Elfa Rún Kristinsdóttir and Sigur Rós Nominated for 2023 Nordic Council Music Prize

nordic council music prize 2023

Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós and violinist Elfa Rút Kristinsdóttir are among the 13 artists, groups, and ensembles nominated for the 2023 Nordic Council Music Prize.

Representing a broad selection across the Nordic region, entrants this year include jazz musicians, contemporary classical, folk, and more. The prize will be awarded on October 31 in Oslo.

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According to the panel, “Icelandic violinist Elfa Rún Kristinsdóttir has become known for her expressive and musical virtuosity, where she succinctly combines masterful craft and technique with a natural, vital and beautiful tone. ” Elfa studied music in Freiburg and Leipzig and first came to prominence in 2006 at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig. Since then, she has performed as both a solo artist and a member of several ensembles. Her repertoire includes everything from the Baroque to contemporary classical compositions.

Sigur Rós, one of Iceland’s best-known bands, was formed in 1994 and has since redefined modern rock music by incorporating elements of classical and ambient music into their post-rock sound. According to the panel, “Sigur Rós’s continued relevance stems from a stubborn refusal to rest on its laurels as seen in its interdisciplinary work with artists, choreographers, filmmakers, and Icelandic rímur singers, to name but a few. Sigur Rós is especially renowned for its live shows, described by fans and reviewers as a transcending, almost religious-like experience.”


Every year, the Nordic Council awards five prizes in the fields of literature, film music, environmental activism, and children and youth culture.

The prize is intended to support cultural cooperation in the Nordic region by recognising pioneering artists. In addition to the nations Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland, the territories of Åland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands are also recognised.

The Icelandic nominees for 2022 included Bára Gísladóttir and Sóley Stefánsdóttir. The 2022 award went to Swedish composer Karin Rehnqvist. The prize is awarded on alternate years to an ensemble or artist in one year and to a work by a living composer the next year.

Winners of the Nordic Council Prize receive the “Nordlys” statuette and DKK 300,000 [$43,000; €40,000].

Read the full list of nominees here.


Yellow Weather Warning for Much of Nation

iceland weather warning

Yellow weather warnings are in effect for all of Iceland except the East Fjords today and tomorrow, May 23-24.

Residents and visitors are advised to avoid unnecessary travel as a southwest gale will bring sharp winds and rain across the island in the coming days.

Winds up to 23 m/s [51 mph] are expected with potential showers, hail, and sleet. Temperatures are expected to range between 5° and 15° C [41°- 59°F], with warmer temperatures in the Northeast.

Airport operator Isavia has also issued a travel advisory, stating that flights on May 23 and 24 may be affected. Travellers are encouraged to arrive early and monitor their flight status online.

Dangerous conditions are also forecast for Reynisfjara, a popular black sand beach on Iceland’s South Coast. Travellers are advised to avoid the area due to dangerous waves.

Travellers looking for information about weather warnings, travel advisories, and more may find the following links helpful:

Icelandic Road Administration

Keflavík International Airport

Safe Travel


“No Legislative Means” to Stop Whaling this Summer

Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir

Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir stated in a meeting with a parliamentary committee this morning that she considered her hands to be tied on the issue of stopping whaling this summer. Stating that there was “no legal basis” to revoke the existing whaling permits, she suggested that general laws on whale hunting need to be reviewed.

The Parliamentary Committee on Industry invited Svandís to discuss the long-awaited report on the 2022 whaling season. The report concluded that one in every four whales was shot more than once and that it was not possible to practice whale hunting while also conforming to animal rights legislation.

Hvalur hf., the only company in Iceland to still practice whaling, has already been granted a permit to hunt fin whales this summer, but calls have been made for the minister to revoke it following the report. Given the current legal framework, Svandís has stated that it is not a possibility.

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In the parliamentary meeting this morning, the minister stated that revoking the hunting permit would require a legal basis that does not currently exist.

According to administrative laws, the permit could only be revoked if certain conditions were present in its original issuance or if the revocation could be proved to cause no harm to the company. Neither condition was met in this case. Additionally, there are no provisions for revoking hunting permits in the 1949 laws on whale hunting. The minister has stated several times that her ability to act is constrained by these conditions.

Svandís stated that regardless of the outcome of the coming year’s whaling season, she believed that the laws on whale hunting were outdated and inadequate, and in need of revision to align with modern legislation and standards.

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No assessment has been made regarding possible damages that the state would have to compensate Hvalur hf. if the company’s hunting permit was revoked. However, Svandís stated that the ministry is currently examining the climate, environmental, and economic impacts of whaling to establish a more solid basis for future decisions on the hunts.

Other parliamentary representatives have suggested that the ministry restrict the hunts by limiting the timeframe in which they can occur. Svandís has yet to respond directly to this suggestion.


Residential Survey on Downtown Selfoss

Selfoss - Suðurland - Ölfusá

Last week, the Árborg Municipal Council approved a public consultation regarding a proposed change to the zoning plan in downtown Selfoss and an agreement between the municipality and Sigtún Development Company.

As part of an initiative to revitalise Selfoss, the largest town in South Iceland, planners have in recent years begun work on a walkable, historic downtown area. New shops and a food hall have already popped up, in addition to recent investments into other community infrastructure.

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The proposed change involves reducing the size of Sigtúnsgarður Park by 2,800 square metres while increasing the total public space downtown by 1,400 square metres.

The survey began last Thursday and will conclude on Thursday, May 25th at 6:00 p.m. Residents of Árborg, aged sixteen and older, can participate in the survey.

An informational meeting was also held yesterday, May 22, where representatives from both Árborg Municipality and Sigtún Development Company fielded questions regarding the proposed changes to zoning.