Outstanding musicians and ensembles in classical music, jazz, pop, rock, electro and other music genres make music in unusually intimate surroundings. The concerts are held all over Reykjavík, spanning every zip code from 101 to 111.
Friday 22. May
Residential Music Industry @ Heiðargerði 1B, 108 Reykjavík, 4 pm
Icelanders are known to make music in the privacy of their own homes. This is likely to increase in the near future, as the nation embarks on the quest for lost values. Since there are three percussionists involved, they are likely to throw out a rhythm or two, but the bagpipes might also be brought into play to commemorate the burning of the last barn in this area of Iceland. The pianist and the singer, who are both renowned composers, might also stir up an original or two. The musicians are Ragnhildur Gísladóttir, Pétur Grétarsson, Eggert Pálsson, Snorri Sigfús Birgisson and Steef van Oosterhout.
Ólöf Arnalds @ Ingólfsstræti 10, 101 Reykjavík, 5 pm
Ólöf Arnalds will welcome guests to her home at Ingólfsstræti 10, while there is room. Ólöf will play and sing her songs, old and new, as well as playing other songs from near and afar. She will intrigue her guests with various guitars and string instruments and will also try out her keyboard skills. Surprise guests will join Ólöf in song. Ragnar Ísleifur Bragason will be the host as well as telling a joke or two. Welcome and enjoy the show!
Vicky – Icelandic rock band @ Holtsgata 39, 101 Reykjavík, 6 pm
Vicky is an Icelandic rock band, consisting of five young musicians. The music is not easily defined, but Pichforkmedia might have described it best as "pop-metal". You'll be the judge. A lot has happened in the two years since the band started and they have been playing almost non-stop. They performed at the last two Iceland Airwaves festivals to great reviews. In May 2008, they played their first gig outside Iceland, when they travelled to China. The band has been invited again this year to play at the biggest rock festival in China, Midi Festival. In September 2008, Vicky was invited to Play:Stl Festival in St Louis, USA, and returned in February. In October 2008, the band released their debut album, "Pull Hard", to good reviews from critics and listeners.
Bloodgroup @ Hólmaslóð 2, 101 Reykjavík, 7 pm
Electro-pop foursome Bloodgroup has certainly caused a stir, both in the Icelandic music industry and overseas, since its inception late in 2005. Bloodgroup's first album, "Sticky Situation", was released in November 2007 and received much praise from professional critics and listeners alike. Last year, the group travelled around Europe and performed at various concerts and festivals, for example Roskilde Festival in Denmark, By:Larm festival in Oslo, Eurosonic festival in Holland and Iceland Airwaves in Reykjavík. Bloodgroup now has four members, Lilja, Ragnar, Hallur and Janus, plus two on-stage members, Styrmir and DJ B-Ruff. Bloodgroup's members have built themselves a brand new studio in Reykjavík, and are now hard at work on their second full-length album, to be released later in 2009.
Retro Stefson, FM Belfast and MC Pluto's living room concert @ Ingólfsstræti 21a, 101 Reykjavík, 8 pm
The bands Retro Stefson and FM Belfast will participate in the living room concerts. They will play for anyone who can squeeze themselves inside Ingólfsstræti 21, the home of Þorbjörg, one of two keyboard players of Retro Stefson. Performing with them will be the talented MC Pluto.
For the past few years, Retro Stefson has become one of the most promising live bands in the country. With seven band members (and sometimes more) there is always a lot of fun when they're around.
FM Belfast consists of four cheerful people from Reykjavík; Árni +1, Árni Vil, Lóa Hlín and Örvar. They have filled various concert venues in Iceland and elsewhere with their fun and catchy techno-pop. The band was formed by Árni +1 and Lóa one Christmas, when they decided to give their friends and family a CD with original music as a Christmas gift. This was a big hit with friends and family and it wasn’t long before two vocalists had been added, alongside Lóa. Little by little, various percussionists became part of the band too and these perform with them whenever possible. The group is often nick-named “The Republic's Cowbell-Band”. It's safe to say that FM Belfast are a subscription to a good time, dancing and happiness.
