During my residency in Iceland (1st-12th September) I was very privileged to meet some great artists including Páll Guðmundsson (pictured left), and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (pictured right). Páll Guðmundsson is an artist and sculptor who is responsible for inventing the Steinharpa (Stone-harp) which consists of a series of flat stones which are laid out in the manner of a chromatic percussion instrument. Páll shapes each of the stones carefully until they are tempered into a chromatic scale (one of Páll’s workshops is pictured below). Their sound is completely unique and I took the liberty of recording Páll play them. These recordings, along with others I made on the residency, will be made into an electroacoustic piece sometime in the future. Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson is a composer with a substantial catalogue of film music. I visited him at his studios and had the pleasure of listening to a selection of his music. He is a remarkably modest man who has written some very beautiful music during his career. I met many other composers and artists during my time in Iceland, all of whom impressed me by their friendliness and their desire to communicate. I look forward to keeping in touch with them all.
On the 15th November my piece ‘Islands (Ynysoedd)’ was premiered by South Iceland Chamber Choir. With the death of Sir John Tavener in the week leading up to the concert, the evening proved intense and captivating. If he had been able to attend, I was greatly looking forward to shaking his hand and thanking him for his music. I would like to remark on his family’s composure during the concert: I think I would have struggled under such circumstances. I hope that the standing ovation that finished the concert was as much directed towards them, as the team who produced the concert.
The photographs below depict the choir singing in the studio live on air on BBC Radio 3, and rehearsing before the concert in Southwark Cathedral. Thanks to the sound engineer Árni Möller, I have been able to mix a recording of ‘Islands (Ynysoedd) from the concert on Friday. It should be on the ‘Music’ tab of this site, via soundcloud link. If you would like to read the review of the concert from ‘The Telegraph’, click on the pictures below to be taken to their site.
I am preparing to visit London this Friday, 15th November, to hear the South Iceland Chamber Choir perform my new work ‘Islands’ in Southwark Cathedral. The concert will also include many pieces by Icelandic composers (a few of whom are pictured above). The finale of the concert will be a UK-premiere of Tavener’s ‘Three Shakespeare Sonnets’, which will be a truly beautiful experience indeed.
This is a picture of me working with the South Iceland Chamber Choir, experimenting with their layout for my up-coming piece in London. My idea is that the choir’s formation and sound should be linked. The choir will represent the physical formation of water and the audience will witness their transformation from solid, to liquid, then to gas. I will be using texts in Icelandic, Welsh and English for this piece. The principal that I am most keen to explore is that the choir’s movement controls the types of sounds we hear: the choir will need to articulate their transformation sonically as well as physically. More photos from this day can be found here.
I am very proud to announce that I am currently taking part in a residency with South Iceland Chamber Choir. The outcome of this residency will be a piece for the choir to perform on the 15th November in Southwark Cathedral, London. The occasion of this concert will celebrate the composer John Tavener’s 70th birthday, and will feature a première of his ‘Three Shakespeare Sonnets’. I have been working very closely with Hilmar Örn Agnarsson, director of the choir (pictured above, middle), to experiment with different vocal techniques and their deployment throughout my piece. Please follow the link to purchase tickets for this event: BUY TICKETS HERE