mattingly (Innova Recordings), has been featured on radio programs around the world, including WNYC’s “New Sounds” and WRTI’s “Now is the Time.”
Contemporaneous also leads participatory programs for public school students in the communities where the ensemble performs. These workshops are designed to instill a passion for new music and to convey the power of careful listening and meaningful expression through music. The ensemble has held residencies at Simon’s Rock College, the University of New Orleans, and Williams College and is currently an ensemble-in-residence at Bard College, where the group was founded in 2010.
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