MC Pluto is Jón Gunnar Stefánsson's stage name, but he is probably one of the youngest rappers in Iceland. He is all of 11 years old and already has a bunch of rap-songs to his name, providing some of Iceland's biggest rap-stars with some fierce competition. Accompanying him will be Retro Stefson – Pluto is the younger brother of Haraldur, Retro Stefson's percussionist.
Weirdcore – Icelandic electronic music @ Hólmaslóð 2 (Music Development Center: “The Cave”), 101 Reykjavík, 9 pm
Weirdcore is a community of electronic musicians which has held concerts and released Icelandic electronic music. The opportunity to take part in the Reykjavik Arts Festival was a welcome one; the community is always eager to introduce new listeners to the material that is happening on the fringe of dance/electronic music today.
Reykjavík! rock band – Pioneers of the “living room concert” @ Smiðjustígur 4a, 101 Reykjavík, 10 pm
Reykjavík!'s “living room“ concert takes place at the band’;;s rehearsal space in downtown Reykjavík; a unique creative venue that the band shares with several talented musicians, visual artists and designers. Reykjavík! will perform a set consisting mostly of compositions from their recently released LP, "THE BLOOD", as well as several pieces composed specifically for the concert. The band has sought assistance from the graphic artists they share a space with so as to make the concert lounge more “living room-y” and will resort to diverse measures to ensure the optimal atmosphere.
Saturday 23. May
Four centuries and three continents @ Túngata 44, 101 Reykjavík, 1 pm
Áshildur Haraldsdóttir, flute, and Katie Elizabet Buckley, harp, offer an eclectic programme that spans four centuries and three continents. This creates an opportunity to get to know the different aspects of the world of the flute and the harp. The concert opens with Variations on the 16th century English folksong Greensleeves, named after a love poem to the Maiden of the Green Sleeves.
The programme: Variation on Greensleeves (arr L Fleury og D Owens), Vincent Persichetti: Serenade No. 10, Ravi Shankar: L´Aube Enchantee (sur le raga "Todi"), Camille Saint-Saens: Fantasie op. 124
Benóný Ægisson - Too old to rock and roll but too young to die @ Skólavörðustígur 4C, 101 Reykjavík, 2 pm
Benóný Ægisson is a singer and pianist who is too old to rock and roll but too young to die, as the Scottish salmon farmer Ian Anderson so ingeniously put it. Benóný writes his own material: blues, love songs, drinking songs and songs for the barricades. In his concert he will sing about the Icelandic economic wonder, Sunday mornings in 101 Reykjavík, seamen on leave, the 68-generation, and so on.
Gershwin in the Marsh @ Kjartansgata, 105 Reykjavík, 3 pm
“Gershwin in the Marsh” came to life when Reykjavík Arts Festival looked for candidates for its Living room concerts. Late one evening, Hulda Björk Garðarsdóttir, soprano, and Ólafur Egill Stolzenwald, double bass, sat in their living room, which has been a rehearsal area for jazz and classical music, and the Gershwin link seemed an obvious one. It didn't take long to pick the guitarist, Ásgeir Ágeirsson and the pianist, Kjartan Valdemarsson to join them. Ideas abounded about whether Gershwin should be done this way or that, more classical or more jazzy. The outcome will be performed at 3 pm on the 24 May.
Icelandic folk music and hymns @ Dómkirkjan, Church, 101 Reykjavík, 4 pm
The musical group Spilmenn Ríkínís was formed to perform Icelandic folk music and hymns, dating from the time around and after the Protestant Reformation. They have been performing for a few years, playing old instruments that are known to have been used in Iceland during that time, for example langspil, harpa, symfón and gýja. At the concert in the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Spilmenn will sing and play from music from Hólar in Hjaltadal, but also from the Icelandic music Melodia (1650) and Hymnodia Sacra (1742). The members of Spilmenn Ríkínís are: Ásta Sigríður Arnardóttir, Halldór Bjarki Arnarson, Marta Guðrún Halldórsdóttir, Sigursveinn Magnússon and Örn Magnússon.
