- April 4, 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.
Residing in the United States since 1991, Mark Menzies has established an important, world-wide reputation as a violist, violinist, pianist, and conductor. He has been described in a Los Angeles Times review as an ‘extraordinary musician’ and a ‘riveting violinist.’ Viola and violin professor at the California Institute of the Arts where he also oversees orchestra and conducting projects, Mark Menzies is also very involved in various chamber music and new music initiatives in the Los Angeles area, including the Formalist Quartet, Trio Terroir, and so forth.
As a composer, Mark writes mainly for friends and colleagues. Recent premieres have included formatura for orchestra (in honor of James Tenney); dancing:~ on water for vibraphone/singer, chorus and orchestra for performance by Jodie Landau and the Cantori Domino choir; and swongering butterfly (also remembering Mort) for violin, clarinet and tape, with the tape part a collaboration with a composition of Brendan Byrnes, premiered at the Ensemble Sospeso “The Renaissance is Now” series in New York, spring 2012. In the summer of 2012, Mark was composer-in-residence at the Spiel festival in Austria for which he composed 11 works – titled 11 elegies and a love song – for the musicians and other artists (including the local cow population) participating in the festival.
Carlos Iturralde (Mexico City 1976)
Inspired by concepts like impossibility and human error, his work, which includes instrumental, electronic, improvised and interdisciplinary pieces, is a magnifying glass that provides a new context for every day life sound objects.
Iturralde’s work has won awards like Impuls (Austria), and has been performed in Europe and North and South America by ensembles such as de Ereprijs, Eastman Broadband Ensemble, ICE, Klang, Klangforum Wien , Modelo 62, NEM, Nieuw Ensemble and Vortex among others.
He began his musical studies as a self-taught musician. Later, he studied classical guitar and composition privately, as well as at several institutions in Mexico City, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in composition from the Musical Studies and Research Centre under the wing of Victor Rasgado. After graduating, he first continued studying composition in Querétaro, Mexico with Ignacio Baca Lobera, and later at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, Holland, where thanks to a scholarship from the Mexican Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA), he specialized in sonology and obtained a master in composition, having Richard Ayres, Clarence Barlow, Paul Berg, Gilus van Bergeijk among others as main teachers.
Since 2007 he is based in Mexico City, where he earned the “Jóvenes Creadores” grant from the Mexican Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA) in 2008. Iturralde was recently admitted as a member of the National System of Creators (FONCA).
Upcoming projects: February 22 2014, premiere of “Remains” for 5 percussionists by and Slagwerk Den Haag.
Kurt Isaacson is a composer whose music is often characterized by complex arrays of color, cutting dissonances, and structural fractures. Heavily influenced by literature, poetry, and painting — which typically manifest as allusive or highly abstracted elements in many of his pieces — Kurt’s music explores themes of identity, artificiality, syntax, paranoia, longing, and corruption. Recently, he has undertaken an extensive project utilizing the poetry of Matthea Harvey, resulting in a series of works including pieces for bassist Scott Worthington, Ensemble Adapter, Ensemble Dal Niente, and culminating in a lengthy song cycle for soprano Liz Pearse and flutist Elise Roy setting Harvey’s pioneering work “the future of terror.”
Kurt studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music under Lewis Nielson, and at Stanford University under Brian Ferneyhough and Erik Ulman.
Kurt is originally from Batavia, Illinois. He currently lives in Bowling Green, Ohio, with his girlfriend and frequent collaborator, flutist Elise Roy.