Last weekend the South Iceland Chamber Choir welcomed Norwegian Moving Classics composer Eyvind Gulbrandsen for his second residency week in Reykjavik – this time being hosted by the incredible Icelandic Nordic House.
The commission came with a brief “the project seeks to embrace the strong connection and long history shared between music and storytelling in the construction of identity beyond national borders” but we were keen to allow all of the artists involved to follow the creative process and trust their instinct in how to interpret those creative restrictions.
Given the incredible beauty of Iceland and the remarkable literary history of the nation it is unsurprising that many visiting artists are drawn to the Sagas and interpretations of landscape as their strongest creative response. This leads to a lot of contemplation of mountains. Eyvind was more personal.
Taking the literary brief at its broadest Eyvind’s new work is inspired from stories contributed from the members of the choir who he interviewed, prompted, cajoled and confided in to reveal their own very personal understanding of their island – their own narratives. Aiming to address the issues of modern society where more and more of us fail to fit into the increasingly standardised norms he has purposefully followed the personalities and stories of his collaborators to create a piece that creates a space for their individuality, eccentricity and expression rather than a formalised framework for his own creative ambitions.
The result is a remarkable, personal and emotional experience that brings audiences literally face to face with performers laying themselves bare through a piece of incredible music.
‘Surrounded by Strangers’ will be premiere at Cycle Music & Art Festival in Gerðarsafn, Kopavogur on August 15th.
We are making more new music in 2016!
Moving Classics – European Network for New Music invites young and mid-career European composers who have achieved national impact to develop & perform new compositions internationally. A second Moving Classics Call for Composers is opening this summer.