Ásgerður Júníusdóttir - THE MEDIUM @ Melhagi 2, 101 Reykjavík, 5 pm
The Medium is a mono opera by the British composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music. It was composed in 1981 for a single performer, a mezzo-soprano. No instruments are used, only the human voice, so the piece can be compared with a one-man theatrical performance, but in song rather than speech. The work, which is 50 minutes long, is staged as a séance in an apartment at Melhagi 2 in the Melar district of Reykjavík. It is 1958 and the medium receives up to 25 sitters for the séance. The tale is dark and the medium, with her shady past, goes through a variety of transformations during her trance.
Performed by Ásgerður Júnísdóttir, mezzo-soprano, and directed by Kristín Jóhannesdóttir.
Melchior – Salon music @ Bugðulækur 17, 105 Reykjavík, 6 pm
Since it was founded in 1973, the music group Melchior has performed conventional, original salon music. Although the group's work can be classified as pop music, they use classical instruments, such as cello, oboe, violin, and viola, in their arrangements, and amplification has always been kept to a minimum.
Melchior will perform several numbers from its new compact disc Melchior and will blow the dust off some old favourites as well. Melchior's core members: are Hilmar Oddsson, keyboards and vocals, Hróðmar Ingi Sigurbjörnsson, guitar and vocals, and Karl Roth, guitar and vocals. Rounding out the group are Gunnar Hrafnsson on bass and Steingrímur Guðmundsson on percussion. Random guest appearances from vocalists Kristín Jóhannsdóttir and Helga Möller – and from Margrét Kristjánsdóttir and her violin – can be expected at any time.
Jón Ólafsson –Tailor-made music @ Hagamelur 33, 107 Reykjavík, 7 pm
Jón Ólafsson will perform some of the hundreds of songs he has written over the past 25 years. The music will be tailor-made for the venue and the occasion, as audience-participation is required. Jón isn't actually sure how many songs he will perform: “it depends how much or little I talk during the concert”. In addition to the audience, Jón will be assisted by Stefán Már Magnússon and Róbert Þórhallsson. Stefán is often called a “Jack of all trades” when it comes to instrument playing and Róbert is just called ….well, Robbie, and will probably play his upright bass.
Rendezvous @ Vesturbrún 4, 104 Reykjavík, 8 pm
RENDEZVOUS – miniatures for violin, bass clarinet and marimba by Jóhann G Jóhannsson. Incidental music composed in 1989-90 for a 40th anniversary production at The National Theatre. Each musical act is based on a different mode, none of them in the traditional major-minor mode, and familiar dance rhythms, such as tango, ragtime and waltz can be heard.
SONGS – Nearly ten years ago, when The National Theatre and the poet Þórarinn Eldjárn both celebrated their 50th birthdays, Jóhann turned 24 of his poems into songs for a celebration production at the theatre. Some of the songs will be performed by Sigrún Hjálmtýsdóttir and the Sitting Room Quartet; some more recent ones to the poems of Halldór Laxness. Partcipants: Sigrún Hjálmtýsdóttir, vocals, Bryndís Pálsdóttir, violin, Kjartan Óskarsson, bass clarinet, Pétur Grétarsson, marimba, Jóhann G. Jóhannsson, piano.
amiina @ Grundastígur 10, 101 Reykjavík, 9pm
amiina invites guests to enjoy a chamber music recital at Grundarstígur 10, in the heart of old Reykjavík. In this dignified family house, built by the poet Hannes Hafstein in 1915, the ceilings are high and the rooms spacious. amiina will perform new music that is inspired by the building's walls and atmosphere, in interaction with soundtracks composed for, and resonating with, the different spaces in the house.
