February 7, 2014
Anna Thorvaldsdottir (1977) is an Icelandic 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’s music is frequently performed in Europe and in the US, and has been featured at several major music festivals such as ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival and Beijing Modern Music Festival. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions. Her chamber orchestra piece Hrim was awarded Composition of the Year at the Icelandic Music Awards 2011, as well as the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011. At the Icelandic Music Awards 2012, Anna was awarded Composer of the Year and her debut album Rhízōma was awarded Classical/Contemporary Album of the Year. Anna is the recipient of the prestige Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work Dreaming.
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has premiered and recorded four of Anna’s orchestra pieces, conducted by Ilan Volkov, Christian Lindberg, Rumon Gamba, Daniel Bjarnason, and Bernhardur Wilkinson. The noted Icelandic CAPUT Ensemble has also premiered and recorded major works by Anna, conducted by Snorri Sigfus Birgisson and Guðni Franzson. Other ensembles that Anna has worked with include e.g. BIT20, Musiques Nouvelles, Either/Or Ensemble and International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Her most recent piece for orchestra, AERIALITY, was commissioned by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and premiered in November 2011, conducted by Ilan Volkov.
Anna holds a PhD degree from the University of California in San Diego. At UCSD she primarily worked with Rand Steiger and Lei Liang, as well as with Chinary Ung, Philippe Manoury, Roger Reynolds, and percussionist Steven Schick.
Anna’s debut portrait album – Rhízōma – was released in October 2011 through Innova Recordings. The album features three larger pieces for orchestra and chamber orchestra, including Dreaming, and five shorter movements from a solo percussed piano work. The pieces are performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Bjarnason, the CAPUT Ensemble, conducted by Snorri Sigfus Birgisson, and percussionist Justin DeHart. Rhízōma was very well received and in addition to being selected Classical/Contemporary Album of the Year at the Icelandic Music Awards 2012, the album also appeared on a number of “Best of 2011” lists, e.g. at TimeOut New York and TimeOut Chicago.
When not engaged in music-related activities, Anna may be found doing yoga or walking in nature, seeking inspiration for music and life. Anna is married to Hrafn Ásgeirsson, PhD in philosophy, avant-garde saxophone player and recreational photographer.