Sunday 24. May
The Mela Quartet @Þórsgata 18, 101 Reykjavík, 12 noon
The Mela Quartet was formed in the autumn of 2008 by members of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, with the goal of organising regular performances of string quartets for concertgoers in Iceland. In this, its first public concert, the quartet will perform Schubert's Death and the Maiden. The members of the Mela Quartet are Ari Vilhjálmsson, Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Gunnhildur Daðadóttir, violin, currently playing in the Iceland Symphony, Þórarinn Már Baldursson, a member of the viola section of the Iceland Symphony and Ísafold Chamber Orchestra, and Sigurgeir Agnarsson, Assistant Principal Cellist of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
Dvorák's Group @ Hávallagata 18, 107 Reykjavík, 1pm
The Dvorák's Group pays special attention to Antonín Leopold Dvorák, born in Bohemia on 8 September 1841. Members of the group are Júlíana Kjartansdóttir, violin, Hildigunnur Halldórsdóttir, violin, Guðrún Þórarinsdóttir, viola, Sigurður Halldórsson, cello, and Hávarður Tryggvason, double bass. They have all been, or still are, members of Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
And yet, spring returns @ Urðarstekkur 3, 109 Reykjavík, 2 pm
The programme is of Icelandic songs and poems welcoming the arrival of spring and summer.
Performers: Þóra Fríða Sæmundsdóttir, piano, Bergþór Pálsson, tenor; Signý Sæmundsdóttir, soprano.
Icelandic songs and duets welcoming spring, composed by: Sigvaldi Kaldalóns, Jón Ásgeirsson, Jórunn Viðar, Jakob Hallgrímsson, Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson, Tryggvi Baldvinsson, Atli Heimir Sveinsson, Árni Thorsteinsson and Jón Þórarinsson.
Family Concert at home with Felix Bergsson @ Starhagi 5, 107, Reykjavík, 3 pm
Singer and actor Felix Bergsson has been a leading figure in art for children and families in Iceland over the past 18 years. In this concert he invites guests to his house, close to Skerjafjörður Bay in the west of Reykjavík. Joined by Jon Olafsson, his pianist, composer and friend for many years, he will play their favourite children’s songs and tell stories.
Cabaret songs and songs from operettas @ Grettisgata 29, 101 Reykjavík, 4 pm
Ingibjörg Guðjónsdóttir soprano and Valgerður Andrésdóttir pianist have worked together since 1995 when they both lived in Denmark. Their programme includes cabaret songs and songs from operettas.
Baroque in Thingholt @ Bragagata 27, 107 Reykjavík, 5 pm
Nordic Affect invites you on a musical journey through the baroque era right in the centre of Reykjavík. The sunny, yellow living room in Þingholt inspired Nordic Affect to start their programme in Italy, with a composition by Castello who is thought to have worked with Monteverdi in Venice. The musicians are artistic director of Nordic Affect, Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, baroque violin, and Guðrún Óskarsdóttir, harpsichord, a member of Nordic Affect, Camerata Drammatica and the Bach ensemble of Skálholt.
Where is the moon? @ Vesturberg 137, 111 Reykjavík, 6 pm
Where is the moon? is a collection of 24 songs by Sigurður Flosason (composer) and Aðalsteinn Ásberg Sigurðsson (poet). The songs were released on a double CD in 2006, performed by Kristjana Stefánsdóttir and the Sigurður Flosason Jazz Quartet.
Deep Pit – Tómas R @ Reynimelur 24 (garage), 107 Reykjavík, 7 pm
The concert takes place in a garage where the public is seated around a two-meter deep pit. The bassist Tómas R. Einarsson is situated in that pit with his the double-bass and a cow-bell that he plays with his right foot.
Duo Landon @ Lauganestangi 70, 105 Reykjavík, 8 pm
Violinists Hlíf Sigurjónsdóttir and Martin Fryer appear as Duo Landon, playing violins by the French-born violin and bow maker, Christophe Landon. After successfully completing the task of recording the 44 Duos by Béla Bartók for a CD, they discovered a void in the Icelandic duo violin repertoire. They promptly commissioned three Icelandic composers to write for them. Two of the pieces were premiered at Dark Music Days in February 2008, the third will be premiered at the Reykjavík Arts Festival 